May 2024 - History Gal

Memorable End of Year Activities for Middle & High School Students

As the end of the school year approaches, it's a whirlwind of emotions for both students and teachers. We're all eagerly anticipating the upcoming summer break, counting down the days until we can kick back and relax. Amidst the excitement, there's a tinge of bittersweetness, especially for teachers. 

Use these end of year ideas to end your school year on a memorable note for both you and your students as you get ready to dive into summer.

As you glance around the classroom during these last few weeks, you'll likely feel a surge of pride seeing your students working, chatting with their friends, or sharing a moment of laughter together as a class. It's incredible to witness how much they've grown since the beginning of the year. I know sometimes it can feel like we are spinning wheels when we are in the thick of it, but these moments make me realize just how far they've come. 

Nine months may seem like a short time, but within the school year, so much can happen. That's why it's essential to pause and reflect on all the achievements, big and small, that our students have accomplished. Today, I'm sharing a few ways I celebrate the end of the year with my students to make these final days memorable! 

End of Year Celebrations Positively Impact Our Students

End of year activities to celebrate our students are so impactful! They're a fantastic way to acknowledge all the hard work and growth they have achieved throughout the year. We acknowledge these milestones throughout, but having a celebration at the end helps them see all they have accomplished. Each year, so many of my students start to remember important moments they had when we take time to look back. It's fun to see their eyes light up, and a smile start to break through on their faces when they realize how they have grown! 

Use your end of year ideas to positively impact your students and show give them an opportunity to reminisce on the incredible year they've had.
 In a way, these celebrations create a sense of closure and excitement as we wrap up the year together. It's a chance to look back on all the fun memories we've made and the challenges we've overcome as a class. By marking the end of the year with special activities, we're reinforcing a positive and supportive classroom environment. 

Not to mention, these festivities help build lasting connections between us and our students and between students themselves. It becomes a time to show appreciation for each other. On top of it all, we are continuing to strengthen our sense of community before heading off for summer break. This is even more beneficial if we are in a grade level that leads into a transition time, like 8th grade into high school and high school into college. 

End of Year Ideas with Your Students

I have some end of year ideas to help you wrap up your school year with your students! These activities have brought great joy, some laughter, and a bit of reflection to my students each year I have done them. Here are a few ideas to make the last days with your students extra special! 

Yearbook Signing

There is nothing more end of the year than signing yearbooks. If you do not do a school-wide signing, then making time for this activity in your classroom is a must. 

One of my favorite end of year ideas is to have dedicated time for and end of year yearbook signing.
Even if they act like they're too cool, they love the chance to reminisce with one another. A picture might strike up a funny story that everyone pauses to listen to. A project that was forgotten about may remind them how much they've learned. 

Once they have had time to flip through and tell all the iconic stories, I give them time to sign each other's yearbooks. I have markers on hand for them to use as they sign and write messages. My rule is that they sign everyone with a positive message. Everyone may not be best friends, but they can still support each other and wish them a fun summer! 

If you happen to be at a school that doesn't pass out yearbooks until the start of the new school year, you can still experience the same type of reminiscing. Making a slideshow of pictures that highlight your class or the school year is a great alternate activity. They still get to tell the stories and remember moments from the year.

Get Outdoors

As we inch closer to the last day of school, my students are practically bouncing off the walls. Who can blame them, though? The weather's warm, the sun's shining, and even I can't resist the urge to get outside and soak it all in. So, I make sure to plan a special day where we can ditch the classroom and head outdoors for some fun and games. 

Include an outdoors sports day in your end of year ideas to give your students an opportunity to enjoy the wonderful weather and get in some teamwork fun at the end of the year.
My students have their favorites, like kickball, capture the flag, and frisbee, so those are always on the agenda. I don't stand on the sidelines the whole time. I jump right into the action with them! We run, we laugh, and we make memories. 

If you can do an outdoor event that is longer than one class period or with the entire grade level, consider a faculty vs. students kickball game. It's a riot! The kids love it, and whenever they come back to visit us, it's one of the first things they mention. It's a chance for all of us to let loose, be a little silly, and bond over some friendly competition. 

