End with a Bang! 10 Ideas for Mind-Blowing Last Lessons
The end of the year is a special time for any class. Students may have a tough time focusing on getting through the final days of school, but there is a lot you can do to keep them engaged.
End your school year with a bang by employing some of these creative and fun ideas for memorable last lessons!
Try These 10 Mind-Blowing Last Lesson Ideas
Have a Pot luck or Class Picnic
Having a pot luck or picnic is both a meaningful and relaxed wrap up to the school year. You’ll want to organize this ahead of time and make sure students are well aware of what they need to do. Be sure that students are assigned tasks from setting up to cleaning up to bringing in food and drinks. This can necessitate some interesting lessons before the picnic where you can brainstorm a theme and have students sign-up for what they would like to bring. It’s a fantastic way for multi-cultural classes to share some of their food traditions and you may want to incorporate description and discussion of foods into the day.
Yearbook Nominations…Most likely to…
Yearbook-type nominations will really get your class buzzing. About a week or two before the last class organize the list of nominations and go through them with the class. You can easily adapt them for age and level. Some examples could be: best smile, loudest, silliest, quietest, most likely to go to the principal’s office, most likely to be president, most likely to be an English teacher, most likely to give next year’s teacher a headache, etc. On the last day hand out awards, and ask the students make acceptance speeches! Just be sure that each student gets awarded for something.
You’ll want to start this project well in advance so that you have time to put it together. Give the students a set of questions that they can choose to answer in journal format. This is good review of writing techniques. Topics could be: your favorite lesson, the most difficult thing you learned, or something you will never forget. Then students choose one of their reflections to rework and refine. Collect their final works and put them into a booklet to hand out on the last day of class.
Memory booklets are pretty simple and easy to put together. Design a simple blank book that the students can fill in on the last days of school. You can make it as modest or as extravagant as you would like. You could include sections for things like, my favorite memory, self-portraits, autographs, and things we learned. Students then spend the last day filling in each other’s books.
This has become increasingly popular and easy to do for a class project or celebration. Have students bring in plain t-shirts. Then supply them with markers and paints which they can use to make handprints or other designs on their t-shirt. The students go around the room and draw on or autograph each other’s t-shirts. They turn out to be cool keepsakes and the activity itself is very energizing!
Talk Behind Your Back
This is an entertaining way to begin or end a last lesson. Each student has a blank piece of paper taped to their backs. Students then circulate around the room and write positive things about each other on each other’s papers. They can mingle around for as long as it takes. Then they remove the papers from their backs, and read all the wonderful comments. It can also create a lot of good conversation and you can have students verbally praise each other. This works especially well with kids, but even adults find it entertaining to see what people think about them!
For a class that loves to talk and share, impromptu speeches can be really engaging and meaningful! Be sure to set a short time limit to make sure everyone in the class gets to speak. Have a hat full of random ideas and good review topics that the students draw. They then speak for minute. Don’t put too many limitations on this activity and allow them to have fun with it and run with ideas and language. Be sure that you have many more ideas than there are students so they can do a second round if time allows.
This is a very simple idea. Have the students’ favorite games ready to go. Then allow the class as a whole to direct the day and choose which games they want to play at which times. You could also take this and turn it into some kind of tournament for the last few days of class. Things like Scrabble, Jeopardy, or English Olympics work well to get the competition going.
Thank you Notes
This activity is applicable for older or more advanced students. Have them choose one or two people that they will then write thank you notes to. Tell them to think about the year and consider who really helped them get through it and why they are thankful for that person. They can work on rough drafts ahead of time then shape into really thoughtful and meaningful hand-made cards. Students then discuss with the class who they thanked and why. You could also have them make cards for one another.
If you have a class that particularly enjoys music and learning songs in English, you could use your last class to sing songs. Review songs they’ve learned throughout the year, teach them new ones or have the students bring in some of their favorite songs for the group! This is a lively and energetic way to end the school year, and you could even have the class sing a song or two for other classes.
It is so worthwhile to take some time to dream up creative and well-thought out last lessons.
Your students will leave the class happy and energized and ready for their next challenges. For teachers it is a significant way to create memories and show your classes just how much they mean to you!
I am an ex-ESL teacher who has transitioned from that industry into the field of adult education. I have a long history of teaching ESL in numerous countries and varied classroom settings. I’ve also taught a variety of learners, but found I loved teaching teens and adults the best. I spent three years certifying and training want-to-be teachers in China and the Czech Republic. I am also a writer and editor interested in anything to do with education, travel, and lifelong learning.
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