This year, your end of the year celebrations are going to look very different. What you’re used to is celebrations, gifts, award ceremonies, and other summer kick-off activities. Now you’re digitally teaching and missing your kiddos. I’m gathering up a few virtual end of the year ideas to suggest instead of your normal end of the year celebrations. I’ll discuss read alouds, gifts, awards, summer packets to send home, and even an end of the year countdown.
Below, I will outline a few ideas that will look different for you. These ideas are going to be changed just a bit to fit your new virtual teaching situation…
- End of the Year Virtual Read Alouds
- Zoom End of the Year Celebration
- Balloon Pop Countdown
- Awards Ceremonies over Zoom
- Digital Memory Books
- Gifts to Send
- Prevention of the Summer Slide
Virtual Read Alouds for the End of the Year
Not only are your end of the year activities looking different this year, but so are your read alouds. They may be more difficult to do over a Zoom call with your students, but I definitely think there is still a true benefit for them. I have suggested four read alouds below. Each of these end of the year read alouds are highly engaging for a student to listen to at the end of the year. Try reading one a day or one every other day during that final week. Each of the links below are affiliate links to Amazon.
- The Night Before Summer Vacation by Natasha Wing
- Last Day Blues by Julie Danneberg
- And Then Comes Summer by Tom Brenner
- Do Not Bring Your Dragon to School by Julie Gassman
Prepare a Zoom EOY Party
If you’re used to having a last day of school party, don’t cancel those plans. You can make the end of the year special, even if it is from afar. You can plan to have a Zoom party with your kiddos. You can even create and send out invites to make the party an official last day of school celebration. Let the kiddos chat and see each other one last time!
Ideas for your EOY Party:
- First, create a slideshow of pictures from your year. Screenshare your slideshow for students to watch with you. You can even send a copy of this slideshow to parents for them to keep forever.
- Then, ask each kiddo to share their favorite school memory. They can volunteer or you can go one-by-one and ask everyone’s response.
- Finally, you can have a themed celebration… I have seen teachers have beach-themed parties, camping themed parties, and other summer-themed ideas.
Virtual End of the Year Countdown
Every year, I suggest the balloon pop countdown. The traditional version involves the teacher rolling up little cards and sticking them into balloons. Making a full bulletin board out of these balloons is a great way to display them when you’re in the classroom. At the end of each school day, the teacher will pop a balloon (if earned for positive behavior). Then, the following day, students will celebrate their countdown with whatever is on that balloon. However, this year will look quite different. I have changed the prompts within the balloons to fit your new reality. I’ve added things you can do over a computer. I still suggest putting the new virtual version in the balloons and popping them over a Zoom call for students. Download that FREEBIE here.
I also wrote this blog post which goes more in depth into each of the virtual activities… Read that blog post here.
Awards Ceremonies Over Zoom
You don’t want to take away the students’ awards ceremony. A lot of parents and kiddos look forward to those positive reinforcements for their hard work through the year! Instead of a real awards ceremony, why not try an official ceremony over a Zoom call. First, I suggest download a photo of a stage with closed curtains. You can display this as your background in your Zoom call to make it look like you’re on a stage. You can really “set the stage” for your ceremony here. Then, you can plan your awards. I suggest printing them out and laminating them like you would every year… You can add this to your collection of belongings you’ll have to return to your students at the end of the year or you can mail it to your students via snail mail.
I also suggest sending a digital version of this to your students’ parents so they can choose how they want to use it. The awards that I have created aren’t specifically digital awards, but I have an editable version that you can create individual PDFs of to send to parents after you’ve written their child’s name into the editable form.
Link: EOY Awards
Creating Digital Memory Books
Memory books are also going to look different this year. Usually, you print memory books and complete a couple a day until the entire collection can be made into a booklet and sent home. This year, I suggest a digital memory book! You can send the entire memory book to the students to fill out as they please, or you can send them page by page to assign. As they send the pages back to you one at a time, you can work to compile new Google Slides collections of each students’ work. Although that’s a lot of extra steps, it will help your younger students not get overwhelmed with all the slides at once. If you think your kiddos can handle all slides at once to complete a few days a day, you can go ahead and share the memory book in one set.
Whichever way you choose to assign the digital memory book, your students will be given the opportunity to insert pictures or draw pictures of specific memories, then add a written memory, too.
Prevent the Summer Slides with Digital Summer Practice Packets
Summer packets are useful to students because they help review skills. Typically, you would print off a summer review packet to send home to students. This year, you have the option to send home a digital set instead. Students are going to be used to their digital work because of the last few week of work. If you don’t have a way to get them a paper version of a summer practice packet, send a virtual copy!
Links: Summer Review Packets K-3 (or scroll down to grab individual grade level links)
End of the Year Gifts to Consider
When gifting students an end of the year gift, you can choose how to deliver it to them. There are a few ways that you can share your gifts with your students…
- 1st option: Drop the gifts off at each students’ house. Ideas for these gifts…
- Themed summer bucket (sunglasses, bubbles, etc.)
- Themed activity bucket (Play-doh, paints, etc.)
- Books you get from Scholastic
- Picture frames of you and the student
- Candy with a special note
- 2nd option: If your school is doing a school pick-up where families will come 1 at a time to get their child’s belongings, you can leave it at school. Leave the gift with the students’ belongings at school for them to pick up!
- 3rd option: Choose a gift that you can virtually send to them. Here are a few ideas for virtual gifts to send.
- Coupons for next year
- $5 gift cards to local restaurant or ice cream shop
Suggested Resources with DIGITAL access…
Here is a list of items that I’ve discussed throughout this blog post that are available to you. Each of the items listed below comes in both digital formatting and traditional paper formatting.
- End of the Year Memory Book
- Kindergarten Summer Packet
- 1st Grade Summer Packet
- 2nd Grade Summer Packet
- 3rd Grade Summer Packet
- End of the Year Flip Book
- Balloon Pop Virtual FREEBIE
- Awards (not digital, but can be emailed virtually)
Looking for more End of the Year blog posts? What about more digital teaching blog posts? Here are a few you may like!