Spring is in the air, and whether you've admitted it or not, you DEFINITELY know how many days are left in the year. I've always been a sucker for a good countdown, and it wasn't long into my first year of teaching that I realized I could share this love with my students. Days until break? Let's make a paper chain! How many days until we go on our field trip? I have a pocket chart for that!
The crowd favorite in Countdownland; however, is the end of the year. OBVIOUS reasons, here, folks; at this point in the year, we are all basically in a frenzy at the thought of summer. Electric with excitement, the end of the year can often feel rushed, stressful, packed, and like a regular month on steroids. I wanted a countdown to counteract this; one last chance to stop and enjoy each other in the midst of this chaos. Something meaningful.
Yet Another Countdown A Star Was Born!
25 days: in each envelope, a daily surprise fun-tivity is revealed, AND a name is read to announce the student celebration of the day!
Fun-tivities are simple, low-prep activities meant for simple FUN. Examples include reading outside, cloud-gazing, playing Pictionary, a paper airplane contest–30 total for you to choose, ranging from zero prep to a bit more involved. Whatever your style may be, choose one or create your own using our template!
Student celebrations: Use the editable template to type student names; print and place 1 (or 2!) student names in each envelope. On the day a student's name is chosen, he will receive a piece of writing from each student in the class. Writing templates include a letter to the student, a Top 5 list of things you appreciate about that student, or another idea of your choosing! Edit the templates to personalize the name each day as seen below:
A Few Suggestions:
I like printing and copying the student celebration letters all at once; from there, I paperclip each student's stack and set it aside in a cabinet to quickly rifle through once a name is revealed.
When implementing the countdown, make sure you schedule fun-tivities one of the following ways:
Choice A: Plan them 25 days ahead; as you place the fun-tivity prompt in each envelope, make note of which activities will fall on which day so you can plan accordingly if any supplies are needed.
Choice B: Place a prompt in the envelope 1 day at a time (students won't know if they are filled or not). Place it in the envelope in the morning before kids arrive and once you decide which activity is most appropriate for that specific day. I'll be honest–I'm definitely a Choice B teacher, but power to you, all of my Choice A'ers!
So yes, that is all it takes for a “stop and smell the roses” countdown for your own end of the year. Godspeed, teachers. You can DO THIS!
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