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The Easiest Last Day in ELA

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Last Day in ELA

You want the last day of ELA to be special, but what does that mean exactly? And who has the energy to think up this special plan when you’re juggling allll the end-of-year things?

If you’d like a fast, easy solution to the last day of your ELA classes, today I’m proposing (ha ha, I just accidentally typed PROMposing) stations. Stations are an easy way to get whatever dots have to be dotted and Ts have to be crossed at the same time as you build in a few fun things and keep everything lively so the time flies. The goodbye speech can only last so long!

You can listen in to this episode below, click here to tune in on any podcast player, or read on for the full post.

So let’s talk about some station ideas.

#1 The Survey Station

Last Day of School Survey

The Stations pictured in this post are from The Lighthouse

I know from personal experience that course surveys can be a tough read. There’s nothing like reading “I loved this class because of the Harkness discussions, they were my absolute favorite part of the class” immediately followed by “I hate Harkness discussions, you shouldn’t do them anymore” to make you feel like you’ll never please anyone!

But here’s the thing, even though it may be messy and you won’t get clear answers, there’s a lot of gold to be found in student feedback. You can ask which units, projects, and lessons worked best for your students. You can find out which books they really read, and which they didn’t. You can ask about their favorite poet or short story. You can let them stay anonymous or share their name, whichever they prefer.

#2 A Fun Wrap-Up

Last Day of School eras activity

For this station, give kids a chance to reflect on their year with something fun. For this year, I’d suggest asking them how they’d name this era in their lives, since Taylor Swift’s eras tour has been sweeping the world. But you could also have them choose a theme song for the year, or a timeline, or a t-shirt design, or a tattoo. Just something to let them reflect on who they’ve been, and where they want to go next.

#3: TBR Bookmarks

Last day of school TBR bookmark gift

This station gives you a chance to give a small gift for summer while promoting reading over vacation. Make some cute bookmarks on Canva (or use mine) and put them out along with little bags of Smarties (or whatever you want). Have your students grab a gift and then ask you and others in the class for summer reading recommendations. Their goal can be to write down four or five titles that they are genuinely interested in reading on their new bookmark.

Summer Reading Bookmarks

#4 The Advice Wall for the Last Day in ELA

The goal of this station is to let your outgoing students give advice to next year’s incomers. I’ve seen folks do this in so many different ways. You could have them write notecards, fill a mural wall on a huge posterboard or a section of your chalkboard or whiteboard (if you can keep it up all summer), write their advice on squares of paper or post-its which you can then put up for next year’s class, or even add it to a collaborative Google Slide deck.

This is a fun way to help kids realize how far they’ve come, and provide a nice welcome for next year’s class as well. Remind students to phrase their advise in a positive and specific way so it can really be helpful to your new students in the fall.

Last Day of School Advice Wall Station

Mix-and-Match with Whatever Else you Need

These four stations are easy options, but you can easily add in whatever else you need to have happen on the last day. You could have a station for turning in books, a station for helping clean up areas of your classroom, a station for chatting about missing work, etc. Stations free you up to circulate and check in with kids you need to talk to. Just save a few minutes at the end to gather everyone back together and say goodbye.

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I'm Betsy

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