10 End of the Year Ideas and Resources for Secondary ELA

1. Assign a course evaluation. Ask students to reflect on what they have learned. When I first began teaching, I was always hesitant to read the survey results, but I had to get over that. Would some students write rude things? A couple, but the benefit of the sincere feedback I gleaned from the majority of the class was invaluable. At the end of the year, I ask students to think about what lessons were most memorable, how they grew as readers and writers, and what suggestions they had for improving the course. While not every response was earth-shattering, I have gained important insights from this reflective activity. These insights have improved my teaching. Click HERE for an End of the Semester Course Reflection and Evaluation for Secondary ELA. (RWH)


2. Plan for next year. How? Is that even possible during this time of year? Yes, it is! Now, I am not talking about during exam prep, but perhaps during the last few weeks when you can see the light! Take a break during that exam marking. You need it. Your head needs it and your eyes need it, too! During these brief 'refreshment breaks,' I take a few minutes to read blog posts from other teachers, complete preliminary research on up and coming YA books that my students might enjoy next year, and even scroll through some social media posts from other teachers' accounts to see what some of their favorite lessons were over the year that I might like to try! (TCS)

3. Purge. I used to have file cabinets full of student work, example projects, art supplies and extra copies. Eventually, I saw a pattern. Many of the art supplies would dry out over the summer. Once in a while, I'd use an example of a project from a previous year, but most of the time, they would collect dust. As for the extra copies, well, I'm continually changing and tweaking what I do, so those just began to fill up the file cabinets. Purging is important because when you return at the beginning of the next school year, the lack of clutter will make you feel energized. If you feel overwhelmed by the task in May, have students help you. Give everyone a job. Organization, responsibility, and community are important life skills that students can learn during this time. Plus, they love helping. (RWH)

4. Practice Public Speaking. By the end of the year, most students are more comfortable with their peers after spending months together in a classroom. This is a good time to practice public speaking skills. Use topics that they are familiar with or have a strong opinion about. You might want to complete a short unit on this or just spend a few minutes at the start of every class to talk about issues that are important to them, new events occurring nationally or internationally, or even pop-culture happenings! You may also want to ask students to write a few topics down on a piece of paper, then at the start of each class (or over a few class periods) pull out a new topic and see what everyone has to say about it! (TCS)

5. Try something new. When I have extra time in May, I want to fill it with meaningful content. If you haven't tried an escape room, scaffolding a one-pager, flipping a lesson, asking students to teach an activity, using stations, project-based learning, or jigsaws (just to name a few), now is the time! Students will appreciate the fresh teaching approaches, and you will learn what works best and what doesn't so that you feel more confident about incorporating those activities as part of your standard curriculum. (RWH)

6. Have some fun! I don't know about you, but I love to end the year off with a bang! I need a break and the students do too, but more importantly, I want my students to leave my classes with fun memories because they will remember these for years to come. So, I created an End of the Year Escape Room, where students have to work collaboratively to solve various trivia puzzles (activities or tasks they would technically have to do at the end of the year!) For example, return library books, clean out their desks and lockers, apply for a summer job, pick up their yearbooks and finally, pass the exam! This activity is a win-win for all. Your students can enjoy a bit of friendly competition and you can enjoy watching them having fun and working together. The best part? NO GRADING! You may choose to assign marks for participation, but I do not anticipate you will have too many issues with students not wanting to take part! 😃 (TCS)


7. Teach Kindness. The end of the school year is the perfect time to engage in meaningful activities that apply to real life. Standardized testing is over, the bulk of the curriculum is taught, and the weather is warm. Students appreciate meaningful discussions, and the end of the school year is often a time where some teens begin to demonstrate more maturity. Teachers can show movies like Wonder, read and discuss novels like Tuesdays with Morrie, or even teach students how to use kindness emails to encourage others. (RWH)

8. Change up the decor. This is a good time to freshen up your bulletin boards and posters that you might have hanging around your room. Add a burst of color to your classroom by using tissue paper as a background. It's both easy and very affordable! Also, a fun way to add a burst of color to your whiteboards would be to add magnetic strips (or tape) to the back of your borders and simply apply those to the perimeter. It's also a great way to organize different sections on a whiteboard. For example, a homework area. (TCS)

9. Encourage reading. At the end of the school year, one of my goals is to get students to make a summer reading list. I want them talking about books. I want them making book recommendations, reflecting on how they have grown as a reader, and analyzing what aspects of books they enjoy most. Take students to the public library. Let them peruse the shelves. Invite your librarian to do book talks. Have students record book commercials and post them on a class website that they can access over the summer. Host discussion groups so students can share their favorite texts from the school year. Coordinate with the teachers who your students will have the following year to organize a summer reading program. Do whatever it takes to ignite their passion for reading. (RWH)

10. Set goals. This is an activity that can be done by both students and teachers. What are some things that you did well this year? What do you hope to do the same or change next year? Start with making a bucket list of things that you wish to do over the summer break, which will help you prepare for the fall. Whether it's reading, writing or working towards an athletic goal, setting your sights on new things will encourage you to strive harder to reach your goals. So, grab a notebook and get writing!(TCS)

Thanks for reading our post! We hope that we have given you a few ideas to wrap up the next few weeks!

What are a few things that you do at the end of the year?

The Classroom Sparrow & Reading and Writing Haven

1 comment

  1. Host discussion groups so students can share their favorite texts from the school year. Coordinate with the teachers who your students will have the following year to organize a summer reading program. Do whatever it takes to ignite their passion for reading. https://topacademictutors.com