Ideas to promote positivity and growth
Teacher Resources

3 end-of-school ideas that promote positivity and growth

It’s been another crazy school year full of disruptions and stress for you and your students. But despite obstacles, you’ve all learned a lot and grown together! 

As the year wraps up, it’s the perfect time to look back at how far you’ve all come and look forward to future growth. Read on for three end-of-school ideas that will help you promote positivity and help students carry learning into summer and fall. 

Reflect on the year and what students have learned  

You reflect on what worked and what didn’t when you deliver a lesson for the first time. Asking your students to reflect on their own learning can give you valuable feedback and provide them with a variety of benefits.  

You’ll see if there are any areas that students don’t feel confident about, and then you can adapt the last few weeks of instruction to fill any gaps. Students will build self-awareness, recognize their own growth, and understand more about how they learn best. 

Reflection is valuable for all ages, but you can tailor the practice to fit your students’ level. A journal is a great tool for students to organize their thoughts, plus they can take it home with them and continue to use it over the summer.  

A good end-of-school activity is asking students to reflect on their favorite things from the past year.

For younger students, use simple prompts: 

  • What was your favorite thing we did this year? 
  • Name three things you’ve learned this year. 
  • What was your favorite thing you learned in math/ELA/science, etc.?  
  • What was something [teacher’s name] did that helped you learn? 
  • What do you think you got better at?  
  • What do you think you’d like to work on more? 

Ask older students the following: 

  • What are your overall thoughts about this school year?  
  • Describe one of your most challenging moments from this year. How did you overcome it? 
  • What is something you learned that you will use in the future? 
  • Could [teacher’s name] have done anything differently to help you learn? 
  • What do you think you got better at? 
  • What do you think you’d like to work on more? 
  • Did you reach any goals this year? What were they? 
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Find out how to make the most of your SEL funding

Get tips and recommendations for effective mental health and SEL supports in this comprehensive guide. 

Communicate positive growth to parents  

It’s not only students that benefit from reflecting on the year. Parents will be very interested in hearing about their child’s accomplishments from both you and their child. The more you can communicate results to them, the more they can do to continue to support their child’s academic and personal growth.  

  • Ask students to share or discuss their journal reflections with their parents. This may open a dialogue about how habits at home are impacting school performance. 
  • Ask students what they think their best work was this year and task them with creating a portfolio. They can either take the portfolio home to show their parents, or you can share it with parents during end-of-year conferences. 
  • Have students redo an assignment that they completed early in the year. They can show their parents the comparison to illustrate the progress they made. 
  • Have students create a “Top 10 Things I Learned This Year” list to share with their parents. You can keep it open-ended or guide students to focus on social-emotional skills, core subject knowledge, or other areas. 
Just because it's the end of the year, doesn't mean the learning stops there.

Don’t let growth stop over the summer

You’ve gained a lot of momentum and there are things you can do to keep students learning over the summer and into the fall.  

  • If students need a little extra help in a core subject area, think about sending them home with an individual student kit that provides engaging activities to build up their skills in math, science, and STEM/STEAM
  • As you know, reading has been shown to be one of the key ways to combat summer slide. Team up with your school librarian to create summer checkout bags, and encourage students to participate in their local library’s summer reading program. 
  • Mental health support and social-emotional learning are other important areas of focus, as students will carry those skills forward to every aspect of their lives. Especially in stressful times, giving them tools and strategies for self-management is vital. Many school districts are investing in take-home kits that can travel with students wherever they go, even when school is out of session, including these teacher favorites:

    • Nasco First Aid Classroom Kits: Student Mental Health, Grades K–5 and 6–12 
    Nasco Managing Our Emotions At Home SEL Student/Family Kit
    Nasco I Spy, I Move: Self-Management Adventures in Body and Mind Kit for PE & SEL 

  • Keep their creativity flowing with personal art kits that will keep them sketching, drawing, painting, and doodling all summer long. 

Despite this being a challenging year for many students and teachers, there’s a lot of positivity and growth to look back on and celebrate. What end-of-school ideas will you share with your students? 

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