End of year art and writing activities for kids End of year art and writing activities for kids

Fun End of Year Activities for Middle School

Hi there 🙂

Congratulations…you’ve nearly reached the end of another school year! Let’s celebrate the achievements of our upper elementary and middle school students with some fun end-of-year activities.(My activities are suitable for Upper Elementary and Middle Schoolers)

Teachers, students, and parents experience beginnings and endings together every year at school. It’s ok for everyone to feel mixed emotions after making deep connections and another year of learning ends.

Reflecting creatively on the year as it draws to a close is not just a fun activity but also an important one for students. In doing so, they can feel a sense of closure and excitement for the new school year ahead.

Read on, where I’ll explore these questions;

  • Why is it important for kids to celebrate the end of the year?
  • How can teachers make endings fun and creative?
  • How can tired teachers practice self-care?
  • How do kids around the world end their year?
  • What was school like ‘in the olden days’?
  • What are some inspiring quotes about endings?

Don’t miss out on this creative free End of the Year resource. This free end-of-the-year questionnaire is not just a tool for reflection but a fun way for your students to set new goals. It’s designed to be easy to use – just print and go. Whether in the classroom or as a reflective homework activity, it’s perfect for the last week of school.

end of year reflection questions for kids
end of year student questionnaire

What are educators saying about this activity?

My students absolutely loved this end-of-year activity! It kept their interest, even when we were fighting to keep them dialed in in those last few days/moments before the school year ends.
– Dannielle G.

I loved the questions for the end of the year! My students had some great answers and I am adding this to their letters that they will get back at the end of their eighth grade year!
– Ashley O.

Celebrating the end of the school year is essential for kids for several reasons:

  1. Acknowledgment of Hard Work: End-of-year celebrations serve as a platform to acknowledge and celebrate students’ hard work and achievements throughout the year, instilling a sense of pride and accomplishment in educators and parents and boosting students’ self-esteem and motivation.
  2. Closure and Reflection: End-of-year celebrations allow students to reflect on their growth and achievements, offering a sense of closure and helping them prepare for the next academic chapter.
  3. Building Community: End-of-year celebrations are not just about individual achievements but about fostering a sense of community and togetherness among students, teachers, and parents. They strengthen the bonds within the school and create lasting memories. 
  4. Recognition and Rewards: Recognizing students for their academic, athletic, or extracurricular successes through awards and ceremonies can inspire continued effort and boost self esteem.
  5. Encouraging Positive Emotions: Celebrations create a joyful and positive atmosphere, helping to relieve stress and promote mental well-being. They also mark a transition from structured learning to the freedom of summer break.
  6. Developing Traditions: Participating in end-of-year traditions helps students connect to their school’s culture and history, fostering a sense of belonging and pride.
  7. Promoting Resilience: Celebrating successes, big and small, teaches kids the value of perseverance and resilience. It shows them that their efforts are valued and that overcoming challenges is rewarding.
  8. Fun and Relaxation: Kids need to have fun and relax after a year of hard work. Celebrations provide a break from the routine and allow students to enjoy themselves in a different, more playful setting.
  9. Parental involvement is a key aspect of end-of-year events. These celebrations offer parents a unique opportunity to engage with the school community, support their children’s education, and create lasting memories together.
  10. Setting Goals for the Future: End-of-year celebrations are not just about looking back; they are about setting new goals and looking forward to the future. They help students end the year on a positive note and encourage a forward-thinking mindset, instilling a sense of hope and optimism in educators and parents about the future of their students. Ultimately, end-of-year celebrations play a crucial role in the educational journey, providing academic recognition and emotional, social, and psychological benefits. These celebrations contribute significantly to a well-rounded development, fostering students’ sense of belonging, pride, and joy.

Here are some ideas on how to bring some creativity into end-of-year learning. 

  1. Switch from writing to more hands-on and creative tasks during the final week.
  2. Take lessons outside
  3. Have some music playing in the background
  4. Have a movie day in pajamas or a onesie—this was my kids’ favorite when they were younger!
  5. Play games and go on scavenger hunts.
  6. Introduce fun awards where teachers can celebrate all students. 
  7. Include physical movement to let off some steam.
  8. ‘Go to the beach’ – ask students to bring a colorful towel and sunglasses.
  9. List what you enjoyed from A-Z. You can also draw a picture next to each one in small groups.
  10. Set up a photo booth and create some fun memories.
  11. Create a summer bucket list. Encourage students to include ‘helping others’ and ‘learning something new.’
  12. Ask students to leave a welcome note with handy tips on their desks for the new students who will take their place as they move up.
  13. Students can help tidy and organize their classroom so the new students can enjoy it!
  14. Make an end-of-year playlist! Each student can add their favorite song.
  15. Create memory books
  16. Write a letter to their future self, encapsulating hopes, dreams, and words of encouragement.
  17. Create a visualization board for next year that includes their goals, what’s important to them, and what they are grateful for.

