End of the Year Ideas for Secondary Students

The end of the year is fast approaching, and although it’s generally an exciting time of the year, it can also be chaotic and stressful as teachers and students try to wrap everything up.   

1. Get Organized
If your school is anything like mine, there is sooo much going on at the end of the year! If you’re teaching seniors, you know how wrapped up they get with Graduation and Prom events  and for everyone else there are award ceremonies, wrap-up events, final exams, library books due and more!  I keep track of major events on my classroom whiteboard and try to help keep my students on track with everything.  An easy way to do this is to give them a calendar of the last 1-2 months of school—that means I give my students a May/June calendar.  I mark ALL of the important dates for them, add some age appropriate clip art and then photocopy on to brightly colored paper.   They are so popular with my students that I often have kids who aren’t in my classroom come and ask me for a copy so I always photocopy extras.  I encourage my students to refer to their calendar often and ask them to add to it as dates and events pop up.  Use these FREE editable calendars with your students during May and June.

2. Collaborative Review
In British Columbia, where I teach, we do not have formal province wide exams or testing anymore,  however, many teachers still provide some sort of final assessment for students based on their year’s work.  My school requires a final exam for all ELA classes and so review exercises are a part of my end of the year wrap-up.  I love to use online games like Kahoot to review literary terms but I also like to ask students to work together to write a final exam.  They work in teams to create a final exam and then switch with another team.  The teams work collaboratively to create the questions and then work collaboratively to answer the final exam given to them.  My students LOVE to challenge each other and love to work together!  You can set the criteria for the test—the topics, the vocabulary and the number of questions.  For another review activity check out a Review Freebie HERE - help students organize their studying by tagging their work with their level of understanding!

3. Teacher Feedback
I like to review and reflect on my own teaching practice at the end of the year so I always ask my students for feedback.  I have done this a variety of different ways over the years and have always appreciated the feedback students have provided.  For a truly anonymous student survey you can use Survey Monkey to ask for feedback—students may feel more free to provide honest feedback if they know you won’t see their handwriting.  The advantage to Survey Monkey is that students can easily access the survey at home or through their phones if you don’t have access to a class set of computers.  If a digital survey does not interest you, here's a FREE END OF YEAR SURVEY you can provide your students to give you feedback on your teaching.  I always have my students type out their answers to encourage more authentic feedback - they always worry I am going to recognize their handwriting.  Looking for more feedback ideas? Check out this freebie from Nouvelle ELA - End of Year Student Survey - Editable.

4. Make a Meme
My students still think memes are hilarious and I have a few displayed around my classroom to inject a little fun!  Why not have your students create their own meme to represent their school year?  Use Memegenerator or their own photos to create a meme to represent their learning or the funny events that happen during the school year.  My kids love to tease me for a few funny things I routinely say or do and they love to make a meme about me!  What do you say that your students find funny? or annoying?  What do you find yourself saying over and over again?  I'm guilty of saying "get 'er done" in a silly voice... 

5. Musical Memories
Music plays a big role in my classroom—I often have it on when students are working quietly, we look at song lyrics during poetry and I try to find ways to incorporate it into our learning whenever I can.  A fun activity to wrap up the year is to ask students to come up with the songs that best represent their year in your class.  I have done this a few different  ways—as a group activity where we collaboratively  decide on the sound track of the year or as an individual activity.    Either way, my students really enjoy talking about the music that represents their year.  This activity is included in my End of the Year Activity Pack for Teens & Tweens if you would like activity sheets to help students plan our their songs as well as many other end of the year activities! 

My song of this school year is "Scars to Your Beautiful" by Alessia Cara - my students and I watched the video and had an amazing and powerful discussion.  I was so proud of them for their ideas and the writing that came from it.  It's an incredible song to use as a launching point for writing and discussion. Whenever I hear this song I am immediately transported back to my favorite class activity of the year.   

What's on your playlist?

For more End of Year activities be sure to check out the following resources from the other members of the Secondary English Coffee Shop!

The Daring English Teacher - End of Year Activities for the Secondary Classroom
The Classroom Sparrow - End of Year Writing Activity

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