The end of the year in first grade can be tough to keep students engaged and learning.
This blog post is a collection of all of my favorite “go-to” end of year activities that I use in my own first grade classroom to finish the year strong!
In this post, you read about:
- Classroom Transformation
- Field Trip Companions
- Virtual Field Trip Ideas
- End of Year Book Studies
- End of Year Science
- Class Autograph Page
- End of Year Checklists and Inventory Lists for Teachers
Classroom transformations are the perfect alternative (or addition) to an end of year countdown!
Transformation allow you to review educational content AND students have a lot of fun doing them!
If I'm being quite honest, classroom transformations are the types of things that students remember!
They don't remember the addition unit in math or the million spelling tests they had to take.
Transformations (big or small) are memorable events for students that allow you to make sure they master educational content!
When it comes to transformations you can do a whole week and cover different topics along the same content or you can simply plan one day at the end of a unit.
I like to go BIG with my decorations and really “transform” our space so that students feel like they are truly in a different space.
Another thing that I have found makes a big difference in transformations is student
“take home” materials. For example, during our surgical transformation students got to wear and take home a surgical mask, gloves and hat. During our flight school transformation, students go to wear and take home a pair of sunglasses.
You can read all about my favorite classroom transformations here:
Field Trip Companions and Virtual Field Trips Ideas for the End of the Year
End of the year means field trips!
Whether you are attending field trips in person, exploring virtual field trips or just looking for a fun end of year activity, I have the perfect companion activities to make sure your experience is educational.
A few years ago my class and I had a “Stay Day” and took a virtual field trip of an M&M factory and incorporated a How to Make M&M's writing project!
Some of my favorite virtual field trips that we've done as a station activity throughout the year is virtual tours of different kinds of animal and dairy farms. My students LOVE it!
I also try to add some kind of research or writing activity to these stations to get students comfortable documenting their learning, challenging their thinking and also simply learning how to take notes!
These animal field trip companions include:
- cut and paste activities
- graphic organizers
- interactive notebooks
- writing activities
Class Autograph 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!
End of Year Book Studies
Another way to beat the end of year craziness with this unit of book companion activities on the adorable book Last Day Blues by Julie Danneberg!
These book companion activities allow you to:
- review/apply vocabulary
- retell with cards, strips and worksheets
- reading comprehension worksheets
- writing activities
- student wearables: hats and wristbands
- interactive journals
These book activities are the perfect way to reinforce all of the reading comprehension skills at the end of the year!
First Grade End of Year Science
You all know that time of year… you are burned out and so are your students..
You are patiently (or impatiently) counting the days until summer break and looking for anything that can spice up your routine.
I'll let you in on my secret:
SUPER FUN SCIENCE UNITS!!
I love these because they still provide a lot of great instructional opportunities, writing opportunities and PLENTY of opportunities to align your daily read aloud with your science and writing block to create a great theme week!
End of Year Awards
End of Year Awards are a great way to celebrate your students and highlight their strengths.
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!
- 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!
First Grade Memory Books
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!
End of Year Checklists for Teachers
This is seriously the only end of year checklist you will ever need and it's YOURS for free!!
It includes a generic list of things to do, things to clean, things to store and put away, things your students can help you do, things to turn in to the office, a checklist of technology, a checklist for your classroom library AND SO MUCH MORE!
Tips for Getting things done:
- Break large tasks into smaller chunks
- Don't try to do it all at once, pick 2-3 things you want to do each day
- Highlight the priority items and try to finish those items first
- Delegate as much as possible to your students
- Purge as much as possible, I promise it will make you feel better
- Give yourself a break, you've been teaching tiny humans and you are mentally, emotionally and physically tired. Go reward yourself, it will all get done
Get your FREE End of Year Checklist below!