Here are some creative activities from The Imagination Box – fun for group work and celebrating the end of year:

This Pop Art donut activity is a fun group project and makes a very colorful display. You could even bring donuts into class as a special treat while students enjoy coloring 😋 🍩

donut coloring pages for kids

This was a cute end of the year class activity! We had a donut party and we used puffy paint and sprinkles.
– Mariah M

This Mondrian-inspired T-shirt activity combines art and math. Students can explore 2D shapes and learn about Piet Mondrian at the same time! Kids love to design their own T-shirts. You can cut them out and peg them on a ‘clothes line’.

Mondrian t-shirt template explores color and shape

This project was so much fun. I teach Elementary Art and we have been learning all about famous artists. They love learning about a new artist every few weeks. I used this to compliment my lessons about Piet Mondrian. There is nothing better than hearing your Kindergarten classes telling their teacher about Piet Mondrian and his artwork. This really complimented that lesson.
– Elizabeth H

Cell phone question cards 📱

These task cards have been designed using a modern cell phone-themed template to appeal to this age group and give the activity a sense of fun and curiosity – kids love their phones!

cell phone template task cards for kids

Super engaging for older students as a social skills activity.
– Robin O

Build a happy and positive end of year environment in your classroom with these easy-to-understand, encouraging visual reminders.

Free growth mindset posters for classroom

I love this so much. It is so bright and colorful. I love the I can do 3 things worksheet template. Thank you for this amazing product.
– Nicole M

Self-care is so important, particularly for those feeling understandably tired at the end of the school year:

  1. Make rest a priority: After a year of dedicating yourself to your students, it’s essential to recharge. Establish a soothing bedtime routine with activities like reading, bathing, or meditating. Allow yourself to nap and sleep in when possible. Rest is not a luxury—it’s a vital component of your well-being, enhancing your energy and productivity.
  2. Engage in physical activity: Exercise is a powerful tool for boosting mood and energy levels. Find an activity that brings you joy: yoga, dancing, hiking, or simply walking in nature. Physical movement helps to release stress and refresh your mind, equipping you with the stamina to complete the year on a high note.
  3. Connect with loved ones: Spending quality time with family and friends can be incredibly refreshing. Plan a fun outing, a cozy dinner, or a virtual hangout if needed. Sharing laughs, stories, and support with those who care about you can uplift your spirits and remind you that you’re not alone.
  4. Practice mindfulness and meditation: Taking a few moments each day to practice mindfulness can help you stay grounded and present. Try simple breathing exercises, guided meditations, or even mindfulness apps. These practices can help clear your mind, reduce anxiety, and bring a sense of calm amid the end-of-year chaos.
  5. Celebrate your achievements: Reflect on your positive impact on your students’ lives. Celebrate the small and big victories, from the lightbulb moments in the classroom to the relationships you’ve built. Consider creating a gratitude journal to document these achievements and remind yourself of the difference you’ve made.
  6. Set boundaries: It’s essential to set clear boundaries to protect your time and energy. Learn to say no to additional responsibilities you can’t manage and delegate tasks when possible. Create a work-life balance that allows you to disconnect from work and enjoy personal time without guilt.
  7. Indulge in your hobbies: Reconnect with hobbies and activities that bring you joy outside of teaching. Whether painting, gardening, baking, or playing a musical instrument, engaging in something you love can be an excellent way to de-stress and express yourself creatively.
  8. Seek professional support if needed: If you’re feeling overwhelmed, seek support from a counselor or therapist. Talking to a professional can provide valuable insights and coping strategies, helping you navigate challenging times more efficiently.
  9. Nurture your body with healthy foods: Eating nutritious meals can profoundly impact your energy and mood. Treat yourself to wholesome, delicious foods that nourish your body. Consider trying new recipes or enjoying a meal at your favorite healthy restaurant.
  10. Plan for enjoyable activities over the break: Look forward to the summer break by planning activities that excite and relax you. Whether it’s a mini-vacation, a staycation, or simply dedicating time to unwind at home, having something to look forward to can provide a mental and emotional boost.

Remember, caring for yourself is the best way to ensure you can continue caring for your students. As the school year winds down, give yourself the kindness and care you deserve. You’ve made a remarkable difference, and now it’s time to replenish your well-being.

