It’s the end of the year and I can admit that I’m excited about summer but the thought of saying bye to my little mustaches makes me sad. Each group of kids is something unique and special. If you think about it, our kids come to us as 5-year-olds who don’t know letters, numbers, or how to write their names. And they leave us 180 days later as readers and writers. 180 days of growth, bonding, laughter, joy, frustration, and tears. But nothing is as important as the family we build in our classrooms. I am always immensely proud of my kids and I know they will do great things! So, let’s talk about the end of the year!
Here is my answer to this question: That’s going to be a NO for us. We do not do kindergarten graduation. I believe that we graduate twice: high school and college. Completing kindergarten is a milestone, yes. But is not a graduation-level event. There I said it. You can hate me if you want. I believe we should celebrate our year together so we have a small celebration in our classroom. We invite the families. We watch a movie of our year together. Everyone gets a small gift and a personalized award!
End Of The Year Gifts
I do not buy my students a gift at the end of the year. My reasoning is that I give the gifts all year with our theme days and Foodie Fun Fridays and more! But I do want my kids to have something to remember our year so they get a personalized gift that costs me $1 each.
These are created for FREE using the website wordart.com/create. I entered all the kids’ names along with the year, our school name, and kindergarten. I also include the word Mustaches because I call my kids “my mustaches!”. You can choose different shapes and change colors to make it unique. We chose circles. We printed the word art, cut them out, and glued them onto cardstock. Those were placed in picture frames from Dollar Tree.
We have also started creating a class picture to give as a reminder of our year together! The directions can be found at this link: https://linktr.ee/MrsAdamsKinder
At the end of the 2020-2021 school year, I gifted the families with a framed portrait of the student. I set up a little photo booth using cheap backdrops from Amazon. Families selected their backdrop and I took the pictures with my iPhone. I printed the pictures at Walgreens and framed them in frames from the Dollar Tree!
End Of The Year Awards
Each child gets a mustache award that is chosen and created just for them. These are personalized awards that honor the personality of each child and recognize their unique contribution to our classroom family. Each award celebrates the child as an individual and not just academic achievement. In the past, I’ve done “Best Dancer,” “Best Handwriting,” “The Personal Assistant Award”, etc.
Click the image to get your FREE and EDITABLE mustache awards!
End Of The Year Video
The final gift my students receive is a 20-minute video of our year together. You see, I take about 5,000 pictures each school year. True story. I counted. Then I have to set down and go through the 5,000 pictures and pick about 200 hundred of those to make a 20-minute video. Yep. It’s emotional and hilarious at the same time. But ya’ll, it’s tough condensing 180 days of kindergarten shenanigans into 20 minutes! Each family receives a copy of the video as a keepsake of their child’s year in kindergarten!
You can check out some of our previous videos here:
End Of The Year Read Aloud
The very last thing we do together as a class is Mr. Greg crying as he reads the book, I Knew You Could! Seriously, all the feels when reading this book. All. The. Feels. After reading the book I share with my students how much they’ve grown and how much we’ve learned and done in Kindergarten how proud they should be of themselves and how proud I am of them!
End Of The Year Activities
We also re-visit our name writing. Way back on the first day of school, every student wrote their name on chart paper. I save that chart and pull it out for the last week of school and then we write our names to see our growth over the year! (note: This chart is October because that is when returned to in-person learning in 2020!)
Another fun thing to do is have the kids share their favorite memories of kindergarten and give next year’s students advice about Mr. Greg! I have them share what they like about me and what they don’t like so I can grow as a teacher! Click the image to get an EDITABLE version of the writing pages and chart labels!
One of my favorite traditions is having students design my blazer which I wear for Open House and Meet The Teacher Night the next school year! The blazer is from Amazon. Students use fabric markers and are free to design whatever they want! I have many of these in my closet!
If you want an easy resource to send home with students for the summer, grab our Take Home Packet Bundle!
Lesson Plans! Did you know you can access ALL of my lesson plans for the past 8 school years?! TRUE STORY. Just click on this link to go to the resource center and grab the files!