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Monday, May 18, 2015

End-of-Year Ideas, Tips, and Freebies!

The countdown to the end-of-the-year is on! Maybe you're less than a week away from summer bliss, or maybe you go until the end of June {yes, that happens. yes, it stinks}, maybe you're somewhere in between.  No matter where we fall in the countdown, we're all always looking for ideas to fill our last days. And so, I've compiled a few of my favorites in this here post :)

1} Record Memories

I'm a mama now, and I've become obsessed with recording anything and everything for Ella to read one day. I just feel like she'll be dying to know when she took her very first bite of broccoli or the date she first helped me blow bubbles ;)

There are quite a few ways to have our students record their memories. I just added one to my TpT store. I love it because it pulls double-duty: it makes an EASY and ADORABLE bulletin board display, and it makes the perfect memory keeper for my kiddos.

Click HERE to grab it from TpT

I also created a Timeline Banner last year. This is another double-duty product: a great display and the perfect memory keeper. Next school-year, I plan on using it throughout the year with my students to review each month's learning and activities, as opposed to just at the end of the year. 

Click here to read more about it. Click here to add it to your cart!

There are also a plethora of Memory Books on Teachers Pay Teachers. Rachel Lamb has one of my favorites: Hashtag Memories.

2} Have a Countdown

We pop balloons for our last 10 days. I like this type of countdown for a few reasons. To me, 10 days is the perfect length for a countdown. It's juts long enough to pack in a lot of fun activities, but it's not so long that it drags on and the kids lose interest.

I also love that it gives me something to hold over my kiddos' heads. Let's be honest, sometimes that's all we have to hold on to at the end.

Click the picture for a free list of what I put inside my balloons.

I make sure to have a RACK day in my countdown, where we write letters and give sweet treats to our specials' teachers and buddies we have throughout the school. I also make sure to throw a movie day in there because Movie Day=Get Stuff Done Day!

Mostly though, the balloons are filled with theme days. Every year "Bubble Day" {using Abby's Busy Bodies packet} is a HUGE hit!

Last year we also had airplane contests, art day {included sidewalk chalk}, and photo booth day.

3} Write Letters

I always have my current students write letters to my future students. The writing of the letters serves many purposes. 1} Friendly Letter writing review 2} I can see what my current students think is important information that needs to be relayed {hello opportunity for reflection!} 3} The letters serve as a great discussion starter for my new kiddos. And I also get a peek at my struggling readers!

Click the picture below to grab letter paper for FREE. There is a boy and girl version.

4} Get Ready for the Next Year

I always have my students help me get ready for the next year. We have to box everything up, so I have my more reliable students box up my books basket by basket and label them. That way, I only have to pull them during the summer and add them to a basket. I don't have to spend valuable time resorting them.

Any decorations I take down go right into my September bins. I have bins for each month that house crafts, printables, books, and {mostly} decorations for each month. I don't have a picture, but I use the labels from one of my favorites, Ashley at That's So Elementary. They're adorable and a STEAL at $1.50

Auction off items you no longer want to your students. You could do a fancy auction and give your students classroom money to bid on items. But hey, it's the end of the year...that's too much work for me. 

Instead, I take down anchor charts I won't be reusing, old holiday pencils and erasers, math games that have been a little over-loved {read: damaged}, leftover prize box toys {I use coupons instead now}, notepads, I'm telling you ... ANYTHING: a post-it pad with only 3 sheets left...a student will want it! Then, I just start pulling popsicle sticks with student numbers. If they want it, they take it, if they don't, I pull a new stick. It's such an easy way to get rid of stuff I no longer need/want, and I get to make a student's day!

5} Take a Class Picture

I'm a fan of the pictures where each student gets to hold a sign that spells out a word. Print enough copies for your students and you have an end-of-the-year gift they're sure to love!

I hope I was able to give you a few ideas to wrap up your school-year! What do you do during the last week or two?



  1. Thanks so much for your ideas!! I love the flower bouquet and I just made a "We are Fifth Graders" sign. I'll blog about it when school is out and mention your TPT store! :)

    Thanks again,
    Happy Days in 4th Grade

  2. Great ideas! I especially love the auction one. I'll have to keep that in mind for summer school!



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