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May 13, 2014

End of the School Year Tips and Tricks

Written By: Brandi Jordan
Category: The School Year
X End of the School Year Tips and Tricks

End of the School Year Tips and Tricks

You are just about there!  The end of the school year is in sight and you are counting down the days!  There is a lot to do between now and then, but we have some great teacher-tested tips to make your end of the year easier.  From cleaning the desktops and classroom to ideas for slowing down summer slide, these tips and tricks are sure to make the end of the school year a much more pleasant time of year.


End of the School Year Tips and Tricks

Scrape Your Cares Away!

Take this end of the school year cleaning tip from Maureen, a 1st Grade Teacher, from Alpine, UT.  “Clearing desktops of a year’s worth of hardened glue and tape residue has never been my favorite job,” she admits.  “For 18 years, I have had students attempt to scrub the grime and glue away with cleaners and rags. Out of sheer frustration, I would always resort to using my fingernails to loosen the most stubborn debris. More than once, I ended up breaking a nail, or cutting myself on the hardened glue.”

“It finally dawned on me to save my nails and to instead enlist the help of a plastic scraper like the one I use on my kitchen pans. Now I have my students spray their desktops with warm water and then scrape their desktops clean with very little effort. I only wish I discovered this when I started teaching all those many broken fingernails ago!”


Party Down to Summer Reading

“At the end of the school year, we 2nd Grade teachers meet with our prospective 1st Grade students,” explains Kim, a 2nd Grade Teacher, from Fort Collins, CO.  “We do this in part to encourage the children to read books over the summer. To this end, we supply each child with a colorful reading record for recording book titles they read over the summer (at least eight). The record has room for the parents’ signatures as well as space for a short comment about the book. Over the summer, we mail reminder postcards informing students that those who return the records during the first two weeks of school are invited to join our annual pizza party. (This generous timing allows us to work with students who may not have the support they need at home to read independently.) Of course, in the end, every student participates in reading and in the pizza!”

Tip:  This reading record idea is useful any time there is a holiday or break in the school year – or whenever teachers want to make sure their students are staying on top of their reading!


Scavenger Hunt Fun

This idea comes from Allison, a 1st Grade Teacher, from Bartlett, IL who knows that at the end of the school year everyone wants to be outdoors!  “At the end of each school year, I create an Outdoor Math Scavenger Hunt for my students,” she explains.  “I offer my students a list of playground-inspired math questions I’ve prepared, then take them to the playground so they can see and touch math in action – and record answers to my questions. My list of questions might include items such as:

  • What is the sum total of swings and slides on the playground?
  • What fractional amount of slides is blue?
  • How many triangles can you count on the swing set?
  • What is the sum total of slide steps on the playground?
  • How wide is one seat on the swing set?
  • How many kids does it take to circle the big oak tree on the playground?

This is a fun way to provide visuals as you review almost any math concept you can think of!”

Tip: Adjust the learning by offering students questions representing different levels of difficulty. Also, if you use a digital camera to take photos of the playground things and places you investigate, bind these and students’ corresponding math discoveries into a class book.



What are some of your favorite end of the school year tips?  Share with us below or on the Really Good Teacher Forums!

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  • Jennifer Knopf
    May 29, 2012

    I always bring in a few cans of shaving cream to clean off our tables and chairs at the end of the year! The kids love “playing” in the shaving cream, plus it’s a great way to review any concept while getting the tables clean! Just call out spelling words or math word problems and have the kids “write” in the shaving cream. Your room ends up smelling great, the tables (and kids!) are clean and everyone has fun!

  • Michelle
    May 28, 2012

    What great ideas. My 4th grade students write friendly letters introducing themselves to their future 5th grade teacher and friendly letters to the future 4th grade students of my class. They seem to really enjoy these activities.

  • Kelly Goneau
    May 27, 2012

    We are making a memory book called “The Diary of a 4th Grader.” Students will document all of the activities from the year and identify their favorite lessons and activities; who they spent time with during the year, etc. There are spaces in the memory books to draw pictures to illustrate all of the activities as well. They can’t wait to get started and I can’t wait to see the finished products!

  • jessica berggren
    May 23, 2012

    I love the scavenger hunt idea. It’s a great outdoor thinking activity. I usually do 3 main activities. First a word wall book to take to second.d grade. As I take down words one letter at a time, I have students record the words in a “book” alphabetically. 2nd, we write letters to ourselves stating what we think we will do or be like in the future. We address envelopes and I keep the letters and mail them to my students in the future. Last we make aj end of the year memory book.

  • Cheryl
    May 23, 2012

    Love these ideas! We have a reading day where the students bring beach towels and buddy up to read with their friends for part of the day. It gets kids to read and they have fun!

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