Ten End-of-the-year Activities for Students

credit: google images

credit: google images

It’s that time of the year when everything comes to an end. Students take final exams; teachers grade those exams; final grades are submitted to administration, and report cards are sent out. For both ESL and mainstream classrooms, it’s a hectic time as May ends and summer begins. Now, some countries continue school until the end of June or July, but in other countries (the U.S., for example), school ends in May.


Sometimes it’s hard to find activities to keep children interested as they near the end of school. Attention spans grow increasingly shorter with each passing day, and students count down until the first day of summer break! I did that, too, when I was in school.

So, how do you maintain your students’ interest and have fun at the same time?

Ten activities for the end of the year

There are so many activities you can do with your class! It’s hard to narrow them down to just ten, but after searching around, I found ten I like.

  • 1) Let the students teach a lesson! – This is a great activity for students to demonstrate what they know about a particular subject. You can split your class up into small groups (or pairs), let them choose something they’ve learned, and have them prepare a lesson. If your students are in middle elementary (grades 3-4), you may need to help them often. If they are older, let them work on their own. I have seen that some students may understand concepts better when their classmates explain something to them in their own words. Sometimes teachers use language that is too technical.
  • 2) Write a reflection piece! – The school year is full of all kinds of experiences, some good and some bad. Students need time to reflect on what they experienced over the year, so let them write in a journal or essay. If you’re really daring, ask your students to share their reflection piece with the class (if they are willing). It’s wonderful to listen to what each student has to say.
  • 3) Have class outside! – The weather is sunny, hot, and great for getting outdoors. If it is not too hot outside, hold a class outside to get fresh air. A change in scenery can really boost students’ attention and concentration. Make sure you have permission from the administrator if you need it, though. There are few things more embarrassing than holding a class outside, and then having the principal walk out and tell everyone to go back inside.
  • 4) Have your class write an “A-B-Cs of Survival” for your grade. – This can be a fun collaborative activity for the entire class! Like the title says, the book should be a survival guide for incoming students. Each tip should be in order beginning from A-Z, and have students illustrate each page, too. They can have fun and talk to each other at the same time!
  • 5) Do a volunteer project! – I’ve written about this before, but volunteering can be an excellent way to get students involved in their communities. These projects can be simple, such as picking up trash around the school or along the roadside for younger students. For older students, you can have them volunteer at a soup kitchen or tutor younger students for an afternoon. After they finish their project, they can write about how they felt, and come up with more ideas about how to help their communities.
  • 6) Make ice cream! – Summer means hot weather, and hot weather means ice cream! This is an easy, fun, and edible project that doesn’t take long. Your students will love it, and it’s a nice snack get them excited for summer. You can find a recipe here.
  • 7) Make a class scrapbook – You, as well as your class, can collect papers and projects and other things to make a scrapbook. Each piece should be something meaningful to each student. This activity is a great way to reflect, talk about fun experiences over the year, and helps bring closure.
  • 8) Have a “Compliment Party”! –  Everyone should sit in a circle and each student goes around the room to share two things they like about each classmate. Students need to be built-up and know they’re loved and cared for (by their parents, teachers, and friends).
  • 9) Hold a “Silly Olympics” – Create a series of fun, silly games and activities for students to compete in as teams (or pairs). The events can be anything that involves movement and teamwork. Games like a tug-of-war, three-legged race, cavalry game, and the human knot can give students the chance to work together and have fun at the same time. You can have a class-wide or even school-wide competition if the other teachers are willing.
  • 10) Hold a Quiz Bowl! – Quiz Bowls are fun trivia games that encompass a number of topics, ranging from sports to mathematics and science. Basically they’re “Trivial Pursuit” without the game-board and pieces. Jeopardy is also a fun trivia game to get students to show what they know! You can use information from your own lessons, or search for questions from other sources. This activity utilizes teamwork – building the right combination of people strong in a variety of subjects – with thinking.credit: google images


credit: google images

These are some activities you can do if you have time.

