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How about giving your students experiences instead of the typical sparkly pencil and candy?
Believe me, your students are going to love and remember this.
I call this “A Week of Special Celebrations” because it’s kind of like Christmas in May or June (or whenever the end of the school year is for you) – but WITHOUT buying a bunch of dollar store junk and plastic that your kids will likely just throw out when they get home for summer break anyways.
You will need to prepare for this week of special celebrations about a week before the last five days of school, so the first step is to take out your calendar and count back five days from the last day of school, and then plan a week before that so you have enough time to get everything ready.
Plan for this a couple of weeks before the end of the school year to make sure you have enough time.
Here’s how it works.
Every day, for the last five days before school ends, you will prepare a little surprise gift that is addressed to your class, that will be waiting for them at the front of the room when they first get to school each morning.
When the class comes in, they get to open the gift together with you (or you can choose one or two students to open the card, read it, and then open the gift in front of everyone).
And again, each gift is about a thoughtful experience you are going to give to your students.
And by the way, cue the virtual confetti because...
I’ve created my VERY FIRST PRODUCT on Teachers Pay Teachers and it’s called “The BEST End of the Year Student Gifts: A Week of Special Celebrations!"
Here's a sample overview of the five days of gifts I give to my students (all of the note/letter samples, templates, and certificates are included in the package at TPT):
Your students come into the classroom to find a large gift bag or box at the front of the room, addressed to them... and your first invitation to them: Breakfast in the playground while listening to their favorite stories!
On the second day, the students find another note waiting for them that invites them to a half hour of play (using special equipment that they don't often get to use from the gym!)
On the third day of our week of special celebrations, they find another gift with an invitation for The Ultimate Bubble-Blowing Contest! (And I share with you how to do this in a fun and simple way...)
On the fourth day of our week of special celebrations, my students discover another note that invites them to have a Flashlight Reading Party (complete with wearing PJ's and bringing stuffed animals to snuggle with)!
And finally, on day five, we create and then hold a “Class Rewards Ceremony" where each child receives a certificate (nominated by his or her classmates) to celebrate them for their special gift or talent - complete with a standing ovation. 💕
And that is how we end our school year in a week of fabulous celebrations – and by the way, I include some other ideas for what you might want to do each day if some of these won’t work for you at your school in my TPT resource.
I hope you try this with your own students, and again, you can grab your copy of "The BEST End of the Year Student Gifts: A Week of Special Celebrations” on Teachers Pay Teachers.
It has EVERYTHING you will need to be able to do this week of celebrations with your students.
I hope you have a wonderful week, and I will see you again soon!
Dr. Lori Friesen | Beginning Teacher Mentor
Creator of the R.E.A.D.Y. for School Academy, Dr. Lori Friesen has mentored thousands of beginning teachers across the country through her workshops and courses. Host of the popular podcast, Beginning Teacher Talk, and creator of the innovative literacy program for 1st and 2nd grade, Dogs Help Kids Read and Succeed, Dr. Lori is dedicated to serving educators and inspiring learners. Learn more at drlorifriesen.com and at howdogshelpkids.com.
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