Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tried It Tuesday Linky Party

I'm linking up with Holly from Fourth Grade Flipper for Tried It Tuesday!

So, I have a few end of the year traditions to share that I've tried over the years and maintained. First of all, a letter to the parents. Not just a card or a mass letter, but personalized letters. Now, I keep the first two paragraphs pretty much the same for each student (I found a template from another teacher many years ago), and then I personalize the last paragraph. Here is an example of a letter I wrote to a family years ago! Honestly, when I write these letters, I cry. And I totally welled up when reading this letter again today!

Another end of the year tradition I have is the gift I give students. There are plenty of cutesy Pinterest printables nowadays, but the class sideshow is my tried and true student gift. This is not your ordinary slide show. I am a photographer all year. A few days before the last day of school, I compile those pictures in iMovie, add music and transitions, and burn to dvd. I burn one for each child. I create a dvd cover. I invited parents for our screening. And yes, it is a screening. Like a movie. Because my slide shows are typically 90 minutes long! It sounds crazy, but these fourth graders sit for the entire time, loving it and remembering our year. It's so special. Most of them go home and watch it again that night!

Here's another fun event that I used to do at the end of the year as a class gift, but now I have students purchase these items in September. CLASS T-SHIRTS! We love them! They were surprising and wonderful when I did them as an end of the year class gift, but they became like a team uniform for special events and field trips when we made them in September! I order them through Whitney Daniels Designs. In order to get a screenprint t-shirt, like our class shirts, have each child draw a picture of their face on a notecard with a fine tip Sharpie, and send in the notecards to Whitney Daniels Designs. Each shirt costs $8.

Another end of the year activity is obviously class awards. Now, I teach fourth grade, but at the end of the year, my fourth graders move up to the middle school. So we have like a mini graduation with tons of academic awards. It's nice, but I like to do my own awards ceremony in the classroom, too! I have the kiddos nominate their peers for the majority of the awards. I list a bunch of silly and funny awards, and the students write down whoever they think best fits those awards, and I count the votes. I add my own humor into it as well, though, and create new and surprising awards that no one is expecting. We move our desks into two long rows facing each other, and make a runway down the middle, so when your name is called you walk like a red carpet to receive your award! It's a fun day, and everyone gets a few awards!

Okay, one more end of the year super fun activity! I don't have a picture of this, but as the end of the year approaches, I will take a picture to share from this year. I blow up balloons and put slips of paper with surprising events written on them inside. I attach the balloons to strings and hang them from the ceiling. Ten balloons. So, for the last ten days of school, we pop the balloon to find out our fun activity of the day! Sometimes it is something short, like a picnic lunch, playing Wii on the Smartboard, or relay races. Sometimes it is longer, like our BIG event two years ago...another teacher and I teamed up for one day. We paired up the kids and gave them a challenge. Construct a bridge to hold the most weight. They had to sketch their designs, and they had limited supplies. It took all morning to build the bridges, and it took most of the afternoon to compete in a weight competition. We added weight to the bridges until they snapped! It was a blast! Last year, we decided our building day would be similar to the bridges, but with height, so we had kiddos build skyscrapers. Oh! And every year one balloon has Minute to Win It games inside. THAT IS THE BEST!!!!!  You can google them or brainstorm your own, but the kids eat them up!!!

So, end of the year activities! If anyone else has some ideas, please share!


  1. I just wanted to let you know that I nominated you for the Liebster award. You can read the directions for the award on my blog. Congrats!

    The Lesson Chef

    1. That is so great!!! Thank you SO much! I'll check out your blog rght away!