Oh, the last day of school! Such a joyous celebration. Saying goodbye is bitter-sweet in many ways. At my school, we have a special way to bid our students farewell on the last day of school. At dismissal time, teachers come prepared with bubble paraphernalia of all sorts. Celebratory music blasts from speakers on the school rooftop. Once all of the students have boarded the buses, each bus makes a dramatic exit, leaving one at a time as we all fill the air with bubbles and wave goodbye. It is a moment that brings many to tears.
Our last day of school was originally scheduled for June 10th, but Mother Nature had other plans in mind. Snow days pushed everything back until the 15th.
In my classroom, we counted down the last ten days of school with a special activity each day. You may remember my original post about this balloon countdown idea from Pinterest. You can visit the First with Franklin blog for the full details. I had to come up with a way to adapt the activity due to a latex allergy. Popping balloons probably would have been much more fun, but my students still really enjoyed opening a new bag each day. The anticipation added a lot of excitement to the last days of school. I found the white bags for 3/$1.00 at the dollar store. I outlined the numbers with a black marker, and then the children decorated. I used many of the ideas from First with Franklin, but altered a few to better suit my own students. Here is a list of our special activities.
10. Ink Pen Day
9. Movie Day
8. Kick Your Shoes Off Day
7. Rearrange the Room Day
6. Extra Recess Day
5. Bubble Day
4. Lunch in the Room Day
3. Wear Shades Day
2. Party Day
1. Shaving Cream Day
Which leads me to the next picture. . .
After cleaning out desks and peeling off name tags, I squirted shaving cream on each desk in the form of the child's cursive name. They smeared it around and played for a while as the globs of dried glue came loose and stray pencil marks disappeared. Then we used a wet washcloth to remove all the shaving cream. This technique works like a charm.
My pictures are slightly out of order here, but this next picture shows how I move all the desks together for the last day of school and roll out a big sheet of bulletin board paper for the children to decorate when they first arrive in the morning. They are always so surprised to see the room like this, and the banner really sets the tone for the day.
I always take pictures throughout the school year and make a slideshow for my students to watch on the last day of school. As a special gift, I burn them each a copy of the slideshow to watch on DVD. Watching that slideshow with my students is one of my favorite parts of the school year. It sums up the whole year in about a half an hour and brings back so many memories. It is so neat to watch them grow in the pictures. Also, I just love to watch the expressions on their faces as they see all those pictures for the first time, set to music.
This year, I also made these gifts using Wordle. Here is the original pin that inspired me to do so. I used my favorite Tolsby frames from Ikea that I previously blogged about here. They are two-sided, so I was able to put a photograph of each child on the other side of the frame. They turned out great and I could tell that the kids really loved them.
Now it is time to relax and recharge! I have many vacations planned for the summer, including a trip to Vegas for the TPT conference in July (yay)! Stay tuned for some summer blog posts as I reorganize and revamp some classroom supplies for next school year. :-)