What kinds of activities do you like to do at the end of the year?

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Building an Effective ESL Curriculum

2012.1.esl-worldA curriculum is a vital part of ESL classes. It provides a focus for the class and sets goals for the students throughout their study.A curriculum also gives the student a guide and idea to what they will learn and how they have progressed when the course is over.

A typical ESL curriculum centers around students developing four basic skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. The goal of teaching ESL is to help second-language learners become competent at communicating in English with native speakers. That doesn’t necessarily mean fluent, but proficient enough to act in an English-speaking environment (such as in the United States, Canada, or the UK) with little to no trouble.

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Effective Strategies for Teaching Reading


Reading is a BIG component of teaching any language – first or second. Reading, especially in a foreign language, can be quite difficult for learners. I have been working on earning my TESOL certificate through the American TESOL Institute (ATI). One of the modules I had to complete was about teaching reading.

Reading can be especially difficult since not every student reads at the same level. Some are able to read at higher levels than their peers, and others may struggle.

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How to Write an Essay for ESL Students (and Teachers)


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This month, my academy will hold an essay competition for our students. We will provide a variety of topics for our students to choose from. Each class, grades one to five, will write an essay or paragraph according to their abilities and appropriate level (with the teacher’s instruction). So, that brings to mind the question… Continue reading

Five Things Teachers Can Do to Improve Learning For ELLs For the New Year

I came across this excellent page on Colorin Colorado’s website. Colorin Colorado is an ELL website based in the United States, and they work with ELL students and families. They have plenty of tips and resources for teachers and parents! I’d like to share these tips with you!

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Ho! Ho! Ho! It’s Almost Christmas! – Five Fun Holiday Activities for ESL Students!

Christmas Fireplace

Doesn’t that look cozy? The warm fireplace, decorated tree and living room, the colors and lights… just makes you want to curl up in that rocking chair with a good book and a glass of wine, while listening to Bing Crosby, right?

Christmas is just a couple of weeks away. That means planning for vacation trips, buying gifts, visiting relatives, and a little break from school (much-needed for both students and teachers). Christmas also is a great holiday in which you can teach about virtues of kindness and hope, Christmas music, winter sports and activities, and favorite toys and other things. You can also spend time making crafts and decorating your classroom!

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Teaching ESL to Adult Learners

credit goes to ESL- Centro Guadalupano

credit goes to ESL- Centro Guadalupano

Have you ever taught ESL to adults?

I have. For the past two years, I have taught a short-term English conversation class to Korean adults at the Andong City Library; the class lasted for 15 weeks in the spring and again in the fall. It has been a positive experience for me as I have been able to learn new skills and try different strategies. Teaching ESL to adult learners comes with its own issues, but also has some advantages that don’t come with teaching children. Continue reading

Ten Common Mistakes ESL Teachers Make in the Classroom (And How to Fix Them)

Nobody is perfect. That’s the truth. It’s the same for doctors, lawyers, parents, students, and teachers. Nobody likes making mistakes. Big or small, mistakes can kill self-esteem, loom over our heads like some grim reaper created out of our own idiocy. In a classroom, teachers often make mistakes early on in their careers; veteran teachers make mistakes, too.


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Building Phonological Awareness in Kindergarten ESL Students

Teaching young learners is like taking care of a plant – it takes dedication, patience, and daily care. You need to water plants daily, give adequate sunlight and air flow. Then it will grow into a beautiful flower, or leafy plant.

young plant

Google Images

In the same way, teaching young learners takes lots of preparation, daily instruction and practice, and a whole lot of love and patience. Helping children develop social, personal, and language skills is all part of a teacher’s job.


Google Images – Shepherdkids.com

In developing language skills, building phonological awareness is one of the building blocks of development. I recently came across a fantastic article focused on this topic, and I’d like to share part of it with you. Continue reading