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5 Tips for Keeping Students Engaged in the Last Weeks of School

While the school year might be winding down, try not to coast through your final days or weeks. It would be so easy to pop in a movie and zone out, but you truly can take advantage of these last few days to get some good learning in! Use these 5 tips to keep your students engaged and (gasp!) learning the last few weeks of school!

blog post header 5 tips for keeping students engaged the week of school and an image of a little girl holding books dressed as a superhero

1. Keep Learning Top of Mind

I kind of hinted at this already, but it is important to keep it top of mind! You don't want to give the impression that school isn't as important during this time of year. The best way to keep learning top of mind is to review concepts that were key standards this last year or that will be useful in their new grade next year.

Math review doesn't have to be boring! I like using dice, spinners, jokes, and anything else that will keep students interested in math. In the 2nd Grade End of Year Math Review with a Twist, students will get all that and more. Imagine your students begging to do review math!

2. Keep Routines

It is typical at the end of the year to have distractions. There are field trips, school assemblies, performances, and more. That makes the structures and routines that you have created throughout the year crucially important to follow. Routines keep learning top of mind.

keep routines the same the last weeks of school teacher with students in a circle talking

Routines to keep the same:

  • daily schedule
  • morning meetings
  • read-aloud time/silent reading time
  • reading and math centers
  • end of the day check-in

You might have to adjust the timing of events to make everything fit but your students will do better with some normalcy in their day.

3. Surprise Them!

end of year countdown with a close look at a paper chain stapled to the wall

This is how you add the fun to the last few days of school. While you do need to keep routines, you can sprinkle in the fun. Think of little ways that you can bring laughter, joy, and unexpected fun to the day. The ideas below don't cost anything, can be easily added to any day, and don't require a lot of planning yet… they will definitely bring a smile to your students' faces!

  • Start a Count Down Chain with fun and easy activities for each day
  • Read Outside – find a shaded area outside and read books
  • Flashlight reading – let kids bring flashlights to school on this day; turn off the lights in your room and let them read under their desks.
  • No Shoes Day – once kids are sitting at their desks, let them kick off their shoes – they will seriously be so surprised you let them do this!
  • Sit with a Friend – every 2 hours, kids move to a new desk and work with a friend
  • Pen/Marker Only Day – students can only use colorful pens or markers for their work

4. Themed Days

Themed days are the most fun, in my opinion! It's like Halloween in the middle of the year! Let your students know ahead of time that you will have a themed day – giving them a chance to dress up for it!

First, plan what theme you'll have:

  • Baseball Day
  • Pirates Day
  • Beach Day
  • Pajama Day
  • Super Hero Day
  • Magic Day

Next, collect ideas on what you can do that day. You can choose to spread a few of the ideas throughout the day (still keeping with routines), make a whole day of it, OR do something fun the last 30-40 minutes of the day!

The possibilities are endless.

  • Read books around that theme
  • Do a directed draw around the theme
  • Let students dress up
  • Write stories around the theme
  • Tell jokes related to the theme – jokes for kids
  • Integrate the theme into math problems
  • Play an outdoor game related to the theme

5. Reflect

This is an easy time of year to reflect on their school year! My favorite way to reflect is through letter writing. I have students write a letter to incoming 2nd graders; they are experts now, after all! What advice would they give to little 1st graders that will be 2nd graders next year? Students love this!

Here are some questions you can ask to get them started.

  • Tell 3 things they will learn in 2nd grade
  • What do they need to always do?
  • What should they NEVER do?
  • What advice would you give about the playground?
  • What advice would you give about your teacher?
  • Tell 3 phrases your teachers always uses
  • What happened that was funny this year?
  • What happened that was memorable?

In conclusion, a the school year draws to a close, it's important to find ways to keep your students engaged and motivated until the very end. By implementing some of the strategies discussed, such as incorporating fun and interactive activities, themed days, and providing opportunities for reflection and celebration, you can create a positive and memorable end to the year.





SAVE Ideas for Keeping Students Engaged the Last Weeks of School

If youโ€™d like to come back to these end-of-the-year student engagement ideas later on, be sure to save this post!  Just add the pin below to your favorite board on Pinterest.  Youโ€™ll be able to quickly find these ideas when planning for the end of the year.

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