10 Ways to Celebrate Students Online

10 ways to celebrate students online

With the end of the school year just around the corner, you’re probably looking for ways to connect with your students and show them that you are thinking about them. It’s not a stretch to say that rounding out the school year in this unique time is uncharted territory. These are challenging times, but that doesn’t mean you can’t serve up a little slice of normalcy. In fact, finding a way to come together and end the year on a high note is likely something students need now more than ever before. If you were in your classrooms, you would soon be immersed in end of the year celebrations, award ceremonies, and the general buzz and excitement that typically coincide with having another school year in the books. Unfortunately, that can’t happen this year, so teachers will do what they always do - Get creative. Below are 10 ways that you can celebrate your students digitally and have some fun at the end of the year.

1. Share Awards Digitally or Host a Virtual Awards Ceremony

Sharing awards digitally is not complicated, nor do you need to be tech savvy to make this work. In fact, I wrote a blog post that outlines the exact process for sharing awards digitally with a quick instructional video. You can keep it simple by assigning awards to students yourself, or kick it up a few notches by having students vote for which award they think each student should receive. There is no right or wrong way; do what is right for your students.

I have a MEGA-BUNDLE of all my awards sets if you never want to search for an award again, but I also offer each of the sets individually.  You can see all the awards I offer by clicking the links below:

The method you choose to share the awards depends on how you’ve been approaching things thus far, and what you envision working best for your class. If you have been meeting with students regularly, you may want to host an awards ceremony via Zoom or Google Meet. You can talk about each student before giving them the award and then email them their award when the ceremony is over. If you want to take it a step further and make it especially memorable, you might send out invitations and even get all of the students to dress up for the call and add a fun background to your video. Students could even give an acceptance speech!

2. Share a Fun Challenge or Mystery

Celebrate students by challenging them with a fun, digital end of the year escape room or by having them solve a mystery that they can work together on with their classmates.   You can try this FREE digital inference mystery where students must problem-solve to infer who kidnapped the principal! This is a part of my Digital Inference Bundle 

You could also share this FREE digital figurative language escape challenge with students where they must use their knowledge of figurative language to escape Mr. Booker's secret chamber.  If you are looking for more like this one, I have a bundle of figurative language escape rooms and grammar escape rooms in this similar format.

3. Host a Virtual End of the Year Party 

If you have been meeting regularly with students via Zoom or Google Meet, you might want to consider hosting a virtual end of the year party. You could implement a theme and have students dress up accordingly.  You could play virtual games, recognize student achievement, or simply just chat with your students and have fun. If you do host an end of the year party, don’t forget to take a screenshot photo of your class to share with them later. 

4. Host a Virtual End of the Year Talent Show 

Much like an end of the year party, a virtual talent show is something you might consider hosting if you have been meeting with your students regularly via Zoom or Google Meet. You could have students volunteer and share their talents on screen. People love to share their talents, but sometimes need an invitation, a little extra encouragement, or even the lure of prizes to coax them out of their comfort zone. If you aren’t meeting regularly online, one option might be to have students submit a video of their talent to be posted within the platform you are using to share materials. This method will be less intimidating for some students, as it offers the opportunity to share their talents without the pressure of doing it “live”. Please note it’s important that you make sure to have parent permission for this. 

5. Make Positive Contact With Parents 

One way to celebrate students is to make positive contact with their parents.  If you notice a student is showing growth, excelling in a specific area or working harder, reach out to the parents to let them know! Everyone loves to receive praise, and parents will beam with pride knowing that their child stood out, and the student will appreciate being recognized. 

6. End of the Year Photo Booth 

Have each student in your class submit a photo and create a virtual collage of your class to share with everyone. Consider this a virtual class photo or slideshow.  You might even want to add music and create an end of the year slideshow with everyone’s photo submissions!   Here are a few steps you can use within PowerPoint to make this happen:

1.   Open up a blank PowerPoint 
2.   Drag or insert each of the photos to fit the slide (each picture on their own slide or a few photos per slide)
3.   Resize them to fit.
4.   Add in animations/transitions between slides
5.   Share with students

If you have taken any fun photos throughout the year, you can insert them into your virtual collage or slideshow. This is a great way to take a trip down memory lane with your class and end the year on a high note together.

7. Create a Virtual Memory Box

Have students reflect on the school year and how they have adapted. These are some questions you might have your students consider:

  • How have you grown? 
  • What have you learned?
  • What do you want to remember about this experience? 
  • What have you gained a renewed appreciation for? 
  • What have you rediscovered? 
  • How has your perspective changed? 

Have them share their thoughts in a letter which they will submit to you. Hold onto these letters and email them back to students a year later. 

If you wanted to take this one a step further, with the students’ permission, you could create a digital class book with each of the students’ reflections within it. 

8. Host a Virtual Trivia Contest 

Host a trivia challenge with students. You could ask questions about memories from the year, content from your class, or just general trivia. You can use Quizlet or Kahoot to play this virtually with your students, or simply send the questions to your students and have them submit answers to you. You might even consider sending a prize in the mail to the winning student.  One thing you could try is having each student submit specific memories of the year in advance. Use these submissions to reverse engineer some fun trivia questions. You might be surprised at what they remember! 

9. Create an Class Digital Scrapbook

Have everybody in the class create one PowerPoint or Google slide which includes a picture they want to share, a funny memory, or a reflection on the year.  Compile all those slides into one document and export it to share with the whole class. This will serve as a digital scrapbook for the year that students will love.

10. Bring in a Guest Speaker, Author or Expert for a Virtual Field Trip 

Welcome a guest speaker, expert, or author via Google Meet or Zoom.  If you are stumped trying to find the right person, you may want to turn to your social media.  Start with your personal contacts to see if there is anyone who might be able to share their talent or expertise with your students.  For example, I know a few artists who do Facebook Lives teaching kids to paint. Someone like that might be more than willing to make a guest appearance. You could also reach out to authors, speakers, or experts on Instagram by sending them a direct message to see if they would be interested in speaking to your class.

Looking for other ways to celebrate your students? Check out these resources: 
Awards for ELA Bundle by Secondary Sara

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