5 Ways to End the Year Peacefully

Between the end of year crafts, snacks, autographs, memory books, talent shows, assemblies, and everything else…this is the first time that I was not a frantic HOT MESS during the last week of school. I hope that you’re not a hot mess right now, either! I wanted to share with you some of the things we do in the last week of school that could help you end the year with fun but as much normalcy as possible!

  1. Give parents a detailed plan

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Giving parents a detailed plan helps them to think ahead. Spring time for families means soccer practice, make-up t-ball games, dance recitals, etc. etc. By giving them a look ahead as to what their child is expected to bring each day, you save both you and them a LOT of headaches. Click the pic of my sample schedule to download your own editable copy FREEBIE!

2. Teach the Teacher Day

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Found this AWESOME idea from More than a Worksheet. I copied this to the back of my Fun Week schedule. Click the picture to be taken to your freebie! I had about 8 students return it and come prepared with materials and their lesson plans. Obviously, as students watched and listened to their peers, they wanted to participate, too! The rule was that you HAD to take the time to write a lesson plan so I placed extra copies in our Work on Writing Center that day.

You’re probably wondering: How did you manage it?

Despite all of the fun activities throughout the week, I ALWAYS keep my schedule the same. Students still complete their Daily 5 rotations, however, we replace the whole group time of Reading, Writing, Language, etc. with the other activities. As lesson plans were submitted that morning, I made a schedule of who would teach during the Reading time slot, the Phonics time slot, and so on. If we ran out of prepared lessons, then I would move on to the ones that were completed during Daily 5 that day. Unfortunately, not every student was able to teach but they understood that the ones who did the work at home had first “dibs.”

Here are some ideas my kids had:

  • How to Use AquaBeads
  • How to Dribble a Basketball
  • Magic Trick Demonstrations
  • How to Dress a Bitty Baby
  • All About Rabbits
  • How to Make Paper Snowflakes
  • What is School Like in Japan? (This Student is from Japan and wanted to compare his school at home to his new school in the states)
  • All About Paris

3. Wishy Washy Wednesday

To begin Wishy Washy Wednesday, we watch Mrs. McBloom, Clean Up Your Classroom!

After the video ends, I explain that we must get our classroom ready for my next group of students! We want the room to be prepared for them to make new memories just like we did this past school year.

As I said before, I keep the schedule the same. The difference is that I use my small group time to complete tasks that do not require a lot of students. For example, I might have one small group check all of my markers. In my next rotation, maybe that group helps to wash all of our student whiteboards and check dry erase markers. During whole group time, we complete tasks that EVERY child needs to complete. For example, we might be emptying our book bins, washing our desk pockets, and washing our cubbies.

CLICK HERE to download your own editable cleaning checklist!

4. Game Day

Kids brought in all sorts of favorite board games! We finished up some extra odds and ends from Wishy Washy Wednesday during our small group time but focused on GAMES for our whole group time! Here’s how I managed it:

  • Place one board game at each table (this usually amounted to 6 games at a time). Most games worked out for us to have 3-4 kids at a table. 2 player games like Connect Four and Guess Who were doubled up at a single table.
  • The person who brought the game in may choose to go to their table first. However, they are not required to do so. This person was the teacher of the game (we made it clear they were not the boss, just the person who taught the rules).
  • I drew sticks to allow one student at a time to choose a game to play.

We repeated this process until all games had been played at least once during our whole group time. After each game had been played once, we had “Repeat Rounds” where kids could play a game from earlier again.

5. Awards

My school has an end of quarter awards ceremony for every 9 weeks. First grade always chooses to do the fourth quarter awards in our classrooms because we like to add on some of our personal classroom awards, too!

Here are some of the awards I have used in the past:

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Of course, I could keep you here all day to keep listing them!

I also love to end the year with a slideshow…mine tend to get lengthy, though. I love using  iMovie because I can select a theme, drag and drop pictures, and I’m done. It inserts all of the transitions and I can simply choose to add tags every so often and plug some songs in. It is time consuming ONLY because I get distracted by looking at all of the pictures throughout the year and stopping to ugly cry every so often.

This year, I chose to have the video playing as parents were coming to the classroom. As I type this to you now, I am waiting for it to upload to this free website called WeTransfer. The website lets you upload and share up to 2GB! When the upload finishes, I will have a link that I can send to all of my classroom parents to download the video as a keepsake forever. 🙂

What fun things do you do to end the year?!

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