The school year is coming to a close! Now is the time to
celebrate achievements and reflect on the memories of all that’s
happened. Read on to find creative ideas for end-of-year assignments and
activities that will get your students remembering all of the great
things they accomplished in the last nine months, and looking forward to
exciting days ahead.
1. List what you’ve learned from A to Z.
What a great way to look back over what kids have learned!
For each letter of the alphabet, have them write and illustrate
something they learned or did throughout the year. Hit the link below to
get a free printable template for this project. (This isn’t just for
little kids—any grade will be challenged by this activity on their own
or as a group.)
2. Send thank you notes.
This is a skill every kid should learn—writing and sending
thank you notes. Have kids write a note to someone who made their school
year special, then seal them in envelopes, address them, and deliver by
hand or mail. And while you’re at it, why not write a thank you note to your own class?
Ask your students to sum up their favorite school-year
memory (Science Fair? Field Day? Creative class presentations?) in one
snapshot. Younger kids can draw pictures of the event, while older kids
are likely to have a photo on their phone they’d be willing to share.
Assemble them on a bulletin board with a few words from each student
about what made that moment so special.
4. Count the days.
Instead of counting down the days until the end, count up
the days from the year behind you! Get students counting by having them
use a calendar to figure out how many Mondays you’ve had this year, how
many Fridays, how many P.E. days and how many Jello-in-the-cafeteria
days. Then work together to make a bar graph and hang it on the wall.
Have your students help tape a piece of lined paper to one
another’s backs. Have each student get out a felt-tipped marker (not a
Sharpie—it may bleed through). Set a timer and put on some favorite
music. Let the students mix around the room and write a positive message
on each student’s paper. For example, The best thing about you is …,
What I appreciate most about you is …, I remember …, etc. After a set
amount of time, have students stop, remove their papers from their backs
and enjoy reading the words of love from their classmates (and you
Little ones especially have a hard time with the end of a
school year. Next year lots of things will be different, and that can be
a sad and even scary thought for some. Try this list of young reader books like The Egg by M. P. Robertson to spark conversations about what kids have learned and what lies ahead.
9. Plan a summer trip.
Here’s an end-of-year assignment that includes both art and
writing. Have kids draw a portrait of themselves, then use the template
at the link below to cut out and decorate an enormous pair of
sunglasses. On the glasses, write about a summer trip they’re going to
take, or just one they’d really like to take.
10. Raise a glass and toast your class.
Students get a chance to practice public speaking in a very
meaningful way in this end-of-year activity. Get a few liters of ginger
ale and plastic champagne flutes from a party store, arrange your
students in a circle, and have everyone say something—maybe a goal for
the next school year, well-wishes for their peers, a favorite memory.
After everyone has spoken, lift your glasses with a cheer and celebrate
to end the school year.
11. Author a six-word memoir.
This project has taken the world by storm. In six words, can
you capture the essence of your school year? Kids can spend a little or
a lot of time on this one, refining their words and even illustrating
them. Collect them all into a slide show (anonymous, if kids prefer) to
share on the last day.
12. Take a field trip to the next grade.
Take your class to visit the classrooms they’ll be in next
year. Arrange to spend some time with the teachers, talk to the
students, and hear more about what they’ll be learning. This is a good
way to allay fears many kids have about moving on from a classroom where
they’ve been comfortable.
13. Design a school seal.
In this fun end-of-year activity that’s perfect for social
studies, have your students design a “Great Seal” for their school.
First, break them into groups to talk about what makes your school
special and memorable for them. Then, have each kid (or group) create
their own “seal” based on the ones used by states and cities. This
project is especially meaningful for kids about to move on to another
school like junior high.
14. Determine your “People of the Year.”
Time Magazine can’t have all the fun! Help your students to
compile of list of the “People of the Year” for your class. Include
people important to your classroom (the custodian, the principal,
everyone’s favorite “lunch lady”) along with classroom visitors and
speakers from the year. Add in some people from current events and pop
culture (the current president, a favorite musician) and even folks they
studied throughout the year (Abraham Lincoln, Amelia Earheart). Try to
take or draw portraits of each, and assign each student to write a brief
bio of one of the people included.
15. Write letters or tips for next year’s class.
Who better to advise next year’s class on what they’ll need
to succeed than the kids who’ve just finished doing it? They can write
letters on their own, or work together to create a master list of what
it takes to make it in the next grade.
