Ideas for the Last Days of School

Happy End of the School year!
   The last days of school can be the most  fun, memorable days of the year. Like many teachers, I do a countdown with a special event, activity or treat each day.  

And while I LOVE the idea of balloons, I am a little too lazy to follow through with keeping them afloat for so many days so I went with a paper chain instead.

My first year, to build excitement, I wrote the reward on the inside of the chain link in white crayon. Then, I chose one student who had an *outstanding* day to rip it off and color over the "secret message" with marker to reveal the reward. I might've also forced them to do this in rainbow color order. This was fun but I kept forgetting what day was coming up next and ended up taking them apart and trying to read white crayon to figure out what I needed to prepare for the next day (I should've just wrote the order down for myself somewhere... #hindsight #firstyearteacher)

This year, I printed out the chain links on Astrobrights. Pretty paper makes everything more fun!

Here are some of the themes/activities I use:

Teddy Bears and Teddy Grahams:
Students bring a stuffed teddy bear (or other animal) to school for the day. We also used Teddy Grahams for two different lessons: fractions and taste testing opinion writing

Flashlight Day:
We did almost EVERYTHING in the dark with flashlights (regular and finger-sized). You can read more about our day here.

Read and Freeze:
We wrap up our book buddies by reading outside and eating freezer pops. I pick them up at the Dollar Tree as soon as I see them in the store! This year, I also plan to add a game of Freeze Tag to this day.

Swap Seats: Students get to choose where they want to sit for the day!

Paper airplane contest: Students make paper airplanes and we test them outside with a friendly competition!

Bubbles and Bubblegum: Students can play with bubbles out at recess and enjoy chewing some bubblegum during a lesson.

Ice Cream Party: I email parents to ask them to send in toppings. I provide the ice cream.

Kickball Tournament: The 5 second grade classes play against each other. We have two games going at once and play until there is an ultimate winner! This takes ALL morning and we usually plan this for the second to last day of school.

Awards Day: I save this one for our final day. Our last day of school is always SUPER short (like less than 2 hours...I don't get it.) So I roll out the red bulletin board paper carpet, read No More Pencils, No More Books, No More Teacher's Dirty Looks  (Ha! It's the perfect last day read!) and hand out these free certificates to my students.


Let's talk about GAME DAY!

 I love to get them PUMPED UP, make it educational and also have the opportunity to talk about sportsmanship.  By this time of the year, my crew is always lively and  they get heated during competition so I know it is important to address this head on. We talk about individual vs. team events.  We discuss earning gold, silver and bronze.  We chat about congratulating our teammates AND others for a job well done.  We remind ourselves we are here to HAVE FUN!

Here is the line up for Game Day:

I love that I can incorporate games we play all year, review games AND then Rock Paper Scissors just for fun.  I got the idea for a RPS tourney from Mrs. Smith in 5th when she posted this pic on Instagram.

At the end of the day, I put together an awards ceremony.  I project a podium background on the SmartBoard and play some ceremony music as I hand out medals to each team.

Kids clap and cheer for each team which makes my teacher heart happy. 

It's one of those days you leave school smiling and know your kids left school excited.  I can't wait to do it again next year.  Actually...I can ; )

Need some ideas?

Happy almost summer break teaching to you!


Megan @ Meg Go Run said...

Wow doing the Summer Olympics in your class sounds like so much fun! This post made me feel like the most un-creative teacher ever lol. How did you have time to make all those medals?????? Those kids are lucky to have you. :)

Anonymous said...

Ah I have 11 days left of school and I love this idea! I love the Olympics and I think my second graders would enjoy this. Also, sportsmanship is something we have been working on all year. I'd love to win the pack- my email is

I love watching swimming, yet I never enjoyed swimming too much (besides leisurely)

Thanks! Caitlin