10 Ideas to Make Memories with Your Class at the End of the Year

McGraw Hill
Inspired Ideas
Published in
4 min readMay 8, 2024

The end of the school year is nearly here. Breathe a sigh of relief, teacher! You did it. While this year was undoubtedly full of obstacles, it’s also your last few weeks or days with your current class of students. While you work through all the end-of-year tasks ahead, consider how you might carve out a little bit of time to make some lasting memories with your class. It’s their last time being in their current grade — and your last time with this set of learners.

Here are a few of our favorite end-of-year memory makers:

Get outside.

Any change of scenery will feel special to your students. Take advantage of the spring weather and get outside for a lesson, a 15-minute reading break, quiet time for journaling, a nature walk, or even a messy science experiment.

Write a letter to next year’s class.

Have students write a letter to your incoming class for next year. They can write about what they learned and what they liked about your class or give the younger students advice for succeeding in the new grade. To help, we created this template for early learners:

Put on a performance about the year.

Funnel all of that end-of-year giddiness and energy into a performance. Have students write and perform a skit, play, song, or even a spoken word poem. Their performance could be about what they learned this year, important events that happened during the year, or simply a fun story.

Create a mural.

Have students all contribute to a large mural — displayed in your room, hallway, or even outside — depicting what they learned this year and how they grew. If you want the art installation to be permanent, have students collaboratively work in one space and keep plenty of open space for future classes. Or collaborate with other teachers to create something beautiful across your grade for the year and replace it the following year.

Have a family open house.

Put the culmination of this year’s work, progress, and excitement on display. Invite parents to view a gallery of student work or attend a student performance. Consider letting students drive the open house, having them select the work they want on display or writing and producing the performance. Finish out the year by giving students the opportunity to exercise agency and feel pride in their accomplishments!

Write thank you notes for school staff.

Take an hour in the afternoon to have students write thank you notes for school staff. Then, take an in-building “field trip” to hand out the notes. Be sure to consider those staff members that are sometimes overlooked — from lunchroom staff to bus drivers to custodians. We’ve created this template to help:

Flip student-teacher roles with Genius Hour.

After a year of learning from you, give students the opportunity to take on the role of a teacher and share their expertise with their peers. Second-grade teacher Melisa Hayes defines Genius Hour as “an approach to learning where students educate each other, guided by their own interests, background knowledge, and curiosity to learn.” In her blog, she describes the process: students select a topic they’re passionate about, create a presentation on the topic, and teach the class about the topic.

Start a class-authored library.

Start a new tradition: Create a library of books authored by your students! Have students write and illustrate their own books (using collage or other artistic approaches if they don’t like to draw) and laminate and staple the books for a “class library.” The next year, have your new class read the books and create their own, building up your library with every new class. Students will love leaving a legacy in your classroom and sharing their imagination with younger learners.

Organize a school-wide grade hop.

While an event like this would require a lot of coordination with your school’s administrative and leadership teams, it would also be an exciting opportunity for students. Your school would take an afternoon toward the year’s end for students at each grade level to visit the next grade’s classrooms. Logistics are tricky and visits may need to be staggered across a week or a month to ensure teacher coverage. Consider having high school seniors (who have no grade up to visit!) volunteer to help with the event across the school.

Have a party!

Yes, it’s simple, but a simple end-of-year celebration can be such a joyful time for students (and teachers!) Plan a quick pizza or ice cream party for an afternoon at the end of the year with some music, games, and maybe time for a yearbook signing. To keep students at their desks for at least part of the party, consider incorporating a keepsake craft, like a thank-you gift for parents or anything that can be passed around and signed by classmates.

Best of luck finishing out the end of the year, teacher!

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McGraw Hill
Inspired Ideas

Helping educators and students find their path to what’s possible. No matter where the starting point may be.