Wow, we are almost there, the end of another academic year! The sun is out, the days are getting longer and everyone is getting antsy. Some days the anticipation of summer vacation seems to be so thick nothing can get through it.
What are some fun things you can do with students to make those last few weeks fun and productive? Well, at this point everyone should be well accustomed to the classroom routine so it is time to shake it up a bit.
1. Take Your Students Outside!
The weather is finally nice and it seems like a crime to be inside when the grass is growing, the birds are singing and fluffy clouds are wafting about. The problem with taking students outside is that it is very distracting though so how can you keep them on task? Click on this post for a detailed description of outside activities that are engaging and keep students speaking English.
2. Do a Fun STEAM Activity
What is STEAM you ask. Well, STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math.
Do a fun, hands-on activity with your students that involves working with materials and being creative. Several years ago I was noticing that my students were getting really unfocused in class as the weather got balmier and the formerly protective walls of the classroom started to seem restrictive so I brought in a bunch of raw eggs, newspapers, rubber bands, plastic bags, tape, string and whatever else I had laying around the house cluttering things up. I then gave each pair of students an egg and asked them to draw a face on it, give it a name and make up a story for it. After everyone had introduced their egg to the class, I told them that we would be dropping them out of the 5thfloor window and it was their job to protect their egg from death. I then gave them time to plan what they would make, make it, throw the eggs out of the window, and discuss the results. Students were learning vocabulary, grammar and speaking skills while problem solving and having fun.
Every single student was fully engaged for the entire class period; not only that, they told their absent friends about it and they were so sorry to have missed the class, they did the project at home and brought me a video showing me their results the next week.
For lots of STEM activities check out this post. By little Bins for Little Hands.
3. Throw a Theme Party!
Throw a theme party and get the students to plan and execute it. Decide on a theme that your class has been studying, this could be a content theme if you are doing content based instruction, it could be a grammar theme or something based on a book or movie you used in class. Split your class into committees like music, food, games, decorations, venue (if you want to have the party somewhere else besides your classroom), and have them do it all. Make sure they have the language to discuss what they will do. You might want to give each group a vocabulary list of words they will need to use in order to make a good plan and execute their task. Then just step back and let them do it. I did this once for a Halloween party. They cooked severed finger cookies, made their own costumes and makeups and created horror skits to film during the party. It was a wonderful event and I didn’t do a thing.
4. Have a Game Day!
Games are not only fun, they can get students talking and thinking, just make sure the games you give your students encourage lots of verbal interaction.
Some games students might enjoy are:
conversation cards (I have made a set of 30 cards that are ready to print and give to small groups of students, just click here.)
Scrabble (this game doesn’t encourage a lot of talking but it does get players spelling and thinking about vocabulary. It is more communicative if players team up rather than playing individually.)
Dixit is another great game for thinking about vocabulary. Players look at cards with different works of art on them and have to think of a word that would help some, but not all players choose that card.) This review by "Shut Up and Sit Down" will give you a good idea about how to play the game and why it would benefit language learning.
Pub Quizzes can be a great way to review the course material and don’t take too much effort to prepare. Simply make a list of questions, split the class into small groups, ask a question, and have them discuss the answers. The group(s) who answer correctly get a point. The group with the most points at the end wins.
Name that Tune is another fun game that will get students singing and listening. Just have small groups discuss what song(s) they will sing for the class and the other groups get to listen to their songs, the first group to guess the title wins a point.
Make sure you have little prizes to give students when they win a game. This can be as simple as a small piece of chocolate or something more elaborate like a wrapped book. I used to work in a high school library and often had to weed books to make room for new ones. I couldn’t give the books away unless I wrapped them up and presented them as gifts, then students couldn’t get enough of them!
5. Goodbye and Awards
Finally, when the last day of class rolls around and you are at your wits end, give students an opportunity to express how much they meant to each other by giving each student a sheet of paper blank except for their name at the top in big lovely font. Then have them write on each others’ papers thanking them or sharing a special memory from the semester. This way students will have something to take home with them and savor. You might also want to prepare special awards for your students (if you don’t have so many of them that this would take over your life). You can easily design awards on Canva.
I hope you and your students have a lot of fun in this last month of school! What are some of your favorite end of year activities? Please share with me in the comments. I love to hear from you!
Hi, I'm Kia.
Teaching is my passion, I have been teaching for over 20 years in 4 different continents. One of the things I have learned over the years is that I am never done learning about teaching. Both teaching and learning should be fun and inspiring.
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