Ah the last few weeks of term 4, I remember them well. The restless and excited energy of the students. All the teachers feeling drained after a lonnnng term having wrapped up hours upon hours of report writing. Everyone is eager for the holidays that are stretching out in front of them, so close you can almost taste the sweet sweet FREEDOM.
But first, you need to complete those last few lessons and line up all sorts of activities to keep your students engaged and occupied to see out the school year. Don’t worry BFF, if you’re limping to the finish line or simply need some fresh ideas to try, I’ve got your back before you head off on your well-deserved break. From writing prompts, and artistic assignments to number games, I’ve made a round-up of my absolute favorite end of year classroom activities your students will love.
Keep the kiddos busy so you can get organized and reset your classroom before the end of term.
Independent work ideas
In my experience, independent work is the way to go – give the kids activities that hone the skills they have already mastered throughout the year and set them off on their merry way! Allowing you the glorious luxury of TIME. Time to start the end of year classroom cleanup. Time to get organized and prepare to move classrooms. Time to reflect on the year with zero pressure of assessments and teaching content to get through. Time to soak in those last days with the littlies that you have nurtured and watched grow for an entire year. Enjoy those precious moments my friends, you have achieved so many great things together. Here are my top three independent work ideas to try out this year.
Independent work is a great way to reinforce lessons from during the year and get some bonus time to start on your end of year classroom clean out.
Practice creative writing
One of my favorite independent learning tasks that’ll keep your kids engaged all afternoon and get their creative juices flowing is the use of narrative writing prompts. This writing activity is perfect for any reluctant writers or learners who struggle with creative writing that need something to guide and inspire them.
You may like to select one of my writing stimulus task cards for your whole class to get writing about the same topic. Alternatively, you can print off the writing prompt cards and laminate them, so they can be reused, allowing your students to select a topic that they’re most interested in writing about.
For the budding artists in your class ask them to provide illustrations to appear alongside their prose or to write their story as a cartoon strip. The more creative and colorful the better! Pin up all the stories on the class bulletin board so the class can read and admire each other’s stories and artwork.
My writing prompts help inspire creative writing and illustrations for your little learners.
Why not hone in on and practice the storytelling skills and lessons you’ve taught during the year and allow your children the freedom to develop their very own narratives and characters. All the templates are included in my Narrative Writing Pack to help guide the students to get creative and flex those big imaginations!
My Narrative Writing Pack will guide your students to get creative and flex their imagination.
A non-fiction mission
Is non-fiction more your focus? Take a peep at my Non Fiction Reading And Writing Unit. It’s chock-a-block with posters, diagrams, activities, charts and writing templates. EVERYTHING you need to nail your non-fiction lessons.
Have your students create their very own non-fiction book as the final task of your non-fiction unit to apply their learnings. Your little learners might like to choose a favorite animal, place, historic event or public figure to base their book on. The unit pack has planning sheets and organizers to help with this task, so you don’t need to worry about a thing! Kids love the challenge of making their own book and taking it home to show their siblings, parents and grandparents.
My Non Fiction Reading And Writing Unit worksheets are perfect for independent student work.
Fun and games
Monkey Madness Counting Game
This cute number sense game is suited to early years learning. How to play: Each player receives a monkey game board. Place paper bananas in the middle of the table and number cards face down. Each child then takes a turn picking up a number card and placing the pictured amount of bananas onto their board. Note: Depending on your students’ abilities and learning requirements, choose which number cards to use for the game (i.e. pictures, numerals or words).
You can grab my Monkey Madness templates to print for FREE via my Resources Library.
My Monkey Madness Counting Game is always popular with early years students.
Make friendship bracelets
A fun activity to join your students in is making special friendship bracelets as a token to remember the great year you’ve all had together. All you need is some beads, some masking tape or a clipboard, colorful embroidery string or satin cord and you’re off. Here is an easy tutorial to make a fishtail braid friendship bracelet with your students.
I adore the idea of wearable keepsakes that your students can hold onto and remember their favorite memories from the school year. If bracelets aren’t your thing, you might consider painting t-shirts with students’ handprints or making tie-dye bandanas where all the students can sign their names.
Friendship bracelets are a fun end of year activity so all your students have a special keepsake to take home.
A board game round-robin
Ask each student to bring in their favorite board games and host a board game round robin. Think all the classics, like Uno, Scrabble, Trouble and Twister. Bring in prizes for everyone and have a special prize for the winners.
Literacy group games
Suited to early years learners, my literacy center games have been a winner in my classroom for years. Featuring phonics, syllables, digraphs, alphabet matching and more, these games are great for reinforcing all of that literacy goodness you’ve worked on together this year. Access my Literacy Center Games Bundle.
Final thoughts and advice
If you want your students to work independently, it’s important that the activities and games chosen are suitable to their ability level and are based on a familiar concept or skill that they have already learned with you throughout the year. Otherwise, they will be unable to work alone and will continue to seek your assistance AND ATTENTION – especially in the early years!
Here are my top tips for engaging students and smooth end of year activities:
- Always show the students how to play a game or activity first.
- Buddy up students with varying ability levels – more advanced students can be your helpers guiding and supporting their peers.
- Set up stations and rotate groups after 10 mins or so to keep engagement levels high to avoid boredom and/or behaviour issues.
I hope these activities and games bring lots of fun and enjoyment into your classroom during the final days of the year before you farewell your little learners off on their next adventure.
Planning to use any of the above resources and ideas? Or do you have a different favorite activity for your end of year lessons? I’d love to see all the special ways you round out and celebrate the school year. Tag me on Instagram for your chance to be featured.