End-of-the-year exhaustion is real, and it’s important to recognize and address it. Make sure you plan several low-stress activities so you can take care of yourself and still spend time with your students. Find 5 low stress end of the year activities below.
Movie Marathons make great low stress end of year activities
Movie marathons can be an excellent way to relax and enjoy some downtime with your class. Choose a few age-appropriate films that your students will enjoy and that everyone can watch together in the classroom. You can even incorporate a movie-themed snack bar or popcorn to make it extra fun.
To keep the popcorn low stress, you can ask a parent to pop it for you, buy it pre-popped, or have students pop it during recess or before school.
There’s a chance that not everyone will be into the film. Have color by code coloring pages ready to hand out for those students who need something else to do. Coloring is calming and these pages sneak in learning at the same time.
My favorite tip: I use coffee filters as individual popcorn containers. They’re cheap, the perfect size, and there’s no plastic involved. I fill them all up as the movie is starting and either send students to pick them up or deliver them myself (which is kind of a nice touch).
Another veteran tip: Avoid popping the popcorn with butter in your classroom. It really smells up the classroom and creates a greasy film that hangs in the air. AND…set out the broom and dustpan because there’s sure to be a spill. Have students sweep up after and you’ll have a clean room.
Arts and craft stations keep energy calm
Another low-stress activity for teachers is to organize an arts and crafts session. You can set up stations around the room and provide materials such as paint, markers, paper, and glue. Your students can work on different projects at their own pace while you supervise and assist them where needed. This activity can also double as a great end-of-the-year project for your students.
Grab this tip: Clean up can take a lot of time. Before the project, show students how to clean up. For example, if they must wash something, how do they do it and where do they set it to dry or how do they dry the object? Do they know that they should clean the sink and counter after they’ve washed supplies? Did they spill on the floor? Have towels ready for clean up. Remember, you’re trying to create less work for yourself. Teaching students how to clean up is worth the time!
If you’re looking for more active end of the year activities, check out this blog post about 10 creative end of the year activities kids will love!
Board games are engaging and low stress
Board games can be a great way to unwind and have some fun with your students. You and your students can bring in favorite board games. These games can help your students develop problem-solving skills, improve their critical thinking abilities, and promote teamwork.
One of my favorite weeks in the classroom was when we worked with the mystery genre in reading. We had a few short mysteries to solve. Students worked in groups, and it was a blast! After, I taught them how to play the board game Clue. I brought in as many of the games as I could, had my battery-operated candles, closed the drapes, and created a fun, mysterious setting that students totally loved. AND the darkness actually helped them keep their voices down!
Create a memory brochure
No prep is the best, because you’re trying to cut back on the workload and stress! This printable or digital brochure is done for you! It’s the perfect opportunity for students to reflect on their year but also to offer advice for next year’s incoming students!
The best part? The brochures double as a first week of school activity for next year! Students complete their memory brochure and then fill out the “How to Be Great in ___ Grade” brochure for next year’s students!
I love setting these on student desks during the first week of school, and new students LOVE reading them! Click here to find these fun end of the year brochures for grades 3-7.
Add classroom organization to your end of the year activities
One of the best tricks I figured out over the years is to have my students help prepare the classroom for summer and next year. Full disclosure: I teach 6th grade. There are always students begging to help me organize, and quite often they are better at it than I am!
Here’s the trick: Give this thought ahead of time and then keep a list on the board of the organization students can help with. A few ideas might include
- Organizing the construction paper shelf
- Organize the classroom library
- Sharpen colored pencils & organize by color
- Take down bulletin board displays
- Organize art supplies
- Organize bulletin board supplies
- File papers
- Pass back student projects
- Organize game cabinets or other cabinets
- Sort & test colored markers for ink
You know your classroom and what needs to be done before vacation begins. Start there with your list. Students love helping the teachers…even middle schoolers!
Taking care of yourself as a teacher is just as important as taking care of your students. So, incorporate some low-stress activities into your end-of-the-year plans, and enjoy some downtime with your class.
Grab this close reading freebie to help you start your year teaching one of the most valuable skills your students will ever need!
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