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How to Save Your Sanity at the End of The Year

A crumpled wad of paper flies past my face; I’m missing two kids, and wait for a second… is there something BURNING? The end of the school year can be tough, but I’ve come a long way since my first year. I’ll help you avoid making the same mistakes I did with my tried-and-true solutions for keeping sane during the end-of-the-school-year activities.

Routine and Predictability

It is important to remember that you provide a safe place for your students throughout the school year. 

Not all of them have happy, comfortable home lives, and the structure, routine, and predictability you provide in your classroom make their little lives easier. 

Sticking to your schedule, giving advance notice of any significant changes, and continuing with daily routines are great ways to keep your students from falling off the rails with weeks or months to go.

Gif: Silent Free Time

Keep Them Working

It can’t be all fun and games for the last six weeks of the school year, nor should it be. In my classroom, I keep my students working as much as possible until the bitter end.

This isn’t easy, especially once report cards are finished, and everything feels a little like “busy work,” but if you are creative, you’ll be just fine. 

I like to pull out our Memory Books. They take days to fully complete and allow my students to reflect on the great times we’ve had throughout the year.

Photo of printable and digital memory books with school supplies on white surface.

Collaborative art activities like this Memory Quilt:

Photo of memory quilt resource
Gif: Not on the exam.

Don’t Shut Down Too Early

I know that many of us get to a place in the spring where we are starting to think about next year already, or at the very least, anticipate running out the school doors on the last day and not looking back until September.

We have a list of things we want to accomplish before that time, including packing up the classroom.

I think it is important not to start shutting your classroom down too early for the same reasons that you shouldn’t let your routines go.

If students walk into an empty space because you’ve started tearing down your anchor charts and décor, you’ve sent them a message: “I’m done, so you might as well be done, too.”

Not a message you want to communicate with weeks or even days still to go!!

Gif: Busy Work

Enlist Student Help

With that said, I know that packing a classroom up at the end of the school year is best done when you have 20 or 25 willing little pairs of helping hands to make it easier.

I ALWAYS do the majority of the job with my students’ help. This keeps them busy, gives them shared ownership over this space you’ve shared for ten months, and allows them some closure as summer draws near.

Gif: Cleaning

Expectations and Follow-Through

As the end of the year draws nearer in my classroom, my students start to look and sound like little whirlwinds. Some are clearly very excited, while others are anxious and acting out.

Hard as it may be, I ensure that I consistently enforce all of my classroom rules and expectations and continue to deliver consequences as needed.

This goes hand-in-hand with a predictable routine. If it wasn’t okay to blurt out answers before, it shouldn’t be alright at the end of the school year.

Gif: Excited

Have Fun!

Of course, the end of the school year should also be fun!! You’re not a drill sergeant – you’re currently one of the most important individuals in these little people’s lives, and they will miss you terribly.

Have some fun with them. Go on a field trip, have a picnic, or do some things outside of your regular routine to celebrate the time you spent together.

One of my favorite things to do is an ABC Countdown at the end of the school year.

Photo of ABC Countdown on a bulletin board with yellow background and rainbow border.

For the last 26 days, every new day has a unique spin on it. These are really small, manageable events like Animal Day, where students get to bring a stuffed animal, Beach Day, or Crazy Hair Day – the day is really business as usual, but the kids don’t realize that!

Photo of ABC Countdown calendar and event strips on white surface with school supplies and colorful sunglasses.
Gif: Excited Kids

If you’re already done for the year – have a wonderful summer! If you’re in the final days or weeks – I hope you’ve found something here that saves your sanity as you count the days to your well-deserved vacation!

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