Keep some of these activities and suggestions in mind as you consider how you can keep engaging students in the last couple of months of school.
The end of the year, although fun and often filled with special days, field trips, and parties, can be both “the best of times and worst of times” for teachers of upper elementary students.
Students who have been on their best behavior throughout the year, are all of a sudden getting the summer itch, and the students who are not always on their best behavior….well let’s just say that they are still not on their best behavior.
We all know these days are coming and we often look forward to the end of the year as much as our students do, but teachers also start running into some challenges in those last couple of months of the year.
For many, we have covered and assessed all the necessary content for the year, and we are now looking for ideas to keep our students engaged in ways that are maybe a little less structured while still expanding on the topics they learned throughout the year in our classes.
For others, you may be preparing your students for a big move into middle school and dealing with the emotions of that great transition.
We want to help you and your students end the year on a high note, so we have compiled some of our best ideas for engaging students in the last couple of months of the year into one list that is sure to get your creativity flowing!
Ideas for engaging students in the last couple of months of school
Keep things consistent
When everything is getting crazy, it is not the right time to change everything. Especially if you have students who will be going through a big transition (like going from elementary to middle school), or students who don’t enjoy being at home. For those kids specifically the end of the year can be really tough emotionally.
Keeping with some of the same consistent activities and games that you’ve been using throughout the year will bring a feeling of normalcy and safety to your classroom.
Consider using some of the activities and games you’ve used throughout the year with students, but change them up just a little by adding in a fun twist or using a resource in a different way.
Check out this post about up-leveling your games for fun ways to make the games you’ve been playing all year more engaging!
One way to keep students moving forward and focused at the end of the year is to move them from being just consumers to taking on roles as producers!
If your students have been working with our Close Reads with Mystery Pictures for a while, it may be time for them to create their own!
Another Create-Your-Own activity you can do with students is letting students create their own game.
We love creating games for students and teachers to use in the classroom, and if you have been using a lot of our games with your students, then they are ready to make their own.
One last, create-your-own activity that we have for you is the Create-Your-Own Country activity. This one gives students the freedom to create their own world. They get to pick the name, language, landscape, etc. I especially like this one for my students who like video games because we can liken it to video game creation!
Focus on soft skills
Often we consider the hard skills (reading, writing, math, etc.) to be the ones that are most important in our classes, but in the last few months of the year, it may be time to consider what other skills you want students to leave your classroom with.
Some of the soft skills we recommend focusing on are gratitude and kindness.
Many of us probably did a gratitude-related activity in the fall as part of a Thanksgiving unit or something similar, but it is also a great way to end the year.
Consider reworking some of your typical ‘Thanksgiving’ activities or your can download our free Kindness Challenge Activity for some inspiration!
Take a little pressure off and start downloading all the free activities outlined in this post! Use them to start planning for your last couple months of the year now. Hopefully, you’ll be able to put together a series of activities and experiences that will truly keep students engaged through the end of the year!