Many educators have settled into a grove of creating the best learning experiences they can for their students while still providing some meaning during distance learning. But as the days turn longer and the weather turns warmer, it’s time to begin thinking about how to celebrate all that has been accomplished.
It might not seem like there is much to celebrate but there truly is. You and your students survived. You made it through what can only be described as the most challenging school year in decades. And while there were bumps in the road and challenges to overcome you did just that.
When schools met in person, the end of the year was filled with many activities to celebrate the accomplishments of our students. Any while we are at a distance there are still ways that we can celebrate and reflect, it might just look a little different.
Here are 5 ways to celebrate the end of the Distance Learning School Year.
Write A Letter To Your Future Self-While many have been sharing what life in lockdown and quarantine has been like through the use of social media, once we are a year or more down the road it can be hard to remember exactly what all this was like. Writing a letter to your future self can be a great way to capture what is happening right now and revisiting it later. (It’s also a great way to work on literacy and grammar skills too for our littlest learners.)
Futureme.org is a great and easy to use site that allows you to do just this and it doesn’t require a log in. Simply head over to the page and start writing. Then you tell it when you want the letter to return to you; 1 year, 3 years, or 5 years, or even a specific date. Drop in an email address. (If the kids don’t have one they could use their parents) and you’re done. It’s free to use, however there are paid plans for educators that give you a few more options and it’s only $20 bucks a year.
Want a no tech option? Pen and paper are still the way to go after all these centuries. Have the students write the letter and mail them to the school. Once you are back, stash them a way and send them next year. Or the students themselves could write them and hide them and leave a reminder on the fridge to check that special spot on a date of their choosing.
Virtual Class Parties-A lot of students and teachers have added video meetings to their daily routines. These can be a great way to connect with everyone if even only briefly. As the end of the year approaches, consider using the video for more than just teaching and learning.
Give everyone the opportunity to share. These are just ideas:
- Favorite Book
- Favorite Toy
- Something They Are Proud Of
Virtual Class Games-Believe it or not you can play games over video. My friend Nick has been doing virtual game days for his friends and families children for a few weeks now and it’s a blast! Make a theme. Questions all about disney, kid movies, sports, whatever it is. Then put those questions in a Quizizz. Then get everyone together and play!
Scavenger Hunt-It might seem like a scavenger hunt can’t be done on video but guess what? It can! I got this idea from the Bon Appetit YouTube Channel. All their chefs are cooking from home and they went head to head to find weird and wacky items and ingredients in their kitchens.
Create a list ahead of time of some off the wall things you want the kids to find. (You don’t have to make it a race, although for older kids that could be fun to watch!)
- A CD, the older the better. Or a record (Do kids know what those are?)
- The oldest thing in their home
- Something you haven’t used in a year
- Create a wacky outfit
End of Year Video-A video compilation is another creative way to end the school year. You could use Flipgrid and give each student an opportunity to record a brief video on their thoughts and feelings about this school and share what they learned or what they hope for the future. I like Flipgrid for this because kids can choose if they want to use video or just audio.
You could also get parents involved. Send them a list of questions and have them briefly interview their student but secretly. Then share them with everyone.
No video? No problem. Use pictures. Animoto is great for this! Upload your photos, choose your transitions and sound track and you’ve got a professional video to share privately with just families or publicly on social media.