Fun End of Year Activities for Middle School
Teachers, students and parents experience beginnings and endings together every year at school. It’s totally ok for everyone to feel mixed emotions after deep connections have been made and another year of learning comes to an end.
Reflecting creatively on the year as it draws to a close is important for students. In doing so, they can begin to feel a sense of closure and some excitement for the new school year head.
Quotes about endings
There are some lovely age-appropriate quotes to share with kids. Help them to make sense of how endings and new beginnings actually join up!
Here are some we found:
“Amidst the Worldly comings and goings, observe how endings become beginnings”
Laozi (Lao Tzu)
“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened”
“How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard”
“Take pride in how far you’ve come. Have faith in how far you can go. But don’t forget to enjoy the journey”
“Every ending is a beginning”
Why is it important for kids to celebrate the end of the year?
- Fun activities create a sense of excitement around ending and help to set sights on new beginnings
- This could be a helpful time to explore how to develop a Growth Mindset for moving up a year. Display these FREE posters and explore the questionnaire included!
- Students can celebrate their accomplishments as a community
- This can help to boost self-confidence and feelings of pride
- Students get to reflect on both the positive and more challenging aspects of the year
- They can celebrate and acknowledge how much they have achieved, bringing a natural sense of closure to the year
- It’s important to remember that some kids may not be looking forward to the summer – it’s a big change of routine
- Get students talking about setting some achievable summer goals outside of school. For example: a book I really want to read, a new skill I would like to learn and arranging to see friends regularly
How can teachers make endings fun and creative?
Bring some creativity into end of year learning. This Mondrian-inspired T-shirt activity combines art and math where students can learn about 2d shapes, line and color in a fun way.
- Switch from writing to more hands-on and creative tasks during the final week
- Take lessons outside
- Have some music playing in the background
- Have a movie day in pyjamas or a onesie – this was my kids’ fave when they were younger!
- Play games, go on scavenger hunts
- Introduce fun awards, where all students can be acknowledged
- Include physical movement to let off some steam
- ‘Go to the beach’ – ask students to bring in a beach towel and sunglasses
- List what you enjoyed from A-Z. You can draw a picture next to each one too – do this in small groups
- Set up a photo booth and create some fun memories
- Create a summer bucket list – encourage students to include ‘helping others’ and ‘learning something new’
- Ask students to leave a welcome note with some handy tips on their desks for the new student who will take their place as they move up
- Students can help tidy and organize their classroom for the new students to enjoy!
- Make an end-of-year playlist! Each student can add their favorite song
- Create memory books
- Write a letter to their future self encapsulation hopes and dreams and words of encouragement
- Create a visualization board for next year including their goals, what’s important to them, and what they are grateful for.
Collaborative art activities which allow for all students to take part can be a fun way to end the year inclusively. This Pop Art donut activity is a fun group project and makes a very colorful display. You could even bring in some donuts so the students can have a treat whilst coloring!
Some handy teacher self-care tips
- Identify burnout triggers
- Find a colleague to share difficulties with
- Try some journalling
- Find opportunities to laugh
- Exercise, maintain a regular sleep schedule, go to bed and wake up at the same time each day
- Play music that makes you feel happy
- Meditate, do yoga, and take slow, deep breaths!
- Find ways to distract your mind from worrying
- Drink 6-8 glasses of water each day to help keep you hydrated
- Try some caffeine-free alternatives, especially in the evenings
- Eat well – swap out sugary treats to low-sugar fruits like apples or berries
- Stay away from screens in the evening
- Find different ways to unwind before bedtime, such as reading a book, writing, or meditating
- Plan something non-work related for yourself each week
End of the school year around the world – fun facts
- Schools in Chile begin their summer holidays in December and end in early March!
- The Japanese school year starts in April and ends in March! it is believed that springtime is the best time to start something new.
- Children in Holland start school on their 4th birthday, which means for the first year of school, children are constantly joining the class due to varying birth dates.
End of the school year in ‘the olden days’ – fun facts
- It was only in the late 1980s that children started to learn how to use a computer. Prior to that, learning was done from books.
- Prior to Smart Boards, schools used whiteboards (which used ink pens that could be wiped clean
- Prior to that chalkboards were used, also known as blackboards. Teachers wrote with chalk which created a lot of dust on the floor!
- Did you know that they used to use grease-proof paper as toilet roll, it was hard, rough and it sometimes doubled up as tracing paper.
- The classroom used to have a pull-down world map, which was a bit like a roller blind.
- We used to stain paper with tea to give it a vintage old look.
- In place of a smart board, the teacher used to wheel in a big TV – which looked like a big box – and a VHS player on a table on wheels to show a film or documentary to the students. This would be shared between most if not all of the classrooms!