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End-of-Year Closure Activities for All Grades

Closure activities offer an opportunity to wrap up a successful school year, build students' self-esteem and promote positive classroom climate. The creative end-of-year activity suggestions below even allow young people to dream about and plan for the future. Students and teachers alike will be inspired about the endless possibilities ahead!

Grades K-5

Looking Back

Invite students to reflect upon, and answer, one or more of the following questions:

This past school year…

  • How did you surprise yourself?
  • What did you learn about yourself?
  • How did you help someone?
  • Who or what helped you?
  • Of what accomplishment were you most proud?
  • What was the best thing you wrote?
  • What was your most important discovery?
  • What do you understand better now than you did at the beginning of the school year?
  • What challenges did you overcome?
  • My favorite activity was ________ because ________ .

Students can write out their answers or share them verbally during class discussion. Alternately, create a video or audio recording of students answering one or more questions of your—or their—choice. Post the recording on a secure class Web site, emailing the link to parents for them to enjoy.

Compliment Book

  1. Explain what it means to compliment—or say a kind thing about—another person, and give some examples.
  2. Provide slips of uniform-sized paper, or
    3 x 5 cards that are decorated with stars and on which is written:

    This year,  ________________ was a shining star because ______________________________________________.
  3. Have students privately fill out a slip/card for each other student in the class (or if the class is large, have each student fill out a slip/card for a certain number of classmates, ensuring that each student will end up with the same number of completed cards about him/herself). Note that the student’s name should appear in the first blank, and the compliment should appear in the second blank. Teachers should also complete a slip/card for each child. Decide whether the compliments will be anonymous, or whether students will sign their names.
  4. Set up a means of collecting the slips/cards for each student (e.g., paper lunch bags with students’ names on them). On the last day of school, have students staple their slips/cards together to form a book. Provide construction paper to form a cover. If you’ve taken photos of students throughout the year, each child can place a picture of him/herself on the cover. If not, they can simply write their names.
  5. Put the completed books on display and let students autograph each others’ books. Students can bring the books home as keepsakes.

TIP: If working with young children who have less-developed writing skills, create video or audio recordings of students sharing their compliments about each classmate. Post the recordings on a secure class Web site, emailing the link to parents for them to enjoy.


Grades 6-8

Share a Goal

  • Give each student a slip of paper and invite him or her to write one goal for the future. Decide whether the goals will be anonymous, or whether students will sign their names.
  • Display the goals on a bulletin board, on a class Web site or in a school newsletter article. Alternately, have students place their goals into a hat, mix them up, and then select one (not their own) to read aloud to the class. The teacher can share some goals of his/her own. In addition, the teacher might want to share some hopes for the students’ future.

Ready for Action

  1. Have students complete a sheet of paper that include the sections (1) Goal and (2) Action Steps.
  2. Students should describe a personal life goal and indicate how many months (or even years) from now they expect to reach that goal. Then they should write out a few clear action steps they will need to take in order to reach the goal. Teachers will want to provide a few examples to model the scope of the life goal and the amount of detail expected.
  3. Once students have completed their sheets, ask them to trade papers with a partner. That partner can ask questions and write down the answers they receive in order to elaborate on, or clarify, what was originally written. For example, the initial goal may have been too vague, or the student may have missed an important action step that would be needed in order to reach the goal. Have students write on their partners’ paper in red pen, or use a highlighter, to indicate new material that was added to each sheet.
  4. Follow up with class discussion. Why is it important to plan action steps in order to achieve a goal? What kinds of interesting and ambitious goals have we, as a class, set for ourselves? Did we learn anything about what it takes to achieve particular goals? What about your partner’s goal inspired you?


Grades 9-12

Commencement Speech Challenge

Consider the advice given to Class of 2013 graduates by some of the smartest and most successful professionals in the world. In an exclusive series on LinkedIn, “The Commencement Speeches You Wish You’d Heard,” 80+ LinkedIn Influencers, including Richard Branson, Maria Shriver, Randi Zuckerberg and Craig Newmark, shared original posts containing memorable words of wisdom for young graduates.

Ask students to browse the posts and discuss (or write out answers to) one or more of the following questions:

  • Is there a particular speech or quote that was particularly meaningful or inspirational to you? Why? How do the speaker’s words and ideas apply to you and/or your peers?
  • Did a speaker or speakers challenge your assumptions or beliefs in any way? Are you thinking about your future any differently as a result of his/her words?
  • Pick a quote with which you strongly agree or disagree, and justify your answer.
  • If you were asked to deliver a commencement speech to your peers, come up with an original quote (a sentence or two) that you’d include in the speech.

Tech Inspiration

The remarkable slideshow The Creative Internet (106 Things), curated by @tomux, identifies innovations enabled by new technology and demonstrates the power of technology to transform our lives.

Ask students to discuss (or write out answers to) one or more of the following questions:

  • Pick something in the slideshow that inspires you and explain why you selected it.
  • In what way(s) will you and/or your generation change the world or inspire others?
  • What will you invent, solve, fix or build upon (this doesn’t necessarily have to involve technology)?
  • How will the world be different (choose one: 5 years from now, 10 years from now, or ____ years from now)?
  • How are your life goals different (or how will they be different) from those of your parents?


Article by Celine Provini, EducationWorld Editor
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