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How to Leave a Lasting Impression on Students at the End of the School Year

As the 2020-21 school year comes to a close, there is much to celebrate, from student growth and relationships built amongst classmates to overcoming challenges with multimodal learning. This year had unique obstacles and successes and will likely be one that students look back on for years to come.

While the last few weeks of school can potentially feel unstructured and overwhelming as anticipation for summer grows, there are many ways to engage students during this time through reflection and celebration, so they have something by which to remember this school year. Read on to discover four ways to leave a meaningful and impactful lasting impression on students before summer break begins.

1. Walk down memory lane with your students.

Have your students recall various moments throughout the year as a class that they can then categorize into lists filled with memories. Whether the lists are of funny moments, lessons learned, or advice for next year’s students, this activity is a way for students to look back on some of their fondest memories of their time spent in your classroom.

Another list that is fun to create together as a group is a playlist with songs that include lyrics about concepts reviewed or memories. Music is an interactive way to engage students and will bring them back to your class whenever they listen to it. Consider printing out the lists you make with a class picture to give students as a farewell gift on the last day.

2. Reflect on accomplishments.

A great way to show students how far they have come is by reflecting on the progress and growth they have made over the course of the school year. One strategy for reflection is through year mapping, where students draw connections and synthesize what they have learned into one overarching visual that showcases the major takeaways from the school year.

This activity allows students to tap into their creativity and is a visual representation of their growth that they can share with their families. You can also try this activity with the whole class and create a mural with each student contributing to show how far your class as a whole has come over the course of the school year.

3. Set goals for next school year.

Through the time spent reflecting on accomplishments, students can gain a better understanding of what they want the next school year to look like for them. Facilitate a start-stop-continue activity to help them conceptualize what their vision for next year might look like in action.

Each student can spend some time reflecting on what things they want to start doing, stop doing, or continue doing and add each into their respective columns. By setting goals in a tangible way, students are more likely to hold themselves accountable and strive to make the changes they want to see in themselves on a personal, social, and academic level.

4. Celebrate!

Dedicate time to having a proper classwide celebration that allows you and your students to enjoy being together one last time. Whether your class enjoys playing games, assigning superlatives, or having a dance party, you and your students deserve to celebrate all of the hard work it took to get to this point.

Give your students options for how they can choose to celebrate so that the activities honor them in the best way possible. A celebration is also a great time to sign yearbooks, leave notes, and say goodbyes. Savor this moment with your students and know that you made a lasting impression and difference in their lives!

Participate Learning is incredibly proud of the strides each of our ambassador teachers has made this year in their classrooms to bring the world to their students and develop them into empathetic, curious global leaders. For more information on how cultural exchange can positively benefit students and communities in the U.S., visit our webpage.

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