End the School Year on a Positive Note

Well, to say that 2020-2021 has been a crazy few years, would be an understatement.  Many, if not most of us, had schools close suddenly and we had to quickly transition to online teaching with little experience or preparation! We left our classrooms in a mess (at least I did) and we did not get a chance to close out the year with our students the way we normally would do.  I miss my students... the hubbub of the classroom, the jokes, the laughs, and the myriad of frustrations that come with teaching teens!

Despite the crazy and overwhelmingly stressful end to our traditional classroom teaching, I am determined to find the good in what we did accomplish, what we learned, how we grew, and how we developed as a class over the year.  I want my students to be able to look back and not just remember the pandemic, but all the things they should be proud of about their school year.

1.  Send a Thank-You Note
Every year I ask my students to send a thank-you note to someone who has had a positive impact on their school year.  It can be a teacher, coach, parent/guardian, support teacher, friend, or any other positive influence they can think of.  They are often hesitant to do it, but once they get started they really enjoy it.  I make the promise that I will not read them... this is an ungraded activity. However, I do promise to help deliver them.  Students sometimes mail their letters (I provide stamps/envelopes) or ask me to hand-deliver them to people in my school.  But this year, I will help students find an email address if they need them or find a way to forward them to appropriate people.  This brainstorming template and notepaper are part of my End of The Year Resource for Teens and Tweens - it's available in both a DIGITAL and PAPER format.

2. Create a Top 10 List
Have your students create a Top 10 list of important moments in your class.  Students could submit ideas and you could compile them.  Use an online survey tool like SurveyMonkey to have your students vote on what they think the Top 10 or Top 5 Moments of the Year were.

3.  Send Your Students a Positive Note
Depending on the number of students you have, you could send out notes of encouragement as they head off into the summer.  I'm particularly sad to not be able to have time with my seniors - to find out what their plans are, to see them graduate, and to get caught up in the excitement of their next steps.  There are lots of positive notes of encouragement available online for grads and students - you can easily share with students (and if you have time and the energy) add a personal note to each one.

4. Celebrate Student Success
Use these FREE Student Reflection Pages to celebrate things that they are proud of accomplishing this year!  I think it important to recognize all the amazing things that happened before the pandemic. I have included 2 pages - one with questions already added and a blank page for you to add your own.

5. Wrap Up the Year With A Fun Activity
It is always a challenge to motivate students at the end of the year... and this year I am finding it especially difficult as students are working from home.  There are 18 activities to pick from in my End of Year Resource for Teens and Tweens - pick the activities that will work for you.  This resource is available in either PRINT or DIGITAL and includes a variety of activities that will allow students to practice their ELA skills and still have fun! Activities include Soundtrack of the Year, Write a Letter to Next Year's Students, My Year in Books, Me in a Nutshell, and more!

Check out more End of Year Resources from the wonderful ladies of the 
Secondary English Coffee Shop!

The Classroom Sparrow: End of Year Writing - Summer Job Preparation Activities
The Daring English Teacher: SMARTePlans - End of Year Class Survey 
Tracee Orman: End of the Year Memory Flip Book for Distance Learning
Presto Plans: End of the Year Activity Bundle

Best of luck with the end of the school year!
Addie Williams

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