It is almost the end of the school year, and that means it is time to start planning those end-of-the-year activities for your secondary ELA classroom. Before you release your students for summer, it helps add to your classroom community by having a little reflective fun with your students. Here are two easy ideas that will engage your students as they pause and reflect on what they learned this school year.
Letter to Next Year’s Class
After spending an entire year in your classroom, your students know the classroom rules, policies, and procedures like clockwork (even if they fail to show it). Your students also know what they need to do to do well and success in your classroom. The end of the school year is the perfect time to have your students practice their formal letter writing skills by writing a letter to the students who will fill their seats next year. It is best if they write their message using the proper business letter format (then, you can use these letters next year to introduce the skill).
When I have my students write a letter to the incoming class, there are several suggestions I give to my students, especially if they are struggling.
1. Students can include advice about how to succeed. This can be anything from achieving behaviorally or academically.
2. Students can explain why the class is essential.
3. Students can write about a favorite novel or unit of study.
Create a Bulletin Board Together
The beginning of the year can be stressful. Between in-service training days, running copies of your syllabus, and getting your room ready, sometimes there just isn’t enough time. That is why I like to have my students help me create a bulletin board at the end of the year for next year’s students.
To create the bulletin board with my students, I first prep the area. I usually have the background and the border in place. Then, I come up with a theme. Finally, I give my students brightly colored paper, markers, craft scissors, and other craft supplies. From there, my students make the majority of the bulletin board by decorating their piece of paper and completing the thematic prompt.
1. My favorite thing about this class…
2. One thing I learned…
3. Advice for next year…
4. If I could do it all over again…
When the next school year starts, you will already have a colorful, engaging bulletin board that welcomes and advises your students. Your new students will enjoy reading all of the advice from the classroom vets, you will enjoy completing one less task, and your administrators will think you are a genius!
End of the year resources: