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5 End of Year Activities for First Grade

End-of-year activities provide an opportunity for both students and teachers to reflect on the progress and growth achieved throughout the academic year.

It's a time to celebrate milestones, accomplishments, and the collective efforts of the class.

For many first graders, the end of the school year marks a transition to a new grade or even a new school.

End-of-year activities help provide closure to the current school year, allowing students to say goodbye to classmates, teachers, and routines in a positive and meaningful way.

End-of-year activities can foster social and emotional development by encouraging teamwork, cooperation, and positive relationships among classmates.

Whether through collaborative projects, games, or celebrations, students have the opportunity to bond and create lasting memories with their peers.

Today, I've rounded up 5 of my favorite end of year activities for first grade:

  1. ABC Countdown to Summer
  2. End of Year Transformations
  3. End of Year Awards
  4. End of Year Memory Book
  5. End of Year Signature Page

#1 - ABC Countdown to Summer

An ABC countdown for summer is a creative and fun way to count down the days until the end of the school year, with each day corresponding to a letter of the alphabet.

An ABC countdown for summer is a fantastic way to build excitement and create memorable experiences for students as they eagerly anticipate the end of the school year and the start of summer break.

Here's are a few examples: 

A – Art Day: Kick off the countdown with a day dedicated to arts and crafts. Students can engage in various artistic activities such as painting, drawing, or making summer-themed crafts.

B – Beach Day: Transform the classroom or schoolyard into a beach paradise. Students can wear beach attire, bring towels and sunglasses, and participate in beach-themed games and activities.

C – Crazy Hair Day: Let students show off their creativity by styling their hair in wacky and colorful ways. It's a day full of fun and laughter as students sport their craziest hairstyles.

I created a Canva template that will allow you to completely customize the ABC Countdown for your own school!

I also included a brainstorm list of over 175 variations so you can choose your own countdown days!

#2 - End of Year Transformation

You know what's awesome? Classroom transformations. They're like the perfect antidote to the end-of-year countdown blues—or, heck, they can even add to the excitement! Picture this: you get to review all that important educational stuff while having an absolute blast doing it.

Honestly, if I'm being real, it's the classroom transformations that stick with the kids. They won't remember every math lesson on addition or every spelling test they aced, but ask them about that time the classroom turned into a magical space station or a wild jungle, and you'll see their eyes light up.

Transformations are like the highlight reel of the school year. They're these unforgettable events where learning meets fun in the coolest way possible. And the best part? You can go big with them, decking out the classroom with decorations that make it feel like a whole new world.

Plus, here's a pro tip: handing out take-home goodies is a game-changer. Like, during our “surgical transformation,” kids got to rock surgical masks and gloves, and guess what? They got to take 'em home as souvenirs. Same deal with our flight school transformation—we handed out cool sunglasses that the kids absolutely loved.

So yeah, whether you're planning a week-long extravaganza or just want to cap off a unit with a bang, classroom transformations are where it's at. They're not just about teaching; they're about creating memories that'll stick with these kids for life.

#3 End of Year Awards

End-of-year awards allow teachers to recognize and celebrate the unique strengths, talents, and accomplishments of each student. This can boost students' self-esteem and confidence as they feel valued and appreciated for their efforts throughout the school year.

Awards can serve as motivational tools, encouraging students to work hard and strive for excellence in various areas such as academics, behavior, character, and extracurricular activities. Knowing that their efforts can lead to recognition can inspire students to put forth their best effort in all aspects of school life.

Find the right award for every student with these editable End of Year awards! 115 design types available in color and ink saving options.

Categories include traditional, academic/subject, character traits, future __ awards and a fun twist on object/idiom style awards!

Use these awards to highlight your students’ brightest character traits and celebrate the school year that you have spent together!

Bonus Happy Birthday certificate included!

Design Types: 

  • 20 Traditional Awards
  • 15 Subject Awards
  • 19 Character Awards
  • 30 Future __ Awards
  • 30 Object Awards

*For a full list of awards, please download the PREVIEW on TPT!

ALL designs are included in color and an ink-saving black white that can be printed on bright colored paper!

#4 End of Year Memory Book

I mentioned earlier how I love to an end of year autograph page with my students. 

I typically like to do an end of year memory book in addition to an autograph page. 

BUT, I like to stick to VERY low prep memory books. 

I usually print the booklet and start it with two weeks left in school. We work on 1-2 pages a day together as a class and then when students have extra time in the day they can work on coloring pictures, etc. 

Ultimately, the end of year memory book becomes my early finisher/morning work activity for the last two weeks of school! 

Some years I like to do a full page book, but if we are running short on time, we do a half page booklet. 

You can put as much time and effort into it as you want which makes this perfect to use every year!

#5 End of Year Signature Page

This is one of my FAVORITE end of year projects to send home with my students! In the ten years that I have taught first grade, I've done this activity for at least eight of them!

I love this activity because it can be a stand alone project or it makes the perfect cover for a memory book!

-White Cardstock
-Watercolor Paints (preferably Prang brand)
-Label with Class Name and School Year
-4×6 Class Picture
Step 1: Give students the white cardstock and watercolor paints. Let them use any colors they choose. I decided to have mine do only stripes, but you could let them do any design that they choose. Be sure to have them write their names on the back of the page BEFORE they paint!
Step 2: After the paintings dry, set them out (face down) around the room. Pass out colored pens to each student and let them walk around and autograph each page.
Step 3: Glue on the label with the class name and the class picture.You could easily let the students do this part, but my OCD kicked in and I did it for them.
Step 4: Laminate, cut and you are done!
Now your students will end the year with a little piece of your classroom to keep with them forever!
And even better, its customized to them and their personality at this point in their life!

More First Grade Favorites

End of Year Celebrations - Kristen Sullins Teaching

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Kristen Sullins

Kristen Sullins

I am a current Elementary Librarian and
Enrichment Teacher, mother of two, follower of Christ and Texas native. In my own classroom, I love to save time by finding unique ways to integrate writing, social studies and science into all parts of my day. I also love all things organization!