As the last few weeks of term approach, it’s pretty tempting to pop on a movie or two. Or three. Whilst there’s definitely a place for a movie very occasionally, it’s not a good look in the wider school community
So, what are the alternatives? There are heaps of options for fun, engaging lessons and activities where children are still learning. Below is a list of some ideas and most could be adapted for any primary year level.
General knowledge buzz
Children are put in four mixed ability teams. They take it in turns to represent their team in the four ‘hot seats’ at the front of the classroom. Teacher asks a general knowledge question based on what has been covered in class throughout the year. You devise a response system, whether it’s hands up or using a buzzer etc. Winning answer remains in the hot seat and the rest of the seats are swapped by the next person in their team. Each correct answer is allocated points. Allocate a person to keep track of the points for you.
Teach a skill
Either individually or in pairs, students teach their class a skill they are good at. This could also be procedural text based. Roster on the children over several weeks to spread out the lessons and you’ll fill in heaps of time constructively. Some ideas might be magic tricks, origami, knitting, cooking, sports skills, minecraft tricks etc.
If you are skilled in gaming, you can set up challenges from within Minecraft or other virtual world games. This works especially well if you have used this before in class or if you link it to units you have covered throughout the year.
Children work independently on a range of tasks set by the teacher. Two or three weeks before the end of term, introduce and explain all the tasks. Students chose which activity they’d like to do during contract time and the teacher signs off when you they are finished each one. Christmas themed suggestions are: find a word, crosswords, online games, reading, numeracy activities, mandala colouring, decoration making, handwriting etc. You can pretty much use any curriculum area you have covered throughout the year and make it Christmas based.
Get the children into groups of four. Give them a budget, say $10,000. Together they plan a holiday they’d all like to go on within that budget. It must cover transport, accommodation, activities and food. They have a lot of fun researching!
Link up with your buddy class (or grade that is lower or higher) and make some Christmas decorations, read, play games etc. Older children can design and plan activities for their younger buddies.
Have students write a letter to themselves, referring to achievements and areas to improve in. Use prompts to promote ideas. You could mail these letters to students at the start of next year.
It’s warming up in Australia so make use of the outside as much as you can. Are there any lessons that can be transferred outside? Teach some new games. Ask children to teach games.
Children can write a play using the literacy skills they learnt this year. It must have a problem and a resolution, interesting setting and character development, as well as a plausible ending. Then perform them!
Put children in mixed sex groups of four. They plan a three course meal that each team member will be responsible for. Do this on a Thursday or Friday to allow parents time to shop and cook! Children are responsible for everything – table decorations, cutlery, bon bons, drinks, food, plates etc. Send home a letter to parents explaining the party structure. Children must check with their parents about bringing in the food. Here’s a link to a sample letter https://www.survivingandthriving.com.au/portfolio-item/sample-christmas-lunch-letter/
On party day children set up their table and eat together. It’s a lovely way to end the year.
There are plenty of Christmas themed recipes that can be made in the classroom. Truffles, white Christmas, decorating biscuits etc.
Write to Surviving and Thriving to tell us of your own great end of year activities for keeping your class engaged and learning.
Next week’s article is about reflecting on the year that was!
We hope you enjoy the last few weeks of term.