The end of the year is a tricky time to teach -- the kids are antsy, my patience is generally smaller, it's SO nice out, and the kids miss random classes due to field trips and other events.
I design my last month of classes to highly engaging lessons that lean towards 'fun' while still having an educational component. This way if I miss a class because they are on a field trip - I don't have to go back and teach the lesson they missed. I also don't have a stack of papers at the end of the year for a student that missed the last week of school.
4/5 Weeks before End:
Clean out projects. I spend this time passing back everything that I can find. This year students 'doodled with Jim Henson' - we talked about how truly awesome Jim Henson is and how he 'doodled' all of his puppets/muppets. The students then spent time creating their own characters -- students actually loved this more than I expected. They really got into sharing their creations with people around them. While they were busy 'doodling' I pass back any and all projects that got stored, put on display, mixed up in other classes.
3/4 Weeks before the End:
Origami Paper Airplanes. Students ask all year to make paper airplanes - so we spend a day devoted to making them.
- 3 papers total
- Decorate papers (keeps the kids honest about who's plane is who's)
- Grounded when indoors.
We spend class making airplanes based on prior knowledge and instructions. We clean up early and either fly them in the room or, better yet, outdoors.
3/2 Weeks before the end: Light Graffiti. I black out all the windows with black paper, find a tripod, digital SLR, cables to hook up to the tv and lots of flashlights/light emitting objects. The first time we do this - students just experiment. My lesson and links are here.
2/1 Weeks before the End:
Light Graffiti again. This time I have paper with simple objects on them and groups make pictures. Read here.
If we have one more week left we play art games, clean the room, art videos - generally I have some options and let the kids vote on what they would like to do. The last week of school I rarely see every class - so it's kind of a relax week.