The end of the school year can bring a lot of different feelings. For one thing, you are at the end of the tunnel, ready for a (much-deserved) summer break to reset and rest. On the other hand, you get a little sentimental with your students, knowing these are the last moments you will ever have with a particular group of students. Even if you happen to change grades and teach them again, you may not have the same combination of students or deal with particular events as you did.
It can also be a little difficult keeping students engaged when they are ready for days in the sun, at the pool, and out of school!
Here are five end-of-year activity ideas that you can easily implement with students in Grades 3-5 that not only are a great way to reflect on the year, but also hit on some important reading comprehension or vocabulary skills learned during the school year!
All of these activities pair with the book A Letter From Your Teacher on the Last Day of School by Shannon Olsen and work great for the last week or last day of school!
1. Go on a Poetry Scavenger Hunt
In this activity, you can select a short variety of poems. Have students read and annotate the poem and find examples of poetry elements from the poem. You can set it up to where students work in pairs or in groups on just one poem, or you can make it so that students have 5-10 minutes and rotate between 4-5 poems around the room!
2. Compare Texts
This activity requires both A Letter from Your Teacher on the First Day of School in addition to the Last Day book. As a whole group, read each book and have students work in pair or in groups to compare elements of each book. Encourage students to look at not only the story elements, but also the tone, mood, and illustrations of each text.
3. A Year in Review Poem
Have students construct a poem on various things they liked (or disliked) about the school year. Have students get creative! You can have students create narrative, lyrical, humorous, or free verse poems that rhyme or not! You can also host a poetry slam where students share their end of year poems.
4. Have Students Write a Letter to You
This one might cue some waterworks! For a special end to the year, have students write a letter to you - and take the time to respond back on a separate sheet of paper! Not only will you be able to keep those sweet notes from your students, but you can also give them a memory that they will be able to cherish as well.
5. Reflect on the Text
Have students write a reflection of the book after reading the text to the class. Students can reflect individually and share their reflections as a group or with the whole class.
The best part of these activities are that they are all part of a book companion I have (plus more activities included)! You can differentiate based on the needs of your class and it is easy to prep and make copies for your students.