Favorite End of the Year Activities

EndOfYearActivitiesSTICKERThe end of the year can be such a fun time… testing is over and summer is near! Thank heavens! But how to keep your students learning when they’d rather be at the beach? Here are some of my favorite ideas:

Review games. Fun distracts kids from the fact that they’re reviewing! I’ve tried this in a tournament style, where teams compete in a variety of games for a big prize. Try these fun review games!

Field day activities outside. Many teachers don’t have time for lots of physical fitness activities, so use the end of the year to help kids enjoy the outdoors while working on team building and leadership skills. Here’s my post on 21 Dr. Seuss themed ideas and this post about a fun water game I learned.

End of the year awards. Your class can vote anonymously on the awards or you can assign them. Check out my collection of 44 printable awards or my blank star awards.

Book Reports. Each student in my class had the opportunity to share their favorite book from the year. I let kids make come kind of visual project or display, which they seemed to enjoy making and showing their classmates. This is one report template you can give your students if you’re looking for a springboard.

Yearbooks and Year-In-Review projects. I absolutely loved this one. It might be my all time favorite. You can assign each student to write one article, or have each student write each one for themselves. Ask parents to bring in or submit pictures from throughout the year. Students can draw pictures or create artwork to go with the writing. This is also a great review of the parts of a paragraph and the writing process. Here are my two printables for this idea: 10 page printable yearbook or  1 page end of the year round up.

Awesome art projects. All those art projects you’ve been dying to do with your class but you don’t have time? Do them! Here’s a cool mask idea for upper grades.

Click here to view more end of the year ideas I’ve written about!

Awesome Test Prep Ideas

test prep ideasIt’s official. Test review season is upon us! Here are some ideas to help make your standardized testing prep a little less painful and more effective:

  • Play TONS of review games. Change up the teams frequently for the best results. Click here for a list of BOMBtastic review games!
  • Come up with a theme and a mascot to cheer you on. Use the theme in review games, certificates of achievements, rewards, etc.
  • Laminate station rotation tracking charts and have kids use overhead markers to track their progress through the stations.
  • Use your old benchmark tests as review questions for your review games.
  • Start a review system early on in the year, so your kids will not have to go as long between learning new content and the standardized test.
  • “Test prep does not always have to take place at a desk with a number 2 pencil in hand.  Instead, try having students answer questions in one of the following ways:
  • Label each wall in your classroom either A, B, C, or D. When reviewing answers, have students move to the wall labeled with the multiple-choice answer they chose.
  • Give students different colored pieces of paper or Popsicle sticks.  Each color can correlate to a multiple-choice answer (red is A, blue is B, etc.).  Have students hold up the color based on which answer they chose.
  • Turn your classroom into a museum by creating a gallery walk. Hang test prep questions around the classroom, students can move silently, in partners, or to music to the different “exhibits” around the room. They can then answer the questions on a worksheet or in a notebook that they carry around the room with them.” (Bottom four bullet points from Ashley, Teach For America)

Need more ideas? Check out my golfing review game or no prep Jeopardy.

Antonyms Game for Kids

antonyms battle STICKER

For some reason, the word “antonyms” or way harder for kids to remember than “opposites.” So to teach them, I’ve made a practice game for 2 students to play. It’s like Connect Four, but kids have to supply an antonym to claim the square. Click here for the free printable worksheets:
antonyms battle
antonyms battle 2

Number Forms Battle (for Kids)

Number forms battle STICKER

One of the standards on the new Common Core is that students will be able to write numbers in various forms. One of these forms is to write out a number in word form. For example, the number 164 is “one hundred sixty four.” Here’s a game/activity for two students to do. They must try to get 4 squares in a row by writing the word form of the number printed in the square. Enjoy!

Click here for the free PDF: Number forms battle

I’m Thankful For… (Nouns!)

