Are you looking for some end of year activities to do with your class? Are you hoping to find something that’s free and easy?
Hey, amazing teacher! I’ve got some ideas for you!
This post was updated on May 3, 2023.
I’ve picked 4 of my favorite end of year activities for you to do with your class. Best of all, they don’t cost a dime. They use things you already have in the classroom. You might notice that these are things you can do all year long, not just at the end of the school year. Keep these games in your teacher toolbox for any time your students need to get the wiggles out.
These four ideas are fun, quick to do, and some of them can be done outside or inside. You choose the venue!
This post was updated on May 3, 2023.
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End of Year Activity 1: One Side or the Other
I first heard of this game on a radio show while I was driving to school. This game became a perennial favorite in my classroom. The kids asked to play it all year long. I also used it as a fun way to review all the things at the end of the school year. Older students enjoy it just as much as younger students. Here is how to play:
You need some questions to ask as you play the game. Pull out some task cards that you’ve used during the year, or you can make a quick list of questions. I had a list of grade level trivia questions that I kept in my binder. But task cards are perfect for this. You want to adapt the question to have a two choice answer. Those answers become the two sides of the game.
If you’re playing outside, lay a jump rope down as a center line. A basketball court is a perfect place to play outside or in the gym. In the classroom, simply choose two sides of the classroom.
How to Play One Side or the Other
You ask a question, and indicate the side of the room for each answer. For example, “Where do you look for the meaning of a word in a textbook?
Point to each side of the room as you say the answers.
One side: the glossary.
The other side: the index.
Students have 5 seconds to decide which side of the room to move to indicating their answer. Warning, there will be a lot of giggling and wiggling involved. 🙂
Once the students are all on their chosen side, time’s up and you give the answer. Anyone who is on the correct side of the room is still in the game. The others sit down, and do a different activity at their desk. If you’re outside, have them do some active movement and then sit down to enjoy the rest of the game.
Play until you have only one person left standing. That person wins! Yay!
Here’s an idea for a free prize. Students love it. I mean they REALLY LOVE it.
The winner gets to be the emcee of the next game. Is there anything more fun than getting to ask the questions for the next game?
You can play One Side or the Other to review any concepts you want to cover. I used to throw in the occasional fun question, like, “What is Mrs. Pitner’s favorite baseball team?” or “What is Mrs. Pitner’s dog’s name?” Something of that sort. It was a humbling experience, because even after a year, quite a few students still couldn’t answer correctly!
I hope you can use this game in your class. If you do, let me know how it goes.
End of Year Activity 2: Math Wheels
This is a team game that my students loved to play. It’s essentially a relay race to complete all the math facts in a circle with spokes. It’s a great end of year activity for the four basic math operations.
Students work in teams.
Each student may only complete one math fact in a turn.
If a student makes a mistake, they leave the answer on the circle. Another student on their team may correct the mistake, but that will be their one math fact in their turn.
No shouting out answers or telling the answer to the person taking their turn.
The math circles look like this:
You can draw your math wheels on the whiteboard. Before I had math wheels, I drew them on paper plates. You can make them have as many or as few factors as you want. This is an example of 12 factors and a blank wheel for 10 factors, but you can make them as small as 4 factors.
Free Multiplication Wheels
Another idea if you want to use these all year is to laminate the wheels. Place them on a bulletin board or in a station. Students can practice with them all year long during free time or station time.
This was a fun way to practice multiplication. You can also use it for addition, subtraction, and division as well.
I always wrote the factors on the second row of the circle out of order, and I made each wheel different. That way a student won’t be tempted to look over at another team’s answers and copy them.
You can use the same wheels over and over if you laminate them. All you need to do is change the factor in the center circle with a dry erase marker.
The students write their answers on the outer spokes of the wheel. The first team to complete the wheel correctly wins.
Activity 3: ELA Relay Races
This game has so many variations. Use your imagination and change it up every time you play. That way it won’t get boring for anyone. I suggest you play it outside, but it can be adapted to indoors too.
Set up a station with a review task for the students. It could be math wheels, a math facts worksheet, or my favorite, task cards with a recording sheet.
If you’re playing with task cards, you can set up a basket with the task cards and have a clipboard with the answer sheet. Students can flip through the task cards to find one they know they can answer correctly. It can help to have the task cards on a ring, but that would take some prepping.
If you’re using a math or ELA worksheet, just put it on a clipboard. So simple!
Add Some Activity Challenges to the End of Year Relay
Decide what you want the students to do for their relay. I like to have them balance a cup with a pencil and eraser in it on top of a frisbee. They have to walk or run through cones to get to the station.
You could also have them bounce a rubber ball or basketball to the station. Skip to the station. Jump rope to the station. That’s the beauty of this game. You can make it different every time.
When the student gets to the station, they complete one problem and return with the pencil and eraser.
What if the pencil breaks? They have to run all the way back to their team and get a new pencil. Wah-wah-wah!
Activity 4: Would You Rather Squared
In case you aren’t familiar with the Would You Rather format of questions, they’re a simple and fun way to get students thinking, talking, and writing. We use them in California as part of our language development tests.
Basically, you ask a two-sided question, such as, “Would you rather be an astronaut or a deep sea explorer?” The student decides, and then must give you two reasons to support their choice.
Would You Rather Squared is a talking and writing game based on the same activity, but it’s combined with One Side or the Other, and Four Corners.
Sound confusing? Let me explain.
How to play Would You Rather Squared
- Set up a chart paper or large whiteboard in four corners of your classroom. Label them A, B, C, D.
- Have a question ready that begins with, “Would you rather…” and has four options. For example, “Would you rather (a) be an astronaut, (b) be a deep sea explorer, (c) be a jet pilot, or (d) be a wilderness explorer?”
- Read the question to your students. They choose their answer and move to the corner that matches their answer.
- Students are now in four groups. Have the students come up with four reasons to support their choice.
- In their groups, students will write a short paragraph explaining their choice. They can write it together on the chart paper.
- Finally, the students will share their paragraphs with the class by doing an all-share or by doing a gallery walk.
- If a group finishes early, they can illustrate their paragraph with colored markers.
This activity is low pressure, high fun, and keeps students engaged while writing. You can make your questions as silly or as serious as you like.
Two More Activities in the Next Post
This post is getting long, so you can continue reading in the next post with four more end of the school year activities that don’t cost a dime.
You can also check out the FREE and low cost products in this post: End of School Year Activities That Are Free or Low Cost.
You’ll find even more free ideas and resources in my blog post for Teacher Appreciation Week.
If you want to be notified when the post goes up, just subscribe to the free video course or for the three day sample of my writing prompts journals.
Have you heard about my five day video course called “Plan Your Year Like a Boss in 5 Days or Less”? It comes to your email in a PDF file with links to all the videos. Even if you’re not ready to start curriculum mapping right now, you can sign up for the course and keep it in your back pocket for later in the summer or fall when you do start planning the next school year.
Last of all, the Daily Writing Prompts for next month are in the store and ready for you! For May Lemonade Day there is a super fun video about a STEM Lemonade stand. A group of people who have WAY TOO MUCH TIME on their hands used kinetic and potential energy to create a cause and effect chain of events to pour a cup of lemonade. It’s Ah-May-Zing! You don’t want to miss this video!
Have fun during these last weeks of school!