Wednesday, June 26, 2013

End of the Year, Start of New Traditions

By the time you read this, today will be my last day of school, woo hoo!  Over on my other blog I talked about some tried and true activities that I do every year and how they went yesterday.  However, in this post I want to share a couple new activities for the last day of school that I'll be piloting tomorrow. 

Last year I tried having the kids write letters to the incoming class, but I was underwhelmed with the results.  Had I given them more time and more direction I'm sure it could have been a really worthwhile thing.  However since I do the scrapbook/portfolios which are a HUGE project, I felt like another big project would be overkill.  So this year I've given each child their own individual, specific, manageable piece of the "letter" to do.  They'll each get just  a half sheet of paper with a short prompt, and I'll compile them into a booklet.  It will either become part of our classroom library or I'll make copies for each student.  Here are 4 sample prompts:

On the back, EVERY student will have the same second prompt, "And here's something else you should know about Mrs. Thomas's class!"  I'm hoping to get some funny and heartwarming stuff there!  :D 

Finally, before we're all stuck in a 90 minute "closing ceremony" with the rest of the school in the cafeteria, for our final Morning Meeting share, we'll be reading "Memory Strips," which we've been writing all week in secret as part of their Morning Work.  The prompt was simply, "Write a memory you have from this year.  We'll share them on the last day of school."  I have a handful that I wrote myself that I'm certain will get laughs and tears from my group.  I can't wait!

What are your favorite end of the year activities? 


  1. Wow - your school really went to the bitter end! I thought getting out last Friday was bad. :-) Thanks for sharing - I like those quick simple end of the year ideas as well. It always seems like there are little snippets of time to fill. Hope you have a great summer!

    From Mrs. Allen's Teaching Files

    1. This was the exception, not the norm. Our district started after Labor Day, had a couple Jewish holidays off, and then the Nemo Blizzard hit us pretty hard here in MA, so we had more than the anticipated 5 snow days to make up.

      And yes, despite our last day being a half day we had time to write, share, and clean like crazy! I think this was the first year they left the floor and inside of their desks clean enough to eat off of! Now that's the way to start a summer vacation! :D

  2. Wow! Your school goes INTO the summer! I love the idea of breaking down the letters. I had my students write letters this year, and the turn out was not exactly what I had hoped. I think I may break it down (even for middle school students) and put something together for the next year. It all makes sense when you read it after the fact. Imagine that! Ha! Hope you have a wonderful summer!

    Lil Bit Country In the Classroom

    1. I got very jealous of other teachers' letter projects being sweet and heartfelt and mine being, well, you know! This activity worked out much better. After re-cooperating for a couple days I plan to blog about our last day over on my other blog, what was great about the new activities and what I think I'll do next year, and I might make the prompts into a product on Teachers Pay Teachers.

      Thanks for reading; you have a great summer too!


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