The last days of school can be hectic! Students are excited, and teachers are tired. This post shares end of year classroom management tips, resources, and activities that will keep your students from going too crazy as you finish the school year strong!
PLUS–Grab a fun and FREE end of the year activity for your students to enjoy.
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Why do we need FUN end of the school year activities?
Do you struggle with end of year classroom management? Classroom behavior for some students takes a nose-dive towards the end of the school year. Following directions
The excitement of summer makes it hard for them to contain their energy!
On top of this, teachers are tired.
So how do we keep it all together during the home stretch of the school year?
Well, these are some of my favorite end of year classroom management tips and strategies for keeping my classroom engaging and fun while finishing the school year strong.
Looking for a FREE resource to help with end of year classroom management?
End of Year Classroom Management Tips, Strategies & Resources
1–Give Whole Class Rewards For Meeting Goals During the Last Days of School
One of the ways I keep my students from going crazy during the end of school year is with whole class rewards.
I ask students to list possible rewards and treats they would like to earn for meeting certain goals. I’ve taught second and fourth grade (which you can read more about here) and they typically respond with things like:
- Sit anywhere we want
- More time on the IPADS
- Extra recess time
- No homework pass
Once I see what kind of rewards they like, I work with them to set class goals in order to earn the treats.
For example, “When everyone clears their desk the first time I ask, you will all get 10 extra minutes of recess time.”
Or, “If you get three compliments from other teachers or our principal when we walk through the halls today, you will 10 minutes of game time on the IPADS.”
A Post You Might Like: How to Make End of the Year Student Awards
I hear you already criticizing that these examples are just bribing kids to behave, but trust me–most kids (and teachers!) need carrot-on-the-stick motivation during the end of the year to stay motivated!
Plus, these are just two small examples.
The point is to use treats the students will be motivated to earn as a whole class. They are more likely to encourage each other to behave well and keep class routines with this end of school year idea.
2–Incorporate More “Pizzazz” Into Center Time with Choice Boards
Another end of year classroom management idea that keeps students engaged is using choice boards with different center options.
I try to keep the rigor and routine flowing with my literacy centers, but I jazz them up by adding different game ideas that students get to choose.
Choice boards are great because they help students build independence. Plus, students want to have more choice during these last days of school, so they are motivated to stay under control.
Anything engaging and motivating is a winner in my book
If you’re still feeling nervous about giving choice during your center rotations, check out this blog post with more details: How I Use Choice Boards to Run My Literacy Centers
3–Complete End of the School Year Memory Books
Ahhh…the sweet walk down memory lane!
Another last day of school activity is to have students complete end of school year memory books.
Throughout the school year, I take tons of pictures of students. Then I use a free app on my phone to get them developed without cost. All I have to pay is shipping.
I give these pictures to my students for their end of the year memory books, which I print on sturdy cardstock and use one of these to hold the book together.
It’s fun to watch my students turn into little “scrapbook” champions creating their memory picture books!
Not only this, but I realize that every kid can’t afford to buy a school yearbook.
Sitting there watching all their friends sign each other’s yearbooks can be emotionally hard on them. We don’t need this to be their end of school year experience.
Because you never know if that sadness may manifest as misbehavior for some kids.
Which is why I make sure their memory books have additional “signature” pages that allow them to participate in signing time with their friends!
4–Keep Your Students Moving with Classmate Scavenger Hunts
Students of all ages have the “wiggles” bad during the final weeks of school. You can stress yourself out trying to keep them completely still and quiet all day, or you can flow with their busybodies by incorporating more movement into your lessons.
I use end of the year class scavenger hunts like to get them out of their seats in a productive way. This is one of my favorite end of year classroom management tips!
Something like this encourages collaboration, gives them chances to move and talk, plus it doesn’t involved any teacher prep!
I’ve never had kids go crazy doing this because they are really focused on walking around to collect their classmates’ signatures.
That “scavenger hunt” aspect keeps them engaged, without misbehaving! YAY…win-win for teacher and students.
If you want to try this in your class, you can grab it for FREE here.
Click the image here for your Free download. No email address required.
Any lesson that I can turn into a kinesthetic, hands-on learning activity is also a big thumbs up for me–not only for the end of the year lessons but also for the entire year!
5–Have a Last Days of School Balloon Countdown
Now this is an end of year classroom management tip you will not want to miss out on! I will admit I didn’t think my students would stay calm with this one. I assumed the loud balloon pops would make them act crazy.
Boy, was I wrong! This balloon countdown works like a charm. Here’s what you need:
- Colorful Balloons
- Sharpie Markers to Write Numbers on the Balloons
- Small strips of paper to stuff inside the balloons
On each small strip of paper, put a surprise reward the whole class can earn. At the end of the day, if students all had great behavior or met their class goal, pop the balloon and let them enjoy their treat!
View this post on Instagram
It is definitely not as “Pinterest Pretty” as other end of the year countdown bulletin boards that I’ve seen, but I finally have my balloon countdown up! 👏🏾👍🏾🙌🏾🎈 I was so tired at the end of today-which is probably why my numbers are all out of order and there are no fancy letters that I usually do! 🤣😆😂 But I knew my kiddos would be so excited to walk in tomorrow and see it up. This idea has been a hit each year I’ve done it. 16 Days left til summer!! ☀️🌞 . . . Teacher Friends: I’ve featured a blog post on www.thebutterflyteacher.com about classroom management ideas like this for the end of year. “Ways to Keep Your Class From Going Crazy at the End of the Year” . . . Click the link in my bio to check it out! . . . #igteachers #instagramteachers #teachersoninstagram #teachersofinstagram #teachersfollowteachers #endofyear #endoftheyear #countdowntillsummer #ballooncountdown #almostthere
As you can see from my IG post on this, I was too tired to cut out fancy bulletin board letters. But it doesn’t need to be Pinterest pretty in order to be effective!
I just wrote on colorful card stock “Countdown to Summer” and had students help me hang the balloons.
You will be amazed at how quickly students hold each other accountable with this idea. They want to know each surprise treat!
This end of school year countdown activity works great to keep students from going crazy during your final days together.
6–Make a Summer Bucket List Together
Another end of year classroom management strategy to keep students engaged during the final days of school is with Summer Bucket Lists.
This idea also works well to help students reflect on how the year went and how they can do better moving forward. Will these thoughts stick permanently?
I can’t guarantee that, but I can guarantee that the seed for change will at least be planted!
I also practice what I preach! While students are making their Summer Bucket Lists, I also make mine. It really helps your kids to see that you are also engaged in their end of the year activities.
Not only does this help them settle down, but it also gives me a chance to introduce some summer reading challenges to them.
To learn more about keeping kids learning over the summer, check out this post:
Have Fun with Your Students!!
Every year I am amazed at how fast the school year goes by. The days especially fly into summer once testing is over. No matter how rough the year started or progressed, I feel that bittersweet feeling as my kids are packing up and walking out the door for the last time.
Related Post: End of the Year Read-Aloud Ideas
It’s important to not only leave a positive impression on them for their year with you, but it’s also important for you to be mentally and emotionally healthy as you end another year of teaching.
So have fun!! It will be over before you know it.
More End of the School Year Resources
If you’re looking for some fun learning ideas to end the year with a bang, you’ll enjoy this post:
But don’t forget to grab your free end of school year activity here:
What’s your favorite end of year classroom management strategy? Let me know in the comments below, teacher friend!
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