Woo Hoo!  It's the End of the School Year...

So Now What Do I Do?


Yay! It is the end of the year and I have made it through!  Woo Hoo!  Summer is in sight and we are all so ready for a break.  So now, how do I prepare for the end of the year? Here are some ideas I have some up with, but I would love to hear any of your ideas as well.  Please email any tips or ideas you are willing to share!

My To Do List

What Can Kids Do to Help Pack at the End of the School Year?

End of the Year Student Activities

End of the Year Links

Report Cards!  Yikes!  What to say?

Last Day of School Activities

Poems for the End of the Year

Prepare for Next Year??? WHAT!?!

My To Do List (and it just keeps on growing..!)

             This time of the year is so difficult because we all want to be done: the students, the faculty and the staff.  And there is all of this over WHELMING list of things that need to get done.  So where do you start?  Here is my personal list of things to get done this year.

End of the Year Checklist

___ Finish assessing all students with the DRA

___ Give English Language Arts Benchmark and Math Benchmark    

___ Compile classroom data that needs to move to the student's teachers next year.  For example, end of year math tests, DRA or a reading assessment and a final writing sample.  Our school has created a form that compiles all this information on one sheet that is due to administration.

___ Print out the End of the Year checklist and begin collecting signatures (this is a list that all teachers must completed and have signed by school personal before they leave school the last day).

___  Return all library books and make sure there are no lost books (Whoops!)

___  Complete Pink and Blue information cards (cards with student information that are used in when we have the class placement meeting.  These cards are sorted into classes based on the marked information).

___  Complete any retention plans need if a child did not pass state testing or is being considered for retention

___  Get gift for room mom and nay volunteers (I like gift cards and a nice note J)

___  Organize, clean out and complete student portfolios

___ Finalize academic contracts (this is what we call them)- these are forms for conferences letting parents know their child is NOT on grade level.  These are sent home beginning, middle and end of the school year.

___ Make sure all information is turned in for summer school.

___ Complete my personal performance goal and turn in to administration.  I am not sure what other districts call these.  Basically teachers select a goal they would like to work on all year and then track data that relates (beginning and end) to show that you have grown in this area.

___  GRADES!  These are coming up due soon!  Figure out who is missing work, collect it, and grade it!  Easier said than done!

___  Order supplies for next school year.

___  Complete and organize studentís permanent records.

___  Copy reading list for each student.  In report cards I send home a list of books for students to CHOOSE to read at their individual independent reading level.  It is simple.  After I figure out their independent level from my end of year DRA's, then I match it up to their Fountas and Pinnell guided reading level.  Then I take my guided reading bible (Guiding Readers and Writers by Fountas and Pinnell) a copy one or two pages for that students reading level.

___  Write my end of year letter for parents.  Click here to see mine.

___  Complete end of year progress letter.  This is the first time my teammate and I have done this.  We typed up a short note that gave parents a snapshot view of growth and grade level achievement.  We included this in report cards.

___  Write my end of year letter to students.  Click here to see an example of mine.

___  Plan for last three days of school (Our last days of school are a Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday).

___  Collect student text books to see if students need to purchase a lost book.

___ Complete textbook inventory (given to teachers by district- it basically requires teachers to count teacher editions and student textbooks to monitor lost items).

 Click here for a printbab;e copy of the End of the Year Checklist in Word

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What Can Kids Do to Help Pack at the End of the School Year?

Or also known as mostly legal child labor :)

By the end of the year I am exhausted and ready from summer (usually due to the list above!!). The idea of packing up for the summer sounds exciting...because of the summer part.  The packing up, not so much. 

So on the last day of school (and only the last day of school except for the passing put of papers) I allow kids to help me pack up. I am afraid if I started this earlier in the week, chaos could possibly ensue because kids think school is already over enough and I am afraid to add to it even the tiniest bit!!!!

Here are some organizational and cleaning things kids can help out with:

____ File papers to return home

____ Organize teacherís filing- This year I got a *little* (read: w whole lot) behind with my filing being so sick.  I gave two students a huge stack of paper and they organized the papers into reading, writing, grammar, math, science, social students and an I donít know stack.  Think this will speed up my filing somewhat.

____ Test all the markers and throw away the duds

____ Sharpen colored pencils

____ Test glue bottles to make sure they work.  Throw out bad ones and combine bottles with just a little glue (over the sink)

____ Sort art materials into correct boxes. Many of the materials get put in the wrong box by the end of the year and this drives me crazy!!!

