The end of the year is upon us! While there is no tired like teacher tired, I would argue that there is no tired like end of year teacher tired. If you are reading this, hopefully, state testing is behind you and you are looking for some easy ways to make the end of the year memorable but doable. Here are 8 end of the year ideas for middle school.
1. Try Something New
If there is something you have wanted to try for the next school year, then run a trial run with your current students. It could be a new technology program, a new classroom management strategy, or a new instructional strategy. Work out the kinks, so that in the fall, you can roll it out with confidence.
2. Student and Teacher Reflections
Reflecting is an important part of the learning process. Give you and your students the opportunity to look back at the school year and record what your class (the content, environment, pacing, etc.) should keep doing, start doing, or stop doing. Surveys are great, but you can also get some hilarious thoughts from your students by asking them to write advice to the upcoming grade level about your class. When you give students a creative way to talk about your class, then you are more likely to learn something you would have not thought to ask.
3. Countdown to Summer
My favorite end of the year ideas always were countdown related. You can countdown to summer in a variety of ways:
- Balloon Pop Countdown: Miss5th shares this idea on her Instagram. Each balloon has a student name inside and each day a balloon is popped. That student gets to be celebrated in whatever way you see fit for that class period. Think: shoutouts, they can sit in a special spot, they can write on the white board, etc
- Question a Day: For virtual students, you could ask students some questions on Flipgrid (What is a moment you felt proud? What did you learn this year?) and compile them into a mixtape. To learn how to make a mixtape, check out this link.
- Paper Chain Countdown: Our freebie includes a practical and fun idea for each day. Print on colored cardstock, cut, and staple, and you have yourself a colorful and fun countdown.
4. Escape Rooms
Escape rooms are a fun way to continue to teach and reinforce skills throughout the year while still keeping things fresh and new! The escape mentality keeps it engaging, and since they work inside Google Forms, students can work both in partners or independently in-person, virtual, or hybrid. Grab a copy by checking out this blog post. (Note: digital escape rooms don’t allow students to move on until they get the correct answer, so make sure you have a plan in place for students who get stuck)
5. Projects | Project-based Learning
Incorporate a project or try a cross-curricular project. While projects do require more upfront work than the typical lesson, the payoff is students can work on a project over the course of many school days, so you have fewer days of lesson plans to prepare. There are so many opportunities and ways to help students apply all that they have learned as a culmination at the end of the year.
6. Staff Awards
Finishing strong extends to staff too! I always looked forward to the end of the year because every staff member earned an unofficial award. Over the course of 3 years, I received The Mama Bear Award, The Mary Poppins Award, and the “I got it” Award.
If you want to start small, you could organize staff awards for your grade level or your department. Similar to Secret Santa, everyone who is participating needs someone to give an award to, prepare some kind words, and create some sort of award certificate. The morale boost is the best!
7. Next Year’s Content
Get your students ready for next year! If you teach 7th grade, go to the 8th grade teacher and ask them what skill would be helpful to review or teach for their class. It’s a win-win!
8. Get Outside
Fresh air is good for everyone. Grab some clipboards and head outside! Many inside activities will translate outside.
What end of the year ideas do you have for your classroom?