Here are 6 classroom management ideas that you’re going to want to try at the end of the school year.
We don’t know about you, but when we get closer to the end of the school year, we find that the classroom management strategies we have had in place just aren’t having the same effect that they used to. We all know each other and know how to push each other’s buttons…
Sometimes we need to hit the reset button and come up with some new ideas to survive the end of the academic year.
Do you prefer to listen? We have recorded this content as a podcast episode. Listen here:
So let’s do it! We have teamed up with some of our favourite Aussie educators to share some of our tried and tested ideas.
6 creative and fun end of the year classroom management strategies:
A VIP desk – Ashleigh from Rainbow Sky Creations
The VIP desk is a fantastic end-of-year reward system for students who may be feeling a bit weary of traditional incentives.
Each day, a student is chosen as the VIP and gains special privileges, starting with sitting at a decorated desk (it might have festive decorations such as tinsel). The VIP has access to exclusive supplies and can select a friend to join them.
Being the VIP for the day comes with perks, such as choosing activities, like literacy rotations or fun games. Additionally, the VIP may take on special tasks, making them feel extra special and important. I‘ve used this idea for many, many years, especially in that middle primary, and it always works an absolute treat.
A Class Wishlist – Alisha from Rainbow Sky Creations
I like to introduce this in around the last three weeks of the school year.
To start, you and the students do a big brainstorm together of class activities or games they wished they’d done more of in the year, or at all.
(Note: as the teacher, you get to choose which activities stay and which ones are ditched before you move forward). I’m always looking for roughly 20 activities.
After obtaining class-approved activity ideas, prominently display them by the whiteboard or on a pinboard, and introduce a class hat or jar filled with coloured slips of paper.
Over the last two weeks leading up to the final week of school, observe and acknowledge students making positive choices. When a commendable choice is made, students can select a slip of paper, write down a preferred activity, and contribute it to the draw.
As the final week approaches, the jar should be filled with various activities students have wished to experience. At the beginning of each day in the last week, involve students by having them draw from the jar to determine the day’s activity.
This spontaneous approach fills your lesson plan with enjoyable and motivating activities, keeping the class cohesive and excited until the last day of school. The element of surprise and student autonomy in choosing activities ensures a smooth and motivated transition into the summer holidays.
Give it a try, and witness a class of enthusiastic students right up to the end of the school year.
Class community – Tam from Mrs Learning Bee
Spend time really celebrating that class family that you’ve spent all year building. By finding ways to bring everyone together and focus on the special connections that you have all formed, it will really help reduce those niggling end-of-term behaviours.
Here are 3 ways that you could focus on your class family at the end of the year:
1.Brownie Points – Set up a simple whole class reward system where the entire class is working towards a common goal using brownie points. I just get a cheap cookie tray and print off some brownie pictures and then, each time the class is working as a team, we add a brownie point to the tray.
2. Kindness activities which focus on students sharing the things that they appreciate about their classmates, now that they’ve had a whole year to get to know them. One example could be creating compliment chains, where the kids write compliments to their classmates and create a paper chain. One of my ex students still has her paper chain hanging over her bed all these years later.
3. Bucket Fillers – Each child has their own bucket or paper cup where their fellow classmates can place kind or encouraging notes. I set aside dedicated bucket filling time where each student is given a classmate to write a note for. This ensures that no students are left out and everyone has lots of bucket filling notes in their bucket.
I also let the kids write bucket fillers as a fast finisher activity or during free time, and they absolutely love it. Every week the kids can empty their buckets and read the notes from their classmates. It is truly one of the most beautiful things to witness their smiles as they read what their classmates have written about them.
Getting Creative – James (Creative Arts Coordinator)
Santa’s Mailbox or Christmas Mailroom – Have students decorate their own mail box or envelope to display around the room, then when students bring in christmas cards or treats for their friends you can hold off and then select certain times throughout the day where the mail room is open and they can deliver their cards and treats.
Then you can organise different days for the students to read their cards or open their mail boxes. Students are excited to see what is in their mailbox and it means you can have a reward time at the end of the day. (You can also use this for fast finishers, they can go and start delivering some of their cards to their classmates mailbox)
Class Christmas Carol – Pick a Christmas Carol that your class really likes and then each day write a new verse or part to the song. You can then add actions and learn each part across the last few days of the year. You can begin singing your class version during brain breaks and potentially make a performance or like a video recording out of it, and this allows for some fun class memories and a great final community building activity.
The Mystery Elf – Julia from Mrs Chalmers Cherubs
The Mystery Elf is like a ‘secret student’ for the day or lesson period.
Introduce the Mystery Elf concept in your classroom by selecting one to two students whose identities remain secret. These mystery elves aim to exemplify a specific behavior throughout the day or a chosen session, such as completing work excellently or demonstrating respectful transitions.
Upon achieving the set goal, their identities are revealed, and they receive a simple reward, like being the first to recess or choosing a class brain break. If a student doesn’t meet the daily goal, offer them another chance later in the week but keep their identity a mystery.
I like to purchase some Santa hats for my mystery elves to wear for the day!
Fun Theme Days – Eden from Eden Lisa Designs
Add an element of fun while maintaining a familiar routine with theme days in your classroom. Theme days can be as simple as you want and require no elaborate decorations or big events.
Structured like a regular school day, theme days make planning for the last weeks of the school year a breeze. Plan activities around a chosen theme, incorporating reading, writing, math, and a fun craft. For example: Gingerbread themed day, Candy Cane celebration day, Winter Wonderland Day or Santa’s workshop themed day.
This approach keeps students focused and excited, making the end of the year enjoyable for everyone.
Grinch Theme Day Plan:
- Begin the day by reading the classic “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” story aloud to the students, setting the festive tone for the day.
- Follow up with a Grinch drawing activity led by a Grinch director video on YouTube, allowing students to unleash their creativity.
- Reading Response Activity:
- For the reading response, have students write adjectives around their Grinch character, they already drew, to describe his personality and traits. This activity helps them engage with the story on a deeper level.
- Creative Writing:
- Move on to a creative writing task where students imagine how they would cheer up the Grinch. This activity not only encourages creativity but also results in hilarious and imaginative responses from the students.
- Craft Activity:
- The highlight of the day involves creating adorable Grinch handprints. Students will enjoy drawing little Grinch faces on their handprints, adding a fun and festive touch to their creations.
- Grinchy Mischief in Maths:
- In Maths, pair up students with one being the “Grinch” and the other a “Who”. Each pair is given 20 Unifix cubes that represent presents. The Who closes their eyes and pretends to fall asleep while the Grinch “steals” some presents. The Who then wakes up and must figure out how many presents were taken. This interactive math activity adds an element of Grinchy mischief to the day.
We often have to dig deep into our toolkit to keep our kids engaged and on track during the month of December. We hope that you found these creative ideas helpful – let us know if you decide to give any a try!
Connect with the teachers that collaborated on this Blog Post / Podcast Episode:
Tam from Mrs Learning Bee
Eden from Eden Lisa Designs
Julia from Mrs Chalmers Cherubs
James – Creative Arts Coordinator, soon to be employed at Amplify
Other Podcast Episodes you might be interested in:
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