I'm joining up with a few other bloggers to share some end of the year tips and give away some summer goodies!
If you are new to my blog, thanks for hopping over!
I'm finishing my 16th year of teaching...wow! In those years, I've taught everything K-8 except 1st and 7th, so I've been through my fair share of goodbyes! I've also been a part of "graduation" ceremonies with students moving up to middle school or high school. I've tried a bunch of different things to end my school year on a high, happy note - and some have worked better than others! Here are my two favorite ways to wrap up the year!
1. Celebrate Your Graduates!
- I'm not the person who believes in trophies for EVERYTHING, but I do think it is worth celebrating the move from elementary school to middle school, or middle school to high school! I've been a part of some wonderful "graduation celebrations" at the end of 5th grade and 8th grade. Here's what I love most: PREDICTIONS. Yes, this means work on the teacher's end, but the result is so much fun! This works best for 5th grade, because you have one whole group of kids you get to know really well. I write a story, set sometime in the future...mine usually take place at a Michigan State University football tailgate...where I end up running into a former student who tells me all about his or her classmates and what they are doing now. It is tons of fun to create futures for my students and they love hearing about how one of them is "now" a famous football player, or that one of their own has discovered the cure for cancer, or just finding out how many kids they have! I always tie their future to something they are currently into. It makes for a really fun end of the year read aloud! I print copies for each student as a graduation gift, too.
- 8th grade celebrations are a bit tougher to make personal since we share so many kids with so many teachers! At my school, we do a big presentation whole group, but I like to give my own kids a little something on our last day together. Thanks to the Target Dollar Spot, I can make mini-diplomas for each student! I use Pirouline rolled wafers and just tie a ribbon around each one. Then I attach it to a certificate I print out thanking them for their hard work all year or congratulating them on surviving middle school. Super easy and affordable when you've got 100+ students!
2. Keep Kids Learning All Summer with Summer Fun Packets!
- When I taught elementary and knew I'd been seeing my students back at the same school the next year, I often made summer fun packets for them to do over the summer. Doesn't sound much like fun at first, but when they realized that the contents of the packet were really fun and that they could earn a prize from me in September for completing them, they LOVED the idea! (Parents were big fans, too!) I'd put in activities like my "Color By Code" grammar practice sheets, a list of board, card, dice, and domino games that practice math skills, a list of my favorite books, and a list of local field trips for families. Parents would sign off on the activities, then when school started again, my former students would come back to visit my classroom and show me their completed packet. I always made a big deal about them coming back to visit and congratulating them on their productive summer, then I'd give them some fun dollar store goodie. This was fun for me, and great motivation for my new students to see that learning can be fun! Click the picture below to grab a FREE "Color By Code" activity.
If you like that one, I've got many more Color By Code Activities covering many different ELA topics. You can get them all individually in my store, or save money by buying the bundle! Click on the picture to find out about all the "Color By Code" activities!
You can find a list of fun ways to practice math at home here! Parents love these activities because they probably have all the materials at home already! Plus, these games are fun for the whole family! Click the picture to find out more!