The end of the year is here! We would like to share some fun and memorable end-of-the-year activities. At the bottom of the post, please share your ideas for great ways to end the year.
Reviewing what you’ve learned over an entire year can be a daunting task. Engage your entire class with this playful activity:
- Write the names of major concepts covered on strips of paper.
- Place the strips of paper into a hat or a bowl.
- Have the students pick from the papers blindly..
- Ask students to illustrate the concept without using words in their drawing. (Tip: To get the creative juices flowing, try reading one of the books from Peter H. Reynolds' Creatrilogy — The Dot, Ish and Sky Color.)
- After drawings are finished (or time is up), the students should gather to present their work,Pictionary-style. They can act out the subject a little — but challenge them to not talk during the presentation.
- Have the students in the audience guess what the drawing depicts.
- Once a student guesses correctly, the class can then have a group discussion on the subject that will cover even more material.
- After a discussion on the lesson the next student will go up and present their drawing, etc. It is an exciting way to break up a long review!
An alternative to the Pictionary game is to have the students illustrate their favorite lesson or subject from the year. Have the student write a short “artist statement” about the work. Things that could be included in the artist statement are:
- A description of the lesson or activity and what they learned.
- An explanation of the concept taught in the lesson.
- An anecdote about the activity done in class.
- A poem to accompany the piece about the subject.
- An explanation as to why they enjoyed this project in particular.
After writing the statement is presented to the class. After each presentation, other students can share their thoughts on the lesson the student chose to depict. If students pick the same lesson, it is OK because different points can be raised with each illustration depending on how the student chose to represent the activity. The students will appreciate sharing and explaining their art and writing. This will also provide helpful insight as to which lessons are popular and particularly resonated with students. The students will also enjoy the trip down memory lane while looking though old projects.
GOOD BYEKU Poetic Reflection
Have the year go out on a poetic note! Haiku are easy to learn, and quick and fun to create. To introduce your students to haiku, try reading them Guyku by Bob Raczka , illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds. The book gives you tons of great examples of haiku about activities most of your students are familiar with. This will help them relate the poetic form with personal learning experiences. The Guyku Website has lots of easy-to-use downloadables for educators!
Review the lessons taught in the past year. Do a quick summary of the topics covered in each subject. The students will pick a lesson and write a haiku about the topic or how the lesson was taught. Then present the poems with a poetry jam! Each student reads their poem to the class (snaps encouraged). This is a fun way to fit in one last lesson and a review — all in one.
Fizzy bubbly pow! Magma turns to lava when above the crust.
Adjectives are great! They describe our lovely nouns, making writing fun.
Presidents are told to be thirty-five years old, says article two.
SHAVING CREAM JEOPARDY Creative Cleanup and Reflective Fun!
Get your students involved in cleaning their desks at the end of the year. Usually wiping away marks can call for lots of cleaning supplies and elbow grease — but there is an easy and fun way to get your students involved in the clean up.
Shaving cream actually lifts dirt and grease from the textured surfaces of desks. Since shaving cream is also extremely manipulatable, students love to get their hands in it!
This activity is simple, First distribute dollops of shaving cream onto the desks. Make sure it is the white fluffy original kind NOT the gel. Gel creams will just leave a sticky residue and grease.
Have students rub it around, covering the entire surface of the desk. After they have their fun manipulating the cream and completely covering the desk, you can introduce the game.
The layout of this game can mimic the configuration of Jeopardy. Use topics covering the main subjects learned throughout the year (i.e. math, science, literature). Each topic will contain five questions (more can be added, it is a very flexible game). These questions will have point values ranging from 100 to 500 (or beyond). Usually 100 point questions will be recently covered topics or easy-to-remember topics, and 500 point questions will be more difficult topics, or topics from the very beginning of the year.
Much like final Jeopardy, students must answer the questions by using their fingers to write in the shaving cream on their desk. Students can either work in teams or individually. When working in teams it is best to require everyone in the group to write the answer on their desk. You don’t want to leave anyone out of the fun of writing in the cream. After answers are checked and points are distributed, the students should “erase their boards” by rubbing away the words in the cream. Cream refills may be required, so consider this when purchasing your supplies. After the game the shaving cream can simply be wiped off with a paper towel.
Not only will you have a fresh clean set of desks, but you will have sent your students home with a better understanding of the materials covered during the year!
We would like to thank each and every educator out there for inspiring and motivating students to create bravely and make their mark this year! We hope you enjoy your summer and continue to innovate in life, as well as the classroom.
Gallery and paintbox illustrations from THE DOT, copyright 2003 Peter H. Reynolds (Candlewick Press)