Celebrate! Our Last Week of Activities Together

     You made it!  175ish days with your class, and you made it to the final countdown!  Bravo!  Rounds of applause for everyone.  How you are feeling right now, at this very moment, all depends upon the type of class that you have had.  Believe me, I have been there where I just needed the last day to ARRIVE.  LOL

     Fortunately, I really haven’t had too many years like that.  This year was a year that I didn’t want to end with my class.  They were a lot, don’t get me wrong.  We were the isle of the misfits this year. We had emotional, familial, academic, health-related, and dietary needs this year.  All rolled up into one room full of the most beautiful children that you could meet.  They were mine!

     As a grade level, we planned out activities for the last week of school.  A few of the days involved parents, but the rest was time that was set aside so that we could enjoy our kids for those final moments.  Here is how we planned it out:

Monday:  “The Book Man”

     This is the name that we affectionately gave to the gentleman that volunteered to come into each of our classrooms to read a story to students.  I didn’t know much about him or why he was coming, voluntarily, to our rooms, but I trusted my teammate’s judgment.  I am so happy that he came!  Have you ever worked with someone that is just a natural with children?  This gentleman was it!  He didn’t get flustered.  He knew how to re-direct students that attempted to speak without raising their hand.  He was really good.

     Unfortunately, I left his information in my classroom, so I can’t tell you the name of his program. But, I can tell you about it.  He decided to begin his own Non-Profit agency for spreading literacy to children.  Not only does he go into classrooms and deliver a knock-out read-aloud, but he also brings one book for each student to keep!!!  When I say books to keep, I don’t mean books that he kindly purchased from a garage sale.  These were brand new, hardback books.  The kids were able to take them home.

     Sitting here thinking about it makes my eyes well up with tears.  Kids should have a room full of books to choose from (personally owned, from the library, or from any source), but we all know that for many of our sweeties that that is not the case.  My students were so delighted to have these books. He even gave me the book that he had read aloud to my students as a donation to my class library. On top of that, he allowed all of the teachers to choose any books that we wanted from those that were left over.  If you remember how much I love children’s books, you’ll know that this was quite the moment for me!

He was awesome!  My class was completely engrossed in his storytelling.

Tuesday:  Bubble Day

     Need I say more!  Bubble days are the best days.  There is nothing more pure and precious than squeals of joy from a happy child.  They had a blast!  If you want to make your bubble day really special, bring in different types of bubble wands.  If you can find some that make those ginormous bubbles, you will be Superhero Teacher of the Day.  Those are so much fun.  When a student would put it down, I would run over and use it for a few minutes.  Ha ha.  Good times!

Wednesday:  Class Picnic

     Okay, this was the plan, but it did quite happen the way that we envisioned it.  One phrase.  You already know what it is.  :  )  It rained.  Yes, it rained.  So, being the flexible teacher that I am, we simply ate inside of the classroom.  Here’s where it gets better.  I had two parents show up unexpectedly to eat lunch with us.  I welcomed them and just had them follow me to the room.  They seemed a little unsure, but came.  I am chuckling as I type this.  Needless to say, by the end of lunch time, they were offering me much love and sympathy, and asking if I went home and drank :happy juice” to keep my sanity each day.  They were only there for 35 minutes!!  LOL  LOL  LOL
I love it!  If you are a parent, love on your child’s teacher.  <3

Thursday:  Ice Cream Social:  Family Day

     I always love our ice cream socials.  Everyone comes together in the cafeteria.  Parents bring in the items that we request.  We sit and enjoy ice cream- with the works.  Then, we go outside to play on the playground until it’s time to go home.  Yum!  If you are looking for an easy way to manage all of the ice cream and toppings, look into Sign Up Genius.  It takes a little more time to set up, initially, but once you have all of the information entered (initial sign up), it is pretty ease to use consistently.

Puzzle Challenge Day

     I went to the Dollar Tree and purchased 5 100-piece puzzles.  One puzzle was placed on each table.  I allowed the students to choose which puzzle they worked on as a team.  I set a prize for the first team to complete the puzzle.  Well, I saw this going differently in my head.  You never heard so much whining and complaining.  Yikes!  Do you want to know how many times I heard, “This is too hard!”?  Let’s just say that I was looking forward to Specials.  Here are a few pictures of the puzzles that I chose.  I thought that they were good choices.

We did actually finish putting this Star Wars puzzle together.
He was committed to this process.  Can you spy the puzzle piece on his elbow?

Friday:  Last Day of School

     We, honestly…. I, honestly, had the best last day of school ever!  I made a conscious decision not to do any cleaning or packing up.  I know!  That sounds crazy, but let me tell you how life changing this was this year.  It completely gave me the opportunity to be present.  I don’t think that my kids will ever forget this day.  We simply spent time together.  
     The first thing that I began to do was to conduct our End of the Year Award Ceremony.  I found these really cute awards on Teachers Pay Teachers.  I found them in Meredith Anderson’s store.  Reading the type of award is always so much fun.  Sometimes it’s hard not to get a little choked up when you give a really heartfelt, more serious award.  I had a little boy that came in reading only 5 sight words, and left my room reading small books independently!  He was my hero this year.  
You can click the picture to find this set of awards in her store.
     My kids drew pictures- most of which were good-bye presents for me.  They worked on their class memory books, signed autographs, and spent time together.  Let me just tell you that I witnessed some, “Oh my gosh, I didn’t expect this” moments.  I had 3 students that seemed to torture each other all year (mild, 6 year old, ” quit looking at me” torture) that actually spent close to an hour sitting on the carpet reading Highlights magazines and laughing out loud with each other.  I mean, deep belly-aching laughter.  Their laughter was so infectious that I began to laugh too.  I didn’t even know why I was supposed to be laughing, but I joined in.  It touched my heart to see this trio finally getting along.  It only took 180 days.
Documenting our class memories.
Working on our Memory Books and enjoying time together.

This is one of my favorite pages in the memory book.  “Top 10 Things I Like About Me”.
I couldn’t get this photo to turn.  Sorry.
This page is about wishes for next year.
She wrote:  I will be a Think Award Winner.  I will be a good student.  I will be nice.
I will have a lot of friends.  My teacher will be nice. 
Minion bags for the girls and Star Wars for the boys.

     At the end of the day, we sat and watched Disney’s “Tangled”.  I wasn’t sure about this at first because I didn’t know if my little boys would enjoy it or not.  They did.  They laughed.  They talked to the screen.  It worked out really well.  During the movie, we ate left over ice cream.  This gave me a moment to go around the room and write a personal message to each student in their class memory book.  Some of the students were checking out early, so this was important for me to do.  

     I gave the students their Summer Survival Bags.  I had packed them full of school supplies that they could use for the next year.  I added glue sticks, a highlighter, pencils, crayons, a pen, a pack of notebook paper, index cards, and a composition notebook.  For fun, I included bubbles and neon trimmed shades.  The piece de resistance was chapter books that I had ordered from Scholastic.

This is how we spent our last week together.
I would love to hear how you spent your last week of school with your students.  Leave a note in the Comment section.  
Have an amazing summer!

If you are looking for a Class Memory Book, feel free to click on this picture to pick up one from my store.

 Click here

2 Responses

  1. Kathy,
    It did make a big difference. I am really glad that I made that choice this year. I hope that you had/have an amazing "end of the school year". Thank you for leaving a comment. : )

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Hi, I'm Tania!

I help creative and time-conscious teachers plan student-centered lessons that interest and motivate student learning so that lesson planning takes less time and is actually enjoyable! 

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