Activities for Celebrating at the End of the School Year
Every member of your learning community—from students to educators to families—deserves recognition for the effort they put into this school year. Celebrating them (and yourself!) is a powerful way to end the year on a positive note, strengthen community bonds, and help students appreciate their progress while reinforcing their identities as learners.
End your year with some richly deserved celebrations by trying out any of the following activities or ideas.
The articles below are brimming with activities you can use to engage your students in reflecting on and celebrating their growth since the beginning of the year:
- “Five Ways to End the School Year With Joy!” offers five celebration options, including revisiting hopes and dreams, creating a digital photo book, sharing memories with a memories paper chain, and more.
- “Pause, Ponder, and Reflect: Six Ways to Celebrate School Year Success” has six more possibilities, including creating a class book, Google slideshow, Word Splash, and more.
- “Joyful Endings: The Last Few Weeks of School” also has a number of activity ideas, including a scavenger hunt, whole-group discussion prompts, “I remember learning” presentations, and more.
- Similarly, “Bringing the School Year to a Strong Finish” is full of ways your classroom can celebrate as a community, including holding a class Jeopardy! game, class movie night, or fruit salad social; compiling mementos from the year for a class time capsule; and more.
Also consider one of these more targeted strategies:
- Recognize students individually with the activities in “Quick Ways to Recognize and Celebrate Every Student at the End of the Year.”
- Learn how you can use daily routines such as Morning Meeting and closing circle to celebrate the year with “The Last Days of School.”
- Help students look back on their year using a book from one of the following articles:
Just like their students, educators are deeply deserving of recognition for their hard work and dedication throughout the year. Here are some ways to celebrate your own achievements and those of the educators with whom you work and collaborate:
- Check out “The End of the School Year: A Time to Pause and Celebrate Successes” for ways you can both independently contemplate and connect with colleagues to recognize all the year’s accomplishments.
- Use “Reflecting on Your Teaching Year” as a guide for meaningfully reflecting on the successes and challenges you faced in the classroom this year.
- “Revisiting Your Professional Goals and Setting New Ones” has additional reflection suggestions, plus ways you can turn the results of your reflection into impactful goals for next year.
Parents and other family members also deserve recognition for the ways they have stepped up to support their child’s learning. “Four Ways to Include Families at the End of the Year” offers helpful suggestions for celebrating families’ hard work, including inviting families to a Morning Meeting or other classroom gathering, having students write a letter or create a video message in which they share highlights of their learning from the school year, and more.
Making time to recognize every member of your classroom for the hard work they put in, the challenges they overcame, and the ways they grew as individuals and as a community is a powerful way to punctuate the school year. How do you plan on celebrating?
Ted Powers is an editor for Responsive Classroom.