Minute-to-Win-It Challenges

Minute-to-Win-It games get everyone out of their seats and participating! I love them for that reason but also for their simplicity. We can have a lot of fun together in just a few minutes using these short but interactive games!

Minute-to-win-it challenges are a great addition to your end of year ideas and let your students have some extra fun before leaving for the summer.
Games include stacking cups at lightning speed and trying not to crack up while fellow classmates try to nudge a cookie down their faces into their mouths without using their hands, or a blindfolded jockey challenge. 

We definitely laugh as classmates try to shake out ping-pong balls from empty Kleenex boxes tied around their waists! These games are quick and wacky and guaranteed to have the whole class bonding and laughing. 

End of Year Gratitude Graffiti Wall

This one is one of my favorite end of the year activities we do. I usually hang a large piece of bulletin board paper up on a wall in my room. I'll eventually place it in the hallway if there is a good spot! On this graffiti wall, my kiddos have a chance to write out messages showing gratitude towards a teacher, classmate, or situation during the year. 

Let your students show off their appreciation with this end of the year gratitude graffiti project.
We start by brainstorming together to get the ideas going. Once we have thought of a handful, I give them some time on their own to think of other people and events they'd like to show gratitude to. Then, they are free to go up to the wall to write or draw their messages of gratitude. 

I love how this activity encourages my students to take the time to reflect on who was a light in their lives. They see how even the smallest action or statement can help turn a situation around. During a time of year when emotions are running thin, this helps to spread positivity. It's beautiful to witness how grateful so many are for what has happened throughout the year! 

End of Year Reflection Doodle Page

A must-do end of year activity I do with my classes each year is an End of Year Reflection Doodle Page. The page I give them is full of fun shapes that are filled with prompts to answer about the school year that is ending. 

My students write out the school year and their grades. Then, they write down the most memorable quote or saying. These always crack me up, and I find myself nodding in agreement! They have a chance to write down the one thing they will always remember from the year. There is space to record all of their accomplishments from the year, from athletic to extracurricular. 

An end of year reflection doodle page like this gives your kiddos the opportunity to reflect on the amazing year they've had.
One of my personal favorite groups of prompts is called This Year's Favorites. This gives them space to write down their favorite song, movie, series, book, class, and phone app. I always tell my students to keep this page, and when they randomly find it while cleaning their room in 5 years, they're going to be amazed at what their interests used to be. 

I encourage my students to be proud of themselves for what they do, so I made sure to include a space for them to write down what they are most proud of from the year. Then, they have a space to write down three things they learned. I don't limit them to just academics, so if they want to include more of a life lesson they learned, then that's fine with me! 

They then have the chance to illustrate something that represents the school year. For some, it might be a pile of books and paper for too much homework! While others might draw something sports-related or an emoji. With time left over, I encourage them to go ahead and color in any of the shapes on the paper and add their own doodles!

The completed page is a great addition to their yearbook.  It allows them to have a space for some personal memories as well as school-wide ones. Students can glue this page inside the front or back cover, or they can tape it along the spine of the yearbook as an additional page.

Time to Celebrate the End of the Year With Your Students

End of the year ideas and activities will give you an opportunity to celebrate your students and all the hard work they've put into their learning this year.
As the school year winds down and summer break calls out to us, it's essential to take a moment to celebrate all the hard work and achievements of our students. From outdoor adventures to creative activities, there are countless ways to make the end of the year memorable and meaningful. 

Whether it's laughing together during the Minute-to-Win-It challenges or recalling personal accomplishments, these moments together strengthen connections between teachers and students. So, make sure to seize the opportunity to create a few more memories with our students before we send them into summer!  

Save for Later

Remember to save this post to your favorite teacher Pinterest board to help you save time when you plan your students' end of year celebrations and activities! 

Looking for fun end of the year ideas to incorporate into those last few weeks of school? Use these amazing end of year ideas to give your students the opportunity to have fun, build on friendships, and reflect on an amazing year! #historygal #endofyearideas #endofyearideasforhighschool #endofyearideasformiddleschool #EOYideas
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