Friendship Necklace - You will need construction paper, yarn, markers, and hole punches for this project. Cut the construction paper into 2 ½” squares, circles or other simple shapes. Each child will need as many pieces as there are students in your room. Have them write their name and draw pictures on their shapes. Punch holes. Now comes the fun part! Children get to go around the room and give a shape to each of their friends. Encourage them to say something kind they remember about their friend as they pass them out. Finally, children string the shapes on yarn and knot the ends to make a necklace.
Time Capsule – Create a memento of the year with a time capsule. Ask each child to bring in Pringle’s can. Have them draw a picture of themselves and put it in the can. Let them write or dictate what they want to be when they grow up and illustrate it. Challenge them to collect a wrapper from their favorite food, something their favorite color, friends’ signatures, and other small, meaningful objects to add to their bottles. After gluing on the lid and decorating the outside, send the time capsules home with a note to the parents asking them to save them until their child graduates from high school.
Count Down Chain – Let each child make a paper chain with the number of days left in the school year. Each day they can remove one strip.
*Make a bulletin board with balloons for the number of school days left. Pop one balloon each day. (These could be real balloons or paper balloons.)
Days Left in the Year Song – Count down as you sing this song to the tune of “100 Bottles of Pop on the Wall.”
(Number of days) left in the school year.
(Number of days) left, that’s so.
We’ve had fun, we’re almost done.
(Number of days) to go.
The Best Thing About… Invite children to recall some of their favorite memories from the school year. Give them a sheet of paper to illustrate it. Ask them to write (or dictate) a sentence about it. Put their pictures together in a cover that says, “The Best Thing About (Grade)” and bind. Save the book to read to your new class when school starts.
Welcome Brochure – Demonstrate how to fold a sheet of paper into thirds to make a brochure. Let each child create a brochure called “Welcome to Grade.” They could include things they’ll learn, special events, etc. Save these and give them (or send in the mail) to your upcoming students when school starts.
Hint! Have children do a “rough draft.” Edit and then make a revised copy.
Back to School Bulletin Board - Have your children create a bulletin board to welcome the new class. Cover with newspaper to protect over the summer, and you’ll be ahead of the game when school starts. How about one of these themes?
Lights, Camera, Action! (Photos of Special Events)
A Great Batch (Gingerbread Cookies)
(Teacher’s Name) Bunch (Bananas)
Round Up for a Great Year (Horses)
Lookin’ Good! (Giant Mirror)
Kick off for (Grade)! (Football & Goal)
Join (Teacher’s Name) Team! (Pennants and Pompoms)
Welcome Super Stars (Stars)
Swim into a New Year (Fish)
Bloom in (Grade) (Flower Garden)
Now I Can! - Brainstorm all the things your students have learned during the school year. Give each child a sheet of paper and have them draw something they couldn’t do at the beginning of the year that they can do now. Complete this sentence: “I couldn’t _______, but now I can _______.” Make a cover that says “Now I Can!” and bind to make a book.
Time Line – Give each child a long strip of paper. Draw a line down the middle. Have children draw what they looked like when they started the school year on the left and what they look like now on the right. They can fill in the middle of the time line with special memories. (You might need to brainstorm or show photos to spark their memories.)
Car Wash – Have students make two lines facing each other. They should stand 2-3 feet apart. Demonstrate how to move your palms in a circular direction like a car wash. Choose one child at a time to walk “through” the car wash. Students should gently pat the friend going through the car wash as they make positive comments about that friend.
Book Raffle – What to do with all those books your class has created over the year? Number the books and have a raffle. Put similar numbers in a “hat” and let each child draw one. They’ll each go home with a book to help them remember their friends.
Book Bucks - Make “book bucks” similar to dollar bills on green paper. Pass these out as an incentive for positive behavior the last few weeks of school. The children can use their “book bucks” to buy collaborative books the last day of school.
Library Card – What better gift can you give your students at the end of the year than a library card? Take a field trip to your local library or ask the children’s librarian to visit your school and describe all their summer reading activities.
Summer Reading List – It’s easy to do an internet search and find a suggested reading list for your grade level. Parents would probably appreciate this when helping their child choose books to read over the summer.