____ Clean out and organize recess games/ cabinet.  Throw away games that are torn apart or missing most pieces.  Tape up boxes and return pieces to correct game boxes

____ Sharpen pencils for next school year

____ Clean off white boards and get off any off the expo marker ďhazeĒ that the pens may have left behind

____ Test out Expo markers and throw away duds

____ Straighten up white boards and clipboards box

____ Have students clean off any posters that we have written on during the year (laminated ones with exp marker on them)

____ Neatly roll up teaching posters

____ Play math game puzzles to make sure all the puzzle pieces are there

____ Organize library- make sure books are all facing the correct way in the basket, pull out any books without labels or are torn and no longer readable

____ Empty book boxes and return them to the correct library baskets.  Wipe out book boxes with wet wipes and peel off name tags

____ Take name tags off of desks.  Scrape off tape and use hand sanitizer to remove tape goo (it really works!!)

Click here for a printable version of this list.

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 End of the Year Student Activities

Noun Verb Poems

This year (2009) I had my students write Noun Verb poems.  I got this idea from a fabulous first grade teacher I  worked with at my previous school (Hi Emily!).


First we brainstormed all the places in the school that most children used or visited- I called them common areas.  This was Art, PE, the clinic, front office, principal's office, etc. Then I choose one area to model the poem with.  I chose the front office.  I modeled how to brainstorm a noun and what it did, focusing on sounds words to make it more interesting. Here would be an example (my chart had much more but this just gives you the idea!):

People What They Do Things What They Do
Secretary helping papers rustling
parents asking phones ringing
    computers clacking


Here is the copy of the graphic organizer for the kids.  Please note that the first two columns are shaded just to make it easier for the kids to see which columns go together.


Students then were assigned into pairs.  They both chose an area.  I had them think of their top three choices because only one group of students could do it.  As groups chose a spot I jotted down their initials so I could remember who was doing what.  Then I sent students off to complete the chart.  I told the kids the more they brainstormed the easier it would be to write the poem.

The next day I modeled how to write the poem. I circled the best nouns and matching verbs.  Then it was just a matter of putting them in an interesting order- I grouped all the people , for example- just because I wanted too! I modeled writing the title and then ending with the place.  Here would be an example:

Front Office

Phones ringing

Chairs squeaking

Parents asking

Secretary helping

Principal talking

Printer humming

Kids smiling

The Front Office


Then the kids wrote their poems and gave me the final draft to type.  I typed it and the next day they chose the font together and I printed it.  I bought cheap frames and mats at the Dollar Store. Then I asked the Specialists for catalogues with their stuff in it.  For example: the music teacher sent me down a catalogue with musical instruments, books and teaching supplies.  All the teachers had tons of these they were about to toss.  Kids  cut out the pictures to match their areas and then created a collage around the frame.  I insisted on "no white" between pictures so it was a true collage.  Then we put the poem in the frame and bam!  We had a gift to give several teachers at the school.  The kids were supposed to deliver it to the teacher the last day, but we forgot and I did it during post planning.


 They really looked great.  The collage really made the frames!  The best part- my kids could have cut out pictures FOREVER!  It took them about an hour and a half to two hours to finish the collage, but I didn't care because this gave me time to finish my end of the year paper work!  They were productive and engaged and so as I! : )



Memory Book

One activity that I am going to try this year is a memory book.  I have never done this before and I am not sure it will work...but I am willing to try!!!  Here are the items that will be in the student's memory books:


A List of Favorites


I Am Poem

Students write a poem about themselves with the repeating line I am ____.  This can be every powerful.


Self Portrait


Kind Words from Classmates

     I gave each student a page with their picture on it.  Students then rotated around the room and write comments to their classmates that are kind.  I stress that we are a family and we are there to build each other up, not tear each other down.


Autograph Page

This is for students who cannot afford a year book ( and this is more and more students every year)


Informal Book Clubs

I mean, really?  Students are supposed to READ at the end of the year with only a week or two left?  Is she crazy?  NO.  My kids are doing it RIGHT NOW.  They are quietly reading an HOUR a day.


I gave students a choice of four books and let students choose the book they most wanted to read.  I REALLY, REALLY talked this up to keep students interested.  Students will be doing this the last two full weeks of school (last two and half weeks).  I gave students a calendar of what we will be doing for the rest of the school year. Click here to see an example of a calendar. They met together in groups and created their reading contract.  Click here to see a copy of the reading contract.


We meet together and created a list of all the things we could mark in our text (connections, things that confuse  us, predictions, funny parts, what would you do? questions, etc.). I gave each student a small pad of post-it notes   (I divided pads) and asked students to mark parts they want to discuss.  They have been marking like crazy.


We meet according to their calendar and we sit in the floor and eat snacks (I bring popcorn ,goldfish ,etc). and have a true book club meeting while the rest of the class is reading.  Yes.  I swear they are doing it!!!



Readers Theater

     We have been practicing fluency all school year with reader's theaters.  This year I decided to really play into this so that I can keep the kids engaged!  For the last week of school we will be practicing daily.  I randomly hand out parts and students practice at home as well.  We will be performing the last day of school in the media center (I am trying to really hype it up). 


     I have invited all of first grade to come and watch three different Reader's Theaters that are all based on Kevin Henkes book.  The other class I teach will be performing A Bad Case of the Stripes and The True Story of the Three Little Pigs for the entire second grade (at a separate time). 


       Parents have been invited to come watch as well.  We will decorate the Media Center with "backdrops."  I made an overhead copy of the book cover for each play.  During recess students may come in a trace the overhead copy on large white butcher paper.  After it is traced we paint the picture and then outline it with a black Sharpie.  They look wonderful and will be hanging behind the row of students performing.


      The kids are really excited about this and I am able to use creating the "backdrops" and performing as carrots to encourage students to behave!  It is working so far!


   Click here to read more about how I use Reader's Theater and also for links to scripts!


Building Tooth Pick Bridges

     This is something that my teammate is doing with the kids during science.  They have watched a video on how bridges are made and have discussed the concept of arches and so on.  Then students broke into groups of two and three.  Students are allowed to use only wood glue and toothpicks.  It is interesting to see what they come up with!   On the last two days students will get to test the bridges and can see how many text books their bridges can hold before collapsing.  Here are some links:






More Ideas

This is a collection of ideas from www.teachers.net.  Click here to see all these ideas!


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End of the Year Links






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Report Cards!  Yikes!  What to say?

This is an EXTENSIVE list for report card comments.

It is an excellent resource.



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Last Day of School Activities

       At our school students cannot take anything home (or bring anything to school) except their report card on the last day of school.  This is done to prevent "littering" from the school buses on the last day.  So what do you do when students can't take things home?  Here are a few ideas.

Perform your Reader's Theater!

Math Relay Games

      My partner got this idea from her sister who teaches high school.  We figured we could adapt it to elementary school.

      Create a list of math problems with answers!  Take students outside and divide into teams.  Each team gets a white board.   Students race up to the teacher and collect a math problem and solve it on their white boards.  They run back to the teacher and show the answer. If it is correct, they get a point and another problem to work.  The best part is that no one is waiting around for anyone to finish- as soon as their group is done, they get another problem- whether or not any other groups are done!  The team with the most points the end wins!


Visit the Next Grade Level

      This can be as simple as you want it to be or as complex.  One class of third grades will be coming and visiting our room and we will be sharing our favorite things we did and also the hardest things we did.  I will also ask each student to share a bit of wisdom (or advice) on how to prepare for fourth grade.

     We will be going to visit in a fifth grade classroom and they will be doing some things bit more formal.  Students will share, but they will also get to do a geometry project together and share the text books and things like this.

Watch a Movie

     This is always a favorite and an easy one!  I will be doing this!  We will either be watching a movie version of one of our literature circle books (if our school library has any) or Seven Alone ( a movie about westward movie- which we are studying).


Pirate Unit For Sale at Teachers Pay Teachers

I have created a very cool pirate unit that crosses the curriculum.  I have done it for two years and my kids have LOVED it!  We end with a "pirate party!"

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Poems for the End of the Year

These poems were posted on www.teachers.net message boards as end of the year poems for students. I thought they were lovely.  This might be a nice substitute for a letter to students if you do not have time.  the person that submitted these did not include their name so I cannot give credit- but I can say they are not mine!!!!

Dear Zachary,
You're a very special person
And Zachary, you should know
How I loved to be your teacher
And how fast the year did go!

We did a lot of special things-
We learned, we laughed, we cared
I always will remember you
And all the fun we shared.

Please come back to visit me
As through the grades you grow,
Try hard to learn all that you can
There is so much to know!

The one thing I tried to teach you,
To last your whole life through
Is to know that you are special
Just because, Zachary, you are you!

Here is a picture that you can treasure.
Teaching you has been a pleasure!
The year now ends, and we must part,
Always know you are in my heart!

Great Expectations

It's time to say good-bye
Our year has come to an end.
I've made more cherished memories
and many more new friends.

I've watched you learn and grow
and change from day to day.
I hope that all the things we've done
Have helped in some small way.

So it's with happy memories
I send you out the door,
With great hope and expectations
for what next year holds in store.

I am Glad I was your Teacher!

I'm glad I was your teacher
I've come to love you so.
I can't believe the end is here.
I hate to see you go.

Remember all the fun we had
in all the things we did
But most of all remember...
You're a Very Special Kid!

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Prepare for Next Year??? WHAT!?!

I know, I know!  I am crazy! However, at the end of the year I often find small amounts of time during preplanning that I could use to work, but fritter away socializing. I am so brain dead I couldn't even BEGIN to think of what is needed to start the school year.  Then at the beginning of the next school year I regret that I didn't start earlier.  At the beginning of this school year I started a list of items I could have completed ahead of time.  I added to it it throughout the year and then finalized it at the end of the past school year.  I have completed some  of the items.  I will continue to work on the rest!  Maybe this will help you become more organized too!



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