5 Ideas to End the School Year

8:00 AM

As I scrolled through my camera roll this week, I came across pictures of all the fun things the end of the year typically brings, and I started to get pretty sad. Knowing that we won't get to do any of those things this year, actually got me a little teary eyed. So...instead of thinking about what we won't get to do, I started thinking of things we can still do!

This list is a double list though - because I'm going to keep in the things we typically do, knowing that one day we will have a normal end of the school year!


You guys know as well as I do that it's best practice to cram every.single.field.trip into the last two months of school. (No? It's just me?) This, of course, can look really different depending on where you live. BUT, since we are learning from home now, the world is your (and your students') oyster!

Here are some amazing virtual field trips, that come 5th grader approved:

National Parks

My students virtually visited Carlsbad Caverns National Park just last week and it got two enthusiastic thumbs up! This is a 360 tour, which makes it even cooler. They really liked the narration and said it felt like they had the place to themselves.
Ranger-Guided Tours - Carlsbad Caverns National Park (U.S. ...
Photo courtesy of the National Park Service

Content Specific Trips

Are you learning about the ocean? Check out the live cams from the Monterey Bay Aquarium! Any of these cams are a great way to see ocean animals and observe their behavior.

Maybe you are doing a unit on art or art history...so take your students to the virtual Louvre! They can explore multiple exhibitions, including the amazing Egyptian Antiquities exhibit.

Get Crafty!

Last year, my colleagues and I were cleaning out the storage room and came across a HUGE bin of craft supplies we had forgotten about. So we did the only logical thing...we split up what was in there and let our kids have at it! They could use whatever supplies they wanted and create whatever they wanted. The only rule was "don't be a supply hog." They did not disappoint!

This year, no craftiness can happen in person, but there are plenty of fun ideas for being artistic and getting crafty at home. If you're like me, the closer we get to the end of remote learning, the more crafty things are going to appear on the "learning menu" for the week.

Here's a fun post for making paper airplanes (only paper required) and I love these ideas for painting pet rocks! (One of my students has been painting rocks and leaving them around the neighborhood for other to find - so cool!)

If you are looking for a digital option to help your students get crafty, check out bomomo.com and let them have a chance to experiment with the digital art tools. I would have my class send me screenshots of their creations!

Think of all the cool things they could make with this!

Celebrate The Birthdays!

When I was a kid, my mom used to have a neighborhood birthday party for all the kids who lived around us. Since it was everyone, she picked a day that was no one's actual birthday, and we had an UN-birthday Party! (There is actual photographic evidence of this, but no one needs to see pictures of me from the 80s.) 

My mom loves coming and helping in my classroom, so every year we have an UN-birthday party at the end of the year. It's amazing for a couple of reasons: a) I am the worst at birthdays, so this makes up for it and b) the kids who have a birthday in the summer get to celebrate with us all!

I'm not sure how we are going to to do this digitally this year, but I will make sure to send out birthday pencils and bookmarks to everyone, even if their birthday is in the summer.

Concept Mapping

The end of the year is the perfect time to pull everything together. Typically, my students get into small groups and create their concept maps on chart paper - because they love chart paper and markers. We put the topic in the center and they brainstorm everything they have learned about that topic in 5th grade. As they brainstorm, they connect the ideas that are related. It always turns out looking a bit messy, but their thinking is awesome!

This year, I'm going to have my students create their concept maps on Padlet. This is just the platform I am familiar with at this time, so if you have a better digital idea, I'd love to hear it! If you create a Padlet with the "Canvas" setting, they can add ideas, and connect ideas with arrows! I'm excited to see what they can come up with. (For now, I'm thinking whole class Padlet, but if I can figure out how to get it done in small groups, I'll do that instead.)

Memory Books

As we wrap up our units for the year, I always have my class start making memory books! It's a great way to fill up those little bits of time you have while everything is coming to a close. These are a fun and creative way for kids to reflect on the year and then take them home as a keepsake. In a typical year, they create them as a paper booklet, which they color and fill in with their reflections on the year. I always collect them before the last day so I can read them and then hand them back!

This year, I'm so excited to have their memory books go digital! I love the print ones too, but I know they are going to be so excited to do this project online. They can do this as an assignment on Google Classroom this year, share it with their friends, and I can still read and smile at the things they want to remember about our year together.

It will be just like the print one we used last year, but they can type straight onto the pages in Google slides and even insert pictures!

If you could use this resource too, I'll leave a link in the picture below. The resources will have both print and digital versions, so you can use what works for you and your students! (There are 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th grade versions!)

If you are looking for an adorable memory book for the littles (K-2) to print out and fill in, check out my friend Joyce's memory book! So cute and those little guys will love it.

Whew! I think that's about it...I hope you got some fun ides for the end of the year! Even though this year is going to look a little different, I'm certain we can still give our students the fun stuff they have worked so hard for from afar. And when things are back to normal - well, then we have some great ideas for then too!

If you have any fun ideas for the end of the year, be sure to leave a comment so we can hear from you!

by The Craft of Teaching

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