For many teachers, the last day of school can be worse than the
first. All of the worksheets are done, grading is finished, and
the students are anxious to start their summer vacations. Any
hope of getting in a last-minute lesson is dashed when you see
your students' anxious glances at the clock. However, there are
still some things that you can do to fill the time until that
final bell rings.
1. Write letters: You can ask your students to each write
a note to students who will be incoming in the fall. Have them
talk about their favorite class activities, share jokes, or give
new students important information for surviving the school year.
You may gain some insights on your teaching style, and you can
always use the letters as icebreakers the next school year.
2. Make some memories: Make some memories by creating
class memory books that are easy. You can create simple printable
worksheets for students to complete and staple together as a book.
Have them write down favorite memories, draw pictures of the classroom,
and sign autographs for each other. If you have time, you could
even include a class picture on the cover.
3. Take out the trash: Quite literally! You can use the
boundless energy that the students have to take down posters,
scrub desks, shred old homeschool worksheets, or pack up books.
To avoid the groans, consider making it a game or a race - divide
the class into teams and see which team can complete its tasks
first to win a prize.
4. Ad lib for laughs: Develop a list of silly topics,
one for each child, and put them in a jar. Have each student pull
a topic and give them a minute or two before calling them up.
Encourage the students to get creative with fun topics like "what
would you do if you were the president" or "convince us to buy
5. Get outside: After all, your kids would rather be outdoors.
Try some fun outdoor games that require teamwork, like relay races
or water balloon tosses. It will allow your students to burn up
some energy without tearing your classroom to pieces.
6. Play learning games: If your classroom is stocked with
a variety of educational games, now is a good time to pull them
out for entertainment. Organize game centers around the classroom
and allow students to pick which ones they would like. Set a timer
and have groups rotate from one activity to another periodically.
7. Focus on the future: Elementary school students in
particular will enjoy imagining what the next grade will be like.
Have them write an essay or draw a picture to share with the class.
Or you can have students share their plans for the upcoming summer
8. Spelling Bee: Pull out all your spelling teacher worksheets
from the entire year, and hold a class spelling bee. It will be
an enjoyable way to spend time and refresh students' memories.
Older children may enjoy a Jeopardy-style game involving facts
that they learned throughout the year.
9. Say something nice: Pin or tape a thick sheet of paper
to every child's back. Have students go around the classroom and
write something nice on the back of their peers. If this is too
rambunctious for your classroom, have your students make autograph
books that can be passed from row to row and filled out by their
10. Say thank you: Teach your kids to show their appreciation.
Have them write thank you cards for their favorite school staff.
This can be parent volunteers, the principal, even the janitor
or the food service workers.