It’s almost the END OF THE SCHOOL YEAR!! And we all know that this can be a crazy busy time of the year. In addition to all your normal activities there are special events more due dates and new deadlines. It’s easy for the stress level to climb and to feel out of control. But these 7 tips will help you have a stress free end of the school year.
I know that you’re excited for summer, but if you’re anything like me, you’re also dreading everything that you have to do between now and then. No one knows (unless they’ve lived it) just how tiring those last few weeks and days can be. I remember it well. The students are done. You’re done. Everyone has summer-itis. A stress free end of the school year seems like an impossible thing. But it doesn’t have to be! These 7 tips and ideas will help you close out this year with less stress while also getting a head start on the year to come.
1. Have a Desk Cleaning Party
We all know that students’ desks seem to magically collect more and more things throughout the year. Solve this problem by having a desk-cleaning party at the end of the year! Tell your students to grab their backpacks. It’s also helpful to have extra bags available – check with your local grocery store to see if they will donate paper bags.
Make this fun and do a countdown, “3…2…1… Dump your desk!!” Students LOVE dumping their desks onto the floor! Tell them that everything will go into one of three places: recycling bin, trash can, or backpack. Once students have finished cleaning, give them a baby wipe and have them wipe the desk down- inside, outside, legs… everything! Have them clean off their chairs, too. Explain that nothing is to go back inside the desk. If you want, you can even turn the desks around so that students can’t put anything back in!
This can be a big, daunting task. By getting each student to take responsibility for their own desk you are left with just a quick check. One task done and we are on our way to a stress free end of the school year.
2. End of Year Decluttering
Take time to declutter your classroom! If you haven’t used it in a few years, chances are you never will. Tackle one closet/drawer/cabinet at a time. And . . . don’t be afraid to let the students help you. Have puzzles? Let the students put them together to make sure all the pieces are there. Do the same with games and other classroom activities. If anything is missing pieces then it’s time to find another home.
Everything should go in one of three piles: keep, give away, or trash. After you make the piles, take time to clean out the space. If it is trash, get it in the trash bag, and then don’t look back. If you’re keeping it, put it back neatly. Now is the perfect time to add labels for extra organization. Your future self will thank you.
If you’re giving it away, decide if you should give it to another teacher or give it to your students. Each school is different, so ask your principal if there is a place to store items you’d like to donate to other classrooms. If you want to send it home with your students, they will be thrilled!
I like to write all students’ names on popsicle sticks. I draw one student at a time, and they get to choose something from the pile to take home with them and keep forever. You can also use an online random name generator or download a name-chooser app. You can find several online for free.
With a few minutes a day and some student help you can be decluttered, organized and confident that you are starting the new year with only complete and quality classroom resources.
3. Plan for Next Year
I know what you’re thinking… I’m
tired exhausted! I don’t want to think about next year. Been there! But let me tell what is ever worse. Having to use part of you summer to get ready. It’s hard to go back during the summer! Do yourself a huge favor and get a jumpstart on next year.
Pull out your planner and see what you did during the first month of school this year. Go ahead and get those activities ready! You may not have your class list, but if you know what grade you’ll be teaching, just prepare what you can!
Start by making a list of things that you want to do. Then, print off what you think you’ll need. Paperclip activities together and file them away for next year. And . . . if you are lucky enough to have a parent helper let them get these copies ready. I promise you will be so thankful come August and September.
Here are some ideas for things that you can prepare to have during the first month of school:
- Classroom rules and procedures
- Icebreaker activities
- Beginning of the year review activities
- First month of morning work
- Reading Logs or Homework Calendars
Also, if you’re feeling REALLY motivated, you can make copies of things that you know you’ll use all year long. If you do a math spiral-review each week, go ahead and print it off and file it for the entire year! Maybe you use the same novel guides each year. Print them off and have them ready! It’s a lot of work now, but think how relaxed you’ll be next year when it’s all printed and ready for you!
A few more big tasks crossed off your to do list makes for a stress free end of the school year and a smooth start to next year.
4. Survey Your Students
This was one of my favorite end-of-year activities and students love it, too! Survey your students and ask them how the year went. There are many ways to do this. Give your students a “teacher report card” and ask them to grade you! You can create a Google form and send it to your students. You can simply ask them to make a list on notebook paper.
Ask your students some of these questions:
- What made me a great teacher?
- How do you think I could do to become an even better teacher?
- What subject was your favorite? Why?
- What subject did you not enjoy? Why?
- What are some activities that you loved this year? Why?
- What is an activity that you didn’t like? Why?
- What did you like about our classroom?
- What advice would you give to future students?
5. Keep Your Students Busy
You have so much to do – report cards, progress reports, cumulative folders, and checklist after checklist of things to complete! If you can keep your students busy, you’ll have fewer behavior problems, and you will be able to get some of these end of the year tasks done during the day!
Here are a few ideas to try:
- Let students have longer independent centers
- Read a class novel – you can also find audiobooks so that your students can read and listen at the same time
- Complete a memory book
- Let students help clean the classroom and organize supplies
- Let your students visit the teachers they will have for next year
- Invite students that will be coming to your grade into the classroom to meet you
- Collaborate with other teachers in other grades – students can partner up and read books to each other, do STEM activities, or complete a special project
6. Invite Guest Speakers
You don’t have to do this alone! If your school allows guests, ask your principal if you can invite people into your classroom! These guests can do fun activities with your students, read books to your students, or host a question/answer session with your class!
Here are a few people that you could invite into your classroom:
- Parents of students
- Grandparents of students
- Family members of students (aunts, uncles, older siblings, etc.)
- Your principal, vice-principal, or superintendent
- Community members – bankers, dentists, doctors, business owners, etc.
7. Have Theme Days
This was one of my favorite end of year activities for elementary students I have ever done. Have themed days in our classroom! These were so much fun for students, and gave me time to work!
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Camping Day- students can bring in sleeping bags and snacks and you can watch a movie or have a day of reading
- Pajama Day- students can wear their pajamas to school and bring in stuffed animals- you can watch a movie
- Game Day- students can play classroom board games or bring games from home; you could even allow students to bring electronic games if that’s something your school allows
All of these make great end of the year class rewards. So start after spring break and get your students excited about earning a fun day at the end of the year.
Here’s to a Stress Free End of the School Year
Before you know it, you will be relaxing at home, sleeping in, and getting some quality time with the ones you love. Use these 7 tips to make the end of the year as stress-free as possible.
Be sure to save these 7 tips to your favorite teacher Pinterest board so you can come back anytime for stress free end your school year ideas to help you end your year on a positive note.