My Favorite End of Year Activity
The end of the school year can be hard, especially if you still have a few weeks left after finishing your content instruction for the year. On the one hand, we want to leave our students with pleasant memories of our final days together. On the other hand, we still want our time together to be meaningful and structured. How can we as teachers facilitate both of these things in such a crazy and stressful time? Well, I have the perfect end of year activity for you to try.
An Easy End of Year Activity
Two years ago, I was in this exact situation. It was our last full day of school with no parties, assemblies, or benchmarks and I had finished all of our instruction for the year. I needed something meaningful, but also low-prep because, well…I was planning this lesson the very morning I needed it.
Finally, it hit me – what’s the absolute best way to learn? To teach! I would have my students play teacher for the day and prepare a lesson to teach the class.
You guys, this was probably the best idea I’ve ever had. I’m certainly not the first teacher to employ this strategy, but I’m so glad I drank the Kool-Aid. My students were engaged, they were putting into practice the skills they’d learned all year, and I didn’t really have to do a thing. Win-win-win!!!
Here’s how you can successfully pull off this end of year activity, as well.
How to Have Students Teach the Class as an End of Year Activity
Below are the steps I followed to make this activity a success. These are only my suggestions – of course, you should do what’s best for your class and modify as needed!
1. Put Students into Groups
Depending on your class size, I recommend having students work in groups for this activity to save time. If each student plans and teaches their own lesson, it could take quite a bit of time. My class size wasn’t super large, so I assigned each student with a partner (with one group of 3) whom I thought they would work well with. Students worked together with their partner to both plan and present their lesson.
2. Teach Them How to Teach
Of course, my students had never been teachers before, so I gave them the runaround on the components of a good lesson plan. I explained that typically, they will include a lesson, an activity for practice, and some kind of assessment to check for understanding. I also told them that the topic they chose to teach on should be something we learned this year in 2nd grade math. After explaining this and answering questions, they got to work.
3. Give Them Creative Freedom
I gave my students 100% creative freedom in planning their lessons. They could choose the topic and teach it however they wanted. They were allowed to use any supplies I had available in my room to go with their lesson. You certainly don’t have to do that, but it was the last week of school so I didn’t mind. The only role I played in their planning was helping them find supplies as needed, and answering questions. They did all the rest!
4. Let Them Teach
I allowed my student pairs to prepare their lesson for about 45 minutes to an hour. (I had each of my classes for about 2.5 hours total, so this allowed plenty of time for them to present.). Students had a time limit of 10 minutes to present their lesson to the class.
You guys…their lessons were AMAZING! I was seriously so impressed with their creativity and definitely got some great ideas for the next year. They created games, made up activities, put on puppet shows…it was so awesome!
I had parents tell me how their kids could not stop talking about how they got to be teachers for the day. It meant so much to them! And I know they learned a lot by doing it. I will forever recommend this end-of-year activity to all teachers.
Free Student Lesson Plan
If you would like to use this activity in your class, click here to download a free student lesson plan template. This can be given to your students to fill out if you wish to have them actually create a lesson plan. The free download also comes with a digital version that can be used with Google Classroom if you wish to use this activity for distance learning.