Are you looking to end this year with a bang? Are you ready to go a little bit above and beyond and be “that teacher” down the hallway that is still doing cool things in the last month of school? If so, we have two ideas for how you can end the school year with celebrating your students’ success with their families. Introduce our Author Publication Celebration and End of the Year Learning Celebration!
These two celebrations are BY FAR the most memorable activities that I do all year with my students. The parents just love to see their child having fun while learning at school and the students LOVE getting all dressed up for their parents to visit! The administration is always very impressed and of course, I LOVE it!
Before you read on, here is my teacher guarantee: The time and preparation that you put into these celebrations is WORTH IT! Read below to see how I plan inviting the families of my students’ inside our classroom to celebrate our learning with us!
For both of the learning celebrations that I hold at the end of the year, I try to think of ways to keep my students engaged in the process of planning! I make sure they are part of the planning and preparation right from the start- and I begin by having students fill out job applications.
Comfort Committee?? Clean Up Committee?? Welcoming Committee???
Too many choices! Students write about why they are interested in the position and write about their prior experience!
During the next week, my students work hard to prepare for the celebration by writing a persuasive letter to me- their teacher!- as to how they can persuade me to let them go to the next grade. They take this writing through the writing process- prewriting, drafting, revising, editing- and they finally get to publish their paper in front of a live audience- their families, at the Learning Celebration!
As a side note, Nicole and I dress up as “judges” in a black gown and gavel, as our students plead their case as to why they deserve to go to the next grade. (Of course, all students ARE passing and going to the next grade- our district does not retain students!)
Students also work in cooperative groups to write the ABC’s of third grade. Each group is given a letter of the alphabet and they write a description about an event that begins with that letter. For example, G is for Guided Reading and R is for Reading Workshop. The students are then completely in charge of creating a bulletin board to display for the celebration, which highlight the ABC’s of third grade.
I also did the learning celebrations with first and second graders, too. For my first graders, I wrote the ABC’s of learning, and my second graders were able to complete this as a shared writing lesson.
Students then nominate each one of their classmates for our end of the year awards. They don’t find out the results until the presentation at the celebration! And, I don’t present the awards…the awards committee does!
Our agenda for the Author Publication Celebration, is as follows:
Students choose one story (their best from all year!) to present at the Author Publication Celebration.
Students take that story through the writing process and I also conference with them, guiding them on how they can make their writing even better. Students also find a creative way to publish (make their story ready for an audience) their story. The young authors choose a snippet of a story (if it is really long!) or read their entire story in front of a live audience- their families!
This story was nominated for the Fantastic Fiction Award- there are several different categories for other stories to be nominated.
When all of the hard work is complete, it is celebration time! And let me tell you…we go ALL OUT!
The decorations committee is in charge of setting the stage and laying out the red carpet for our our fans to make their grand entrance on. Then, they helped put the finishing touches on the bulletin board! For the end of the year Learning Celebration, the students turned into celebrities and wrote autobiographies about their life as a celebrity during the past year.
The adoring fans (their parents!) really enjoyed reading these!
At both our End of the Learning Celebration and at The Author Publication Celebration, the concessions committee members are some of the busiest committee members!!!
Look what a great job they did setting up the concession stand! They also came up with some very clever signs!
At both of our celebrations, we also have a communications committee, which is in charge of passing out comment cards to all the audience members.
The equipment committee posted the VIP reserved seating signs on all of the chairs!
Boy, oh, boy did our fans feel like VERY IMPORTANT PEOPLE!
Look what an awesome job they did with the seating on the set:
The welcoming committee greets the families as they arrived. They had everything all organized and looking all special! They greeted their fans with big smiles and “Welcome to our celebration!”
Sign in sheets and “admit one” tickets?? This committee was in charge of everything!!
Would you believe me if I told you that the Clean Up Committee is one of the most popular committees at our celebrations!?!? I kid you not!
Big garbage bins, disinfectant wipes, sweepers, signs…all of these things add up to some pretty excited committee members!
One of the best parts of our Learning Celebrations are the photo booths that we have in the classroom!
Again, the students helped make a pretty sweet looking photo booth!
Old, ugly, hideous-looking picture frame that was in the garage for 5 years:
A little bit of sparkly spray paint=much more glamorous!
How did the students use this pretty frame????
Let the directors of the presentation demonstrate first!
That’s right! We poked our pretty and handsome faces right through that frame!
(Total Pintrest idea, by the way!)
Still want to make a photo booth for your celebrations, but don’t have an old frame or don’t want to spend money buying one to spray paint? In that case, just decorate a background!
Gold garland was on sale after Christmas…so cheap! The background was from Party City…or from Oriental Trading…I am not sure! You could also take a cute tablecloth and use that as a background!
The decorations committee helped our director tape the background to our large bookshelf on the set. We had an instant photo booth for the paparazzi to click away once they arrived!
After the presentations were over, all of the students took at picture with me at the photo booth.
And no, I don’t wear hot pink boas on an everyday basis. But when I am a teacher turned director at our End of the Year Celebration (HOLLYWOOD STYLE!), then you bet!
Oh, and another extra special touch from the decorations committee??
All the female celebrities got some extra *BLING* to decorate their fingers for the premiere of the End of the Year Learning Celebration!
To purchase Author Publication Celebration click on the file below:
To purchase End of the Year Learning Celebration file click on the image below:
How do you celebrate your students’ learning at the end of the school year? Share your ideas with us! The first two people who share their ideas will get a copy of one of our celebration files- don’t forget to leave your email address!
Now go and celebrate your end of the year in style! :)