The end of the year is an exciting and exhausting time! There is so much to fit in and so many more distractions (like the gorgeous weather outside!) that can make it extra challenging to keep your students engaged in learning! Below, I’m giving you seven fun and easy ways to keep students engaged at the end of the year!
1. Have fun, hands-on activities for students to do!
Kids love activities where they get to play, create, and explore! If you need some fun and easy to use activities to keep your students engaged at the end of the year then you’re going to love these Hands-On Challenge Kits!
They not only work great for indoor recess, centers, morning work, and faster finishers, but they also work great for the end of the year!
You know that last week of school when the schedule is way off and you have some weird down times? Or when your to-do list is a mile long and you’re trying to go through supplies, collect things, and pack up the room but still need students to not be out of control? These hands-on challenge kits are the perfect activity for students to easily pull out and work on! They work on important skills like creativity, problem-solving, and fine motor skills.
You can even try out a FREE Space Kit HERE!
If you have questions about how to put together the kits, I’ve written a blog post all about the best places to get the supplies for the hands-on challenge kits! The nice thing is that once you have the supplies they stay the same all year long! You can also just use the challenge cards and make communal bins with the supplies instead of individual kits to save time!
2. Take a virtual field trip!
Virtual Field Trips are an amazing tool to use to take students on fun learning experiences from the comfort of your classroom!
While they can be used all year long they are perfect for the end of the year! Your students will LOVE going on a virtual field trip so much that they won’t even realize they are learning through it!
There are lots of ways to integrate virtual field trips into your lesson plans:
- Tie them into what you are currently learning. For example, are you doing a how-to writing unit? Then, take a virtual field trip to a crayon factory to see how crayons are made!
- Use them during themed learning days or summer countdowns. Having a beach day? Then, take a trip to the Coral Reef! You can even do a trip a day to lead up to summer break.
- Have field trip Fridays. Take a different virtual field trip every Friday. They’re fun and educational! It’s truly a win-win!
- As a class reward. Have students work as a class to earn a virtual field trip!
My editable Virtual Field Trip resource has everything you need to plan a great virtual learning experience for your kids! It includes a sample trip to the Coral Reef, and also a suggested field trip list so that you can customize any trip for your students’ learning!
3. Countdown to Summer With Themed Days!
I loved having themed learning days, especially during the last two weeks of school! Having themed days will help get you and your students excited to finish the year strong! One of my favorite themed days was beach day!
The students would bring in a beach towel to sit on and be able to wear sunglasses as we did beach related reading, math, writing, and science all day long! It was so much fun! You can even take a virtual field trip to the Coral Reef or use my Ocean Hands-On Challenge Kit for beach themed centers!
You can also have fun activities for kids to look forward to like a show and tell day, bring in a stuffed animal day, or a wear pajamas day. You can grab this FREE Countdown To Summer Editable Note to easily let families know about these fun activities! This note is from the Editable Parent Notes & Letters resource that has editable notes for the entire year to make parent communication a breeze!
GRAB THIS FREE COUNTDOWN TO SUMMER EDITABLE NOTE TO MAKE THE END OF THE YEAR A BREEZE!
4. Get them outside!
“If you can’t beat them, join them!” is how I always felt when the weather was nice outside. When kids start getting the summer itch they just want to be outside playing! So, instead of fighting against that tap into their interests by taking learning outside!
Here are some easy ideas that you can do to take your learning outside:
- Pick up some chalk and do some fun review on the playground!
- Take a nature scavenger hunt!
- Observe the clouds and do some cloud writing!
- Have reading time outside!
Embrace the beautiful weather however and whenever you can at the end of the year!
5. Read an exciting chapter book together!
I think it is so important to read books for fun with our students! Growing a love of reading is just as important as learning how to read! The end of the year is the perfect time to throw in a great chapter book read aloud. My favorite one to read in first grade at the end of the year was always the first book in the Boxcar Children series!
It’s such a great book and students were always so engaged while we read it! Who can’t help but fall in love with the adorable Benny and his cracked cup?! Students would beg to “read just one more chapter!” Plus, it got many of them hooked on a new series for the summer! That’s a win-win in my book!
6. Use a mystery bag!
If you’re looking for an easy way to hook your students in a lesson, then you’re going to love using a mystery bag!
It’s so easy to use and is a very low-prep, but high impact strategy when it comes to student engagement! Plus, who doesn’t look a good mystery!
I’ve written a blog post with 10 easy ways to implement a mystery bag into your lesson plans!
And you can even grab the mystery bag label for FREE!
7. Throw in extra brain breaks!
With more energy to burn our kids definitely need to get up and moving, especially at the end of the year! Don’t be afraid to throw in a brain break mid-lesson if you feel like your kids are dragging or that you are losing their attention.
It’s amazing how powerful movement is for our brain’s to be able to focus better! A quick 1-2 minute brain break can get you a couple of good minutes of focused learning after it!
While there are lots of brain breaks that you can use, like GoNoodle, I also liked having some easy brain breaks to pull out on the fly! These brain break movement cards are so fun and easy to use!
Keep Students Engaged At The End Of The Year
While keeping students engaged at the end of the year can be a challenge there are a lot of fun and easy things you can add into your day to help! Do you have any other ways you like to keep your students engaged in learning that didn’t make the list? Let me know! I’d love to hear!
Save Time With These Engaging Resources!
If you need some ready-to-go, engaging activities then you’re going to love the resources below that I mentioned in this post!
- Click HERE for Hands-On Challenge Kits
- Click HERE for the FREE Space Hands-On Challenge Kit
- Click HERE for Virtual Field Trips
- Click HERE for the Ocean Hands-On Challenge Kits
- Click HERE for the FREE Countdown to Summer Editable Note
- Click HERE for the Editable Parent Notes
- Click HERE for Brain Break Cards
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