Spark some fun conversations with your class, exploring how kids all around the world end their year

  1. Japan – Closing Ceremonies: In Japan, the end of the school year is not just a time for reflection but also a moment of pride and accomplishment. The formal closing ceremony, known as ‘shuuryou-shiki,’ is a testament to the students’ hard work and dedication as they reflect on their achievements and prepare for the next academic year. 
  2. Russia—Last Bell: Russian schools have a unique way of celebrating the end of the school year. They hold a ceremony known as “Last Bell” (“Posledniy Zvonok”), where students ring a symbolic bell. This tradition, dating back to the 19th century, marks the end of the school year and the beginning of the summer holidays. Graduating students dress in traditional uniforms and participate in parades, adding to the festive atmosphere. 
  3. United States – Summer Vacation: In the United States, the end of the school year is a time for reflection, excitement, and anticipation. The school year is celebrated with various activities, including field days, class parties, and yearbook signings, as students eagerly look forward to their long summer break. 
  4. Germany – Zeugnis Day: German students receive their report cards on “Zeugnis Day,” marking the end of the school year. It’s a day of mixed emotions as students celebrate their successes and look forward to their summer holidays.
  5. Mexico – Festivities and Parades: In Mexico, the end of the school year is a time of pure joy and celebration. It’s marked by vibrant parades, lively dances, and cultural performances showcasing students’ talents and achievements. The atmosphere is electric with excitement and pride as the community comes together to celebrate the student’s hard work and success. 
  6. Australia – Presentation Day: In Australia, the school year ends in December, and many schools hold a “Presentation Day” where students receive awards and certificates for their academic and extracurricular achievements.
  7. South Korea—Graduation Ceremonies: South Korean schools hold graduation ceremonies at the end of the school year. Students wear traditional uniforms, receive diplomas, and participate in various celebratory activities. This tradition has its roots in Confucianism, which emphasizes respect for elders and the importance of education. Over the years, the ceremonies have evolved to include modern elements, such as speeches and performances, while maintaining their traditional aspects. 
  8. United Kingdom—Sports Day: In the UK, many schools celebrate the end of the school year with a “Sports Day,” during which students compete in various athletic events, promoting teamwork and school spirit.
  9. India – Annual Day: Indian schools often celebrate the end of the academic year with an “Annual Day” event featuring cultural programs, award ceremonies, and performances that highlight students’ accomplishments and talents.

These diverse traditions show how different cultures celebrate the end of the school year, each with its unique customs and festivities.

Invite students to ask their parents or grandparents what school was like for them – and then have a lively classroom discussion about how education has changed over the years!

  1. Chalkboards and Chalk: Imagine classrooms adorned with the simplicity of chalkboards, where students meticulously etched their lessons on slate boards. With their trusty chalk, teachers would leave their notes, and the boards would be wiped clean with erasers, a simple yet effective tool. 
  2. Inkwells and Quill Pens: Before ballpoint pens and pencils, students embarked on their writing journey with quill pens dipped in inkwells. Writing neatly with ink was a skill that held a unique charm. 
  3. One-Room Schoolhouses: Many rural areas had one-room schoolhouses where a single teacher taught students of all ages and grades together. Lessons were often adapted to suit different age groups, creating a sense of community and shared learning.
  4.  Strict Discipline: School discipline was usually strict, with rules enforced through various means, including using the ruler for hand smacks or other forms of corporal punishment.
  5. Recitation and Memorization: Learning by recitation and memorization was a common practice. Students often memorized poems, historical dates, and multiplication tables and recited them before the class.
  6. Textbook Sharing: A testament to community spirit, students often shared textbooks due to their high cost. In some heartwarming instances, books were passed down from older siblings or classmates, fostering a sense of shared learning. 
  7. Penmanship Practice: Good handwriting, known as penmanship, was heavily emphasized. Students spent much time practicing their handwriting to ensure it was neat and legible.
  8. No Lunchrooms: Early schools did not have lunchrooms. Students typically brought their lunches from home in metal lunch pails or baskets, often of simple foods like sandwiches and fruit.
  9. Outdoor Privies: Schools had outdoor privies (outhouses) instead of modern restrooms before indoor plumbing. These were located at the edge of the school property.
  10. Field Trips to Local Sites: Without technology for virtual learning, field trips were essential for students to learn. They often visited local farms, factories, or historical sites to see real-world applications of their studies.

It’s incredible to reflect on how much has changed since then, isn’t it? Our modern schooling methods have certainly evolved, bringing a wealth of benefits. But it’s always enjoyable to look back and appreciate the unique charm of the past. These facts vividly contrast the educational experience of the past with our modern methods, providing a fascinating glimpse into the evolution of schooling and the progress we’ve made.

There are some lovely age-appropriate quotes to share with kids. Help them understand how endings and new beginnings connect! Invite your students to develop their quotes around endings and pin them on your bulletin board.

Here are some I 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.” 
Dr. Seuss
Every ending is a beginning.”  
Mitch Albom
“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.”  
Michael Josephson

Hope to see you again soon,

Diane 🙂

Happy coloring!
If you try any of these End of the Year art activities, I would love to see your students’ artwork – tag me on Instagram or drop me an email, at [email protected], I always reply 🙂

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