End of the School Year Activities for Kids

Written by Charlie Merrow

May 11, 2021

Blog | Social-emotional Learning

3 End of School Year Activities

As the end of the school year quickly approaches, it is important to find ways for students to reflect on their experiences from the past year and find some closure. Reflective self-awareness helps students build resilience in the classroom, at home, and among peers.

Explicitly teaching goodbyes is an important skill and part of our K-8 SEL programming. We encourage you to take a moment to teach children how to say goodbye or check out the full lesson plan.

 

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Empowering Education offers full lesson plans for teachers on teaching kids how to say goodbye.

 

Reflective self-awareness helps students build resilience in the classroom, at home, and among peers. Aside from explicit instruction and activities on goodbyes, here are two fun activities to try out with your students to wrap up this school year through reflection. 

Write a Letter to Your 2020 Self

Perhaps you’ve read about writing a letter to your future self. Well, what about writing a letter to our past self? What are some things you would tell your past-self that you now know and have learned throughout this challenge year we all experienced? Have students take a bit of time to reflect on the past year through writing a letter to their 2020 self. What are some things they wish they knew back then?

If your students are stuck, consider following this format: 

 

 

Aside from explicit instruction on goodbyes, here are three fun activities to try out with your students to wrap up this school year through reflection.

 

end of school year activities

 

1. Have Students Write a Letter to Their Past-Selves

Perhaps you’ve read about writing a letter to your future self. Well, what about writing a letter to our past self? What are some things you would tell your past-self?

Have students take a bit of time to reflect on the past year through writing a letter to their 2020 self. What are some things they wish they knew back then?

If your students are stuck, consider following this format:

 

Dear 2020 Self, 

Here are three awesome things that will happen to you: 

  1. _____________________________
  2. _____________________________
  3. _____________________________

Here are a few really strange and surprising things that happen to you this year:

  1. _____________________________
  2. _____________________________
  3. _____________________________

Here is one challenging thing that you will overcome this year:

  • _____________________________

Here are three things that you are really grateful for this year: 

  1. _____________________________
  2. _____________________________
  3. _____________________________

Your friend,
Your Future Self

 

2. Practice Roses and Thorns 

One effective method of reflective practice is through Roses and Thorns. While some may do this activity weekly or even daily, at the end of the school year consider doing one big rose and Thorns reflecting on the entire school year.

 

image of red rose to teach self-reflection for students with text saying "I went out and kicked the ball around in the field" and "my playdate with my best friend was cancelled"

 

Roses are the positive experiences and Thorns are the negative or challenging experiences faced. By having students reflect on their Roses you’re asking them to practice gratitude. Research has shown the benefits of coping skills like daily gratitude practice, including better physical health. By having children reflect on their Thorns from the past year, you’re giving them space to voice what’s bothering them.

Ready for a bit more 'Roses and Thorns'? Try adding “buds”—the things that you’re looking forward to for next school year. One benefit to that addition is that it ends each person’s reflection on a positive note. Learn more about Roses Ad Thorns let us know if this ends up becoming a useful part of your family or classroom practice!

 

3. Use Mindful Art to Reflect on the Year

Using art as a mindfulness tool can provide a uniquely accessible opportunity to let the mind process events and emotions. That's why mindfulness and art are also becoming more popular as a form of therapy for young people. Mindfulness-based art therapy brings together mindfulness and artistic expression in which the process of creating is the important part, not the finished product.

 Have students draw a memory from this school year. Or, provide a creative writing prompt about something you experienced together as a class. 



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Written by

Charlie Merrow

Charlie has over a decade of experience working in education across the world in North America, Asia, and Africa as a classroom teacher, curriculum specialist, university instructor, and educational researcher. His passion lies in promoting education equity and development through mindfulness and inclusive practices. Charlie has a MA in Special Education, is a PhD candidate studying Education Equity, a licensed special education teacher, a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, and a certified yoga instructor.

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