I’m planning on writing a new “What Do You Do?” post — in addition to the upcoming What Do You Do When You Have A Few Minutes Left In Class?
I thought another topic might also be very timely — What Do You Do On The Last Day Of Class?
Unlike the other topics in this series, though, I don’t really have anything particularly insightful to contribute. I usually have shown a movie and had students relax — maybe have a bit of a low-key party. And I might have students help me pack-up some things and clean the room.
However, I not entirely happy with using the time that way.
How about you? Please share your ideas in the comments section. Since the last day of class is coming-up soon, I’m putting in a deadline of May 15th for contributions. Please include how you’d like me to describe you.
Also, feel free to suggest other topics for this monthly series.
I teach 4th grade and on the last day of school, we open time capsules that we created during the first week of school. They are just paper towel tubes, but they contain a first math paper, a first writing piece and other “firsts.” It helps kids see how far they’ve come in just a short time.
On the last day of school we tear down the remnants of an 8′ x 8′ wall map of Florida that we spent the entire year constructing (we use most of the content in making a year-end book). Then, we have an awards show. Students receive the Presidential Student Service Award for having more than 50 hours of community service during the year (this year’s class has over 100 per student). The finale is an individual award for each student where I have one last opportunity to roast and celebrate them before sending them off to 5th grade. We wash that down with cake and a round of boo-hoo’s.
I teach at a very small school. We have 6 staff members and around 40 students. For the last few years we have gone to a local park and had a picnic to wrap up the year. Students enjoy bringing desserts and salads. My husband usually ends up grilling the burgers. Many of my students have children of their own and they bring them. We always have a great time!
As a high school English teacher, I always had the students “grade” me on the last day of school. Their “assignment” was to tell me what they liked most in the class and what could be improved. In addition, I asked them to rate the literature we read in the class and projects we completed: what would they recommend I use again in the future and what to cut. They had the option of leaving their names off of the evaluation if they chose to do so. Most did not and were pretty honest about their experiences in the class. It was one more way to find a way for them to write the last day of school and I really appreciated their feedback.
Although it depends on what activities have been planned for the whole school, I like to have kids act out plays (some they’ve written during the year, some they’ve just enjoyed in the past). They love either acting, or watching others act, and this uses up all that pent up last-day energy.
I teach technology at a grade school. I have 2 projects I’ve done in different years. One is to write a letter to a child who will come in to that grade telling them what that grade will be like. I give them some guidelines, like your 3 favorite things, what you need to know about the teacher, something that will be a challenge. The teacher can use that at meet the teacher day, or the first day of school.
The 2nd project I’ve done is “3 Words”. Students pick 3 words to tell upcoming students about the grade. For example: Do Your Homework, Mrs. Smith Rocks, Tell the Truth. You can take a picture of the student with their words, and make it into a book or a slide show.
I teach EFL college courses in Taiwan.
I try to always find a way to celebrate learning on the last day of class.
For example, in my writing classes, students read aloud selections from their favorite pieces in their portfolios. In my business English classes, students have a mock full class role-play that covers the content from the semester. In my public speaking classes we have two whole class debates.
In all situations, I find ways to give certificates or awards as well . . . most improved writer, more interesting essay, most inviting introductions, and so on. If the class is small, I find a way to give an award to every one; if the class is larger, I only award those who earned them.
On the last day, we’ll be playing Scattergories, with categories related to our content from this year. It’s a fun way to end but still ties in to some sort of actual learning. But mostly it’s just fun. 🙂
I teach college. I sometimes use the last class of the term as office hours, when students can submit outstanding work, ask questions about any final assignments due after the last day, or come pick stuff up.
However, I sometimes use the last class as a sort of free-form seminar. I ask students to write down a question, any question, about anything they’d like to know about English language, English literature, being a teacher, being a writer, the class… Then I put them all in a hat, and draw as many as I have time to answer, soliciting their input. Sometimes I have them do a little writing assignment for the last half hour, tying together some of the things we’ve discussed – one topic I use for this is “Why is it important/not important to study English literature in college?” Their answers often surprise me.