Ask your students to create a wall-worthy piece of art that
reflects something they learned in science. Did you study plants? Maybe a
watercolor of flowers. Or if you studied space? A cosmic-inspired
number. Send their work home to help them remember, or collect them to
create a bulletin board that will inspire next year’s class about what
they’ll be learning.
17. Host an open-mic night.
Encourage kids to share the writing they’ve done in (and out
of) class with an open mic night. Set up a stage complete with
microphone and stool—get great tips for this at the link below—then
bring kids up to tell a story or recite a poem. Overcome stage fright
with a cool casual vibe and plenty of snacks.
18. Compose an end-of-year continuing story.
Write several story titles—”The Great Summer Adventure,”
“How My Teacher Lost Her Mind” or “My Teacher, My Hero” at the top of
blank pages. Then, have each student start a story and after five
minutes, pass the story to a neighbor who will continue writing.
Continue writing round-robin style until you have several stories to
read aloud to the class.
19. Publish a year-end newspaper.
You can do this one as a group or individually. Create a
basic newspaper template and have the class fill in the “front page
news.” Recap the year, offer advice, illustrate favorite memories, and
more. Then, pass these on to the grade below to give them idea of what
20. Perform a High (or Middle or Elementary) School Musical number.
Break your students into groups and have them create (and
perform) musical numbers commemorating the year. They can write new
words to existing tunes, choreograph a lip-sync performance to an
inspiring or memorable song, or even come up with something entirely
new. Invite parents or other classes to a final-day performance!
21. Assemble a Book Hall-of-Fame.
Have each student write (or draw) a reflection on the best
book they read over the year. Then, save their reflections and post them
on a bulletin board so that next year’s students can glean reading
Have each student write out one memorable moment from the
school year on a slip of paper. Collect all the slips in a bag, hat,
etc. Divide kids into teams and have them come up one team at a time,
choose a slip and act out the memory for the group. No need to keep
score—the goal is just to relive all the happy memories from the year.
23. Start a school graffiti wall.
Choose a wall in your school or classroom and encourage kids
to sign their name and date with a quote or other memory. Use permanent
markers or small paint brushes. Each year, photograph the wall and then
paint over it to start anew. If you have enough space, these walls can
last longer and only be painted over every so many years, creating much
more enduring memories. No wall room? Try a bulletin board or large
sheet of paper instead.
24. Hold a “Stuff You Should Know” event.
Take a day or a week to pass on important things you want
your kids to know as they move on in life without you. Share poems,
songs, TED talks, quotes, books, and tips that you think will help them
along their way. Don’t forget to include simple life lessons
(registering and preparing to vote, protecting yourself online, how to
behave on an elevator) that school usually doesn’t teach you. Learn more about this end-of-year activity here.
25. Print up a growing tree.
Capture each student’s fingerprint as a tree leaf! Label
them with their names, then hang them in your room from year to year so
kids can see who’s come before them.
Throughout the year, have students save their best work in a
folder or box. Then, at the end of the year, each student chooses their
favorite items to display in a portfolio like a binder or display
board. Invite parents and friends to come view everyone’s achievements.
27. Put together time capsules.
Students will have so much fun assembling time capsules to
be opened some day in the future. These can be as simple as a plastic
water bottle filled with information (try these free printable prompts) or a shoebox stuffed with items to represent what they did and learned over the school year.
Classroom walls can start to look empty at the end of the
year as you take things down to prepare for summer. Temporarily fill in
the space with a long strip of butcher paper, then have kids create a
timeline of the year. Break it down by month, then ask kids what they
remember. Prompt their memories by having them look over their work
(what a fun way to review!) and don’t forget to include events,
speakers, and holiday celebrations.
Kids are already dreaming of how they’ll fill the summer
hours, so this last-minute math activity will be pure fun! Give kids a
budget (say, $2500) and then send them off to research whether their
dream trip can be accomplished. Make sure they include airfare or gas
money, lodgings, food, spending money, and all the incidentals that add
up when you travel.
30. Fill out an end-of-year roundup.
Sometimes you just need a quick activity that doesn’t take a
lot of prep, and that’s where this free printable comes in. Personalize
it by taking and printing a photo of each student, or have them draw
their own portrait in the space provided.