8 End of School Year Ideas

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These 3 are my favorite end of year tributes to my reading students. 

Read The Giving Tree

This circle-of-life book is the essence of middle school. We push the desks back, gather on the floor, and grasp the last wisps of childhood that seventh grade will allow. This is our final lesson together, learning that we need each other, we have value, and we can bring happiness to others. 

Write a Class poem

I started this in my first year of teaching and every year I say, “I probably won’t do the poem this year. I’m just
too busy.” Yet every year I’m overcome with sentiment at their sweet faces and the words come. I share with my students a poem about our year, the challenges we’ve overcome, and my hopes for their futures. Each class receives it differently, but I think as with many things it’s more for me than them. 

Class Awards for Everyone

Again, I try to find any excuse not to do these because they seem time consuming at first. However, the McMath Awards have become a trademark end of school tradition. Every student gets an individual award I create. They are not academic related, rather they celebrate other aptitudes or memories we’ve shared. I get creative like, “Future Lawyer” for my highly argumentative student or “Drum Major” for the kid who constantly taps his pencil.

These are 5 fabulous end of year exercises for students.

Summer Reading List

Use goodreads or your local library website to build a To Read list for the summer. I even have students create a weekly schedule with page goals. I also create a goodreads list for my students to access over the summer with my recommended reads.

Summer Bucket List

I emphasize that summer is a gift not to be wasted. We create a summer bucket list. I encourage students to make theirs as selfless as possible. How can you use your gift of time to help others? Mow lawns and donate the money? Babysit your siblings so your mom can run errands? I also have them set screen time goals. Sure, they may not do ANY of the bucket list items. However, taking time to consider them is one step closer to accomplishing them.

Survival Guide

What do you wish you would have known on the first day of school? Compile a survival guide. What does a student in this school need to know to thrive?

Letter to Your Graduating Self

Our math department does an excellent job at making this happen each year. The students write a letter to themselves as graduating seniors. The teachers actually send the students these letters just before graduation.

Write children’s books and read to elementary students

Next week my students will go to a neighboring elementary school to read books they’ve written. This serves as their end of year project. I’ll conference with each student after the book is printed and bound. We’ll go over a checklist of elements (conflict, indirect characterization, simile, etc.) and they will show me evidence of each in their children’s book. After we read the books to the second graders, we will donate them to the students. It’s always a highly rewarding day for everyone!

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2 thoughts on “8 End of School Year Ideas

  1. Shelby Reply

    Write children’s books and read to elementary students

    This is such a great idea! I teach in a K-12 school so this would be a do-able project. I would love to see the checklist/assignment handout if you have it available somewhere. I am not an English trained teacher so your e-mails and resources are always helpful.
    Thanks!

    • Amber McMath Post authorReply

      Shelby, thank you for the positive feedback. I apologize for not getting back to you sooner. I built my checklist off of what I expected every student to know about Story. What does every story have? How do authors make their stories better? Why do authors make the choices they do?
      My checklist had the following items: protagonist, antagonist, conflict, setting, point of view, theme, exposition, rising action, climax, resolution. It also included these: direct characterization, indirect characterization, signal words, simile or metaphor, personification, onomatopoeia, and hyperbole. I had two other categories: illustrations and oral reading.
      The students had the checklist ahead of time and made sure as they wrote the story that they included each of these elements.
      The final assessment was an individual conference with each student. I went down the list and asked them two things for each item: What is it? Where is it in your book? For example, the student had to define “theme” and then tell me the theme of their book. They had to define simile and then show me in their book a simile that they wrote.
      I hope this helps! We just took our books to the elementary school and they were delighted! My students LOVED reading to/with them. To our surprise, the second graders had stories of their own they were working on too! We got to talk about the writing process together, which was a blast!

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