Engaging End of Year Activities for Middle & High School Students

 As the end of the school year approaches, and the weather warms up, keeping students focused on their school work can be increasingly challenging.  I know for my students, the promise of longer days, sunny skies, and the freedom that comes with summer vacation makes for a difficult few weeks before the end of the year.  Here are three activities to keep students focused during these last few weeks!


Why not have students reflect on their school year through music? Have them create a playlist that         includes songs that cover the following ideas:

            - What song best represents the best moments of the year?
            - What song best represents your most challenging moments of the year?
            - What song best represents this class?
            - What song best represents one of the themes of a novel you read this year?
            - What song best represents how you feel about the summer? Next year? Your future?
            - Any other ideas?

 Have students write a short paragraph explaining their thinking about each song pick.  I have students present this as a PowerPoint / Slideshow at the end of the year, and it has been a huge success!  You can create this project on your own or grab the templates and organizers I have created as part of my End of the Year Activities Bundle, which you can find HERE.


Ask students to create a one-pager that represents their school year.  This is a great way for students        to show their learning and allow them to be creative at the same time!  I ask them to include ideas around the following big ideas.

        - What did you learn? How did you improve in certain aspects of school?
        - What successes did you have at school? With a hobby? A sport? 
        - What were some challenges?
        - What are you looking forward to next school year?
        - What were the most significant news stories of the year in your school? Community? World? 
        - Other ideas? 


Looking for a print-and-go bundle of activities for the end of the year?! I've got you covered with this set of resources that you get started with tomorrow!  It includes 18 different activities - some are quick, and some are more involved, but you can pick and choose the ones that will work best for you and your students!  Check it out HERE!

Here's a quick FREEBIE you can also enjoy!  It's one of the activities included in my End of the Year Activities Bundle!  Check it out HERE!

Check out more resources from my ELA colleagues!

The Classroom Sparrow - End of the Year Escape Room

3 Lessons on Making Inferences - Teaching Inferencing in Middle and High School

3 Activities for Teaching Inferences

What are inferences?

Inferences are conclusions or interpretations that are made based on various pieces of evidence or observations. They are usually logical, evidence-based deductions that are drawn to help understand something that is not explicitly stated. 

If you’re teaching students to understand author’s purpose, making inferences is an important skill. Authors do not always explicitly state characters’ intentions, yet understanding these can be key to understanding literary texts. 

In the nonfiction world, making inferences is often a reader’s path to sussing out credible sources, sound reasoning, and biases.

Inferences are an essential component of critical thinking and reasoning skills, and they play a critical role in reading comprehension, problem-solving, and decision-making. 

Why teach inferencing?

Inferencing is one of the essential skills required for high-level reading comprehension and critical thinking. When we teach inference, we help students move from a surface-level understanding of a text and hone their ability to find implicit meanings and nuance.

Since we want our students to be good problem solvers and make good decisions, inferencing is a key critical thinking skill. Additionally, this skill can help students identify facts and opinions as well as synthesize different sources of information.

How to teach inferences in middle school

One of the best ways to teach inferences in middle school is by having students put on their detective hats! At this point, we want students to do sustained reading and critical thinking, so longer simulations are the perfect opportunities to help students learn inferencing.

Check out this Lamb to the Slaughter Pre-Reading Simulation as an example.

Before reading the story, present students with the events in four chunks. In this scenario, students play the young detective coming to the Maloney house. After each text, students create a list of inferences based on evidence and questions they still need to answer. Then, they’ll read the actual short story to figure out whether their inferences about Mrs. Maloney are correct.

Making inferences worksheet

If you need to review making inferences with students or you need inferences practice to leave as a sub plan, this making inferences worksheet is for you.

In each text, students encounter a familiar scenario made unfamiliar with wordplay. 

They’ll use the evidence they have to make an inference as to the event being described. This is excellent practice citing textual evidence. Also, students finish by writing their own “puzzle paragraphs” to share with classmates.

How to teach inferences in high school

Teaching inferences in high school needs to be both more sophisticated and more foundational. So often, students come to us without this skill, and it impacts their reading and thinking.

That’s why I put together my digital adventure series, Terminus. Terminus is a post-apocalyptic adventure and blends the storyline of a novel with the puzzles and engagement of an escape room. In each chapter, students find clues, read found texts, and make inferences to solve puzzles. They use the information they find to save the day!

Terminus helps students build skills they may have missed in lower grades while also challenging your more advanced students. Everyone wins.

Use the coupon code innovate to get 50% off of game 1.

Final thoughts

These making inferences activities help a wide range of students become more critical thinkers. What are your favorite ways to teach inferencing? We’d love to hear from you!

Espresso Shot: Freebies for Teacher Appreciation Week


Freebies for teachers

For Teacher Appreciation this year we want to share some of our favorite FREE resources with you. We hope you know just how much we value and appreciate each and every one of you. What you do MATTERS. Thank you!

Tracee Orman

Free One Pager Use with any book

This FREE One-Page Fact Sheet can be used with ANY book, short story, play and/or some poems. It is a versatile handout and is differentiated for several grade levels. The prompts allow students to analyze the characters, main events, setting, point of view and perspective, narration, plot, and character motivations. It also includes a prompt for students to create their own ONE PAGER, additionally exploring symbolism and theme. 

Presto Plans

Commas in a Series Free Grammar Challenge from Presto Plans: Have students use their knowledge of using commas in a series to escape the Mayan temple! This free commas grammar challenge is a new and fun way to engage your students in grammar instruction and assessment. The resource includes everything you need to teach, assess, and practice commas in a list with your students. Start by assigning the quiz to check your students’ understanding of the topic before you begin. After teaching the grammar concept with the included slideshow, read the back story to set up the challenge and put students into groups to work together to complete the challenge!

Addie Williams

Why not use a view from a window as inspiration for a poem? Grab this freebie and lead students through a fun poetry activity using their bedroom window, classroom window, or any other window as the subject of their poem. Includes both print & digital versions.

Room 213

Jackie from ROOM 213 loves to get students engaged in active learning with exercises that put the responsibility for thinking in their hands. This resource is one she often used with her students when they were trying to analyze the important elements of a novel or play. It’s a free activity you can download and use your students as you can apply it to any text. You’ll get a lesson plan and a handout for students.

The Daring English Teacher

Christina likes to help students become stronger, confident writers by providing them with this free essay writing checklist that helps them look over their essays and build confidence. She uses this checklist once students have completed their first drafts.

Nouvelle ELA

Danielle's students rate this introduction to symbolism and allegory as one of the most memorable lessons of the year. Why? Because it starts with candy, of course! With that attention grabber as a reference point, this lesson helps students understand the intellectual jump from the concrete attributes of a symbol to the abstract ones. This free lesson includes a digital and paper vesion.

We hope you enjoy these free resources and have a wonderful rest of the school year!

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