For many of you teachers….just a few weeks to go! Whoo Hoo!
Relief, happiness, joy….which emotion are you feeling now that the end of the year is in sight and summer is on the horizon? I recently shared a photo I saw on the Facebook page of Create-abilities that pretty much sums up what all teachers feel like in May!
Before the year ends, though, you have to come up with something to celebrate, recognize and honor all the work your students have done throughout the year and find a way to say farewell to this year’s class. I always struggled with this…I was exhausted, my daughters had all their May events going on, and the classroom budget was tight or non-existent. So, let me share with you a few ideas that I did way back in my classroom days.
Being a huge fan of movies and the Academy Awards, I decided to create my own awards ceremony, the Anttila Awards. Check out my flyer below; the writing you can see on the back is my list of what awards each student was getting, and yes, ALL students received an award! Some of my categories include:
- Best Performance in Math
- Best Performance in a Science Fair Project
- Best Performance in Writing
- Best Performance in a Fractured Fairy Tale Skit
- Most Likely to be Caught Reading
- Best Performance in Public Speaking
- Best Performance in a Research Speech
- Best Performance in Making Up Work
- Best Performance in the Oceanography Project
You get the idea! We invited parents and asked them to provide refreshments, and we also invited administrators, specials teachers, the custodian and paraprofessionals to be “special guest presenters” at the awards. SO, SO fun!
Another year, my students and I created a HUGE hallway display called “The Bitter and the Best”. There were two butcher paper columns, one for favorite classroom memories/activities, “The Best” and one for less memorable or bittersweet memories, “The Bitter”. I hung up photos from our year, as well as project and homework assignments. This really helped the students to reflect and provided a nice closure to our year!
One thing I always struggled with was what to give my students at the end of the year…a gift…without breaking my bank account. At the end of the year when I had the theme of Growth Mindset with my GT students, I had a local specialty cookie shop, Eileen’s Colossal Cookies (locations in many states!) and decorate cookies for all students (over 50 of them!) with our motto for the year: “Fail, Learn, Grow.” Needless to say, these were a huge hit! Check out this blog post from Diary of a Not So Wimpy Teacher for more end of the year student gift ideas!
Last year, since I was retiring and had worked with some of my gifted students for four years, I created a slideshow of our learning and fun together, complete with music. The students loved seeing photos of their younger self, as well as students who had moved away or gone on to middle school! Here are some ideas for great songs for your end of the year slideshows! And even MORE ideas!
Over in the sidebar, you will find a link to my End of the Year Pinterest Board for teachers! Hang in there for a few more weeks, and take time to enjoy the summer, family, and friends! You are all my HEROS!