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!! Print this page off and let your class (or Thanksgiving dinner guests) Brainstorm something (noun) they’re thankful for. Maybe give them a few minutes to see how many they can letters they can write something down for (1 word per line/letter). Then share your answers. (If you’d like to play this game the Scattergories* way, it would be fun too…) Click here for the free printable worksheet: Thankful for Nouns

Thankful for Nouns STICKER

*Scattergories is a creative-thinking category-based party game (Milton Bradley Co.). The objective of the game is to score points by uniquely naming objects within a set of categories (Thanksgiving, in this case), given an initial letter (or one for each letter), within a time limit.

Genius Teaching Tips!

no name tags

Desk name tags drive me nuts. So when I saw this idea (source) and just HAD to share it with you! Use an oil based Sharpie Paint Pen (available at craft and office supply stores) to write on the desk. It stays on just like a permanent marker, but you can see it better. Then at the end of the year when you’re ready to take it off, color over it with a whiteboard marker and it wipes off with a tissue! This same idea of erasing permanent marker with whiteboard markers also works on whiteboards, laminated posters, anchor charts, etc.

I’ve been focusing on multiplication facts with my kids lately, so, when I saw this idea I about fell over. (Yes, I’m always impressed by the creativity and pure genius I see in other educators!)!  Kids shake the egg carton (above), and then multiply whatever numbers the chips land on. This can easily be switched to addition for younger kids. I love this idea and I’m excited to try it! (source)

This next genius idea (source) helps kids practice writing their letters the right size. It really helps younger students see what space should be used for lower case vs. upper case letters. This would be an awesome activity for kindergarten or first grade, even if you only did it once. You can buy pre-highlighted paper or just make your own using a highlighter. Making a bunch of these pages yourself is totally doable, but I recommend putting on a movie while you do it! 😉

Sit Down! (Skip Counting Group Game)

Sit down sicker

“Sit Down!” is another all purpose game.  Kids stand in a big circle.  One student is “it” in the middle with a pointer (or just his finger).  “It” gets to decide what number we start counting on to count by 10s.  He might pick 7.  So “It” starts pointing at one child at a time as the whole class counts by tens starting at 7.  So we count 7, 17 27, 37, 47, 57, 67, 77, 87, 97 and if you are the student pointed to when it is over 100, you “SIT DOWN”.  The whole class says “SIT DOWN” and then the game continues, starting with 7, 17 and so on until you again reach 100 and SIT DOWN.  When a student sits down, they just sit in their place in the circle and they continue to help the class count.  You do this until the whole class is sitting with just one per son standing.  Then the last one down is “It” and you start again.  “It” picks a new number to start with and you keep going.  This game could be down with numerous concepts (like saying the alphabet, state names, etc.), or skip counting by any number (not just 10). Kids especially like it if teacher plays and has to sit down too.

Fly Swatter Game (Sight Words/Spelling Words)

Fly Swatter game sticker

This is one of my favorite games.  This works for reading, math or anything you can write on a card with an answer (great for spelling words, sight words, letter sounds, math facts, states/capitals, etc).

The pictures are of our spelling words for the week.  Kids get in groups of three or four.  One student does not have a fly swatter, while the others each have one.  The student without a fly swatter is the reader.  Spread the words (or math fact cards, or whatever) on the ground.  The reader  reads any word.  The other kids try to be the first to swat the word.  Whoever swats the word first keeps the word.  After the words are gone, the fly swatters get passed to the left.  If you don’t have the fly swatter, you become the reader.  Be sure to set up rules before the game that if someone intentionally swats another student with the fly swatter they sit out a round, or whatever your class rule would be.  For a whole class experience put the words on the board and give each team one fly swatter. Kids love this game!

My friend over at Cultivating Questioners had this to say about the fly swatter game: “I divide my whiteboard into two sections and write words or numbers on the board randomly. I then divide the students into two teams. I have one person from each team step forward with the fly swatter in hand. I then call out a problem or word and the students run to the front of the room and slap the correct answer in their team’s section. They love it!”