End-of-the-school-year fun activities!

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Some people might think that, an “End-of-the-Year event” may seem unimportant, however it is  VERY IMPORTANT cause,…it’s the end of the school year! The positive memories have an effect on the children’s attitude and last forever!…

This is a time to look back and reflect –as well as a time to think ahead. Additionally, we should be sure to recognize our  graduating students ,in some way!

The ideas below,come from many different sources ! One I can recall   is  http://www.kidactivities.net/

I have tried too many such activities in my teaching career, so far! The ones I am sharing here, are the ones I used  last school year, with huge success! And as I often say, ” It has worked in my class; it might work in your class, too”!

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END OF THE YEAR FUN IDEA for the little ones...

Two nice ideas for younger children

  1.  Hand each student a sheet of paper
  2.  Then have the children draw pictures and write words  of the things they would like to say “goodbye to” in your classroom.
  3.  It’s good “therapy” because we know how hard it can be to say goodbye to our familiar room and friends. When complete… bind it into a program book titled ‘GOODBYE ROOM’.

Grade —– (Or__________ ) HAS BEEN A BALL!

This is a fun and different way to have an autograph party as a remembrance of the time spent in class.

Beach balls are fairly inexpensive–order some from a novelty company-have children blow them up and then get autographs from each other on the balls!

For older students….

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BALLOON TOSS: GOALS FOR THE FUTURE

At your end-of-year lesson, give each child a slip of paper and invite him or her to write one goal for the future.

Have students slip the notes inside balloons and then inflate them. Later, have kids toss balloons (like graduation caps), keeping one to pop and share its (anonymously) written message aloud –with the rest of the group.

(Actually, work the last part out in a way that the majority of the group likes—read one message, several messages, or all or no messages)

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THANKS FOR THE COMPLIMENT (A nice way to end the school year!)

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Need: Paper, markers, tape

  1.  Everyone gets a piece of paper taped to their back. (Make sure their name is at the top of the paper.)
  2.  Each person is given a marker.
  3.  Each person in the group must walk around the room and write a compliment or positive remark about that person on their back….. NO PEEKING!
  4.  When everyone has written something positive on each others back, they return to their seat and read what was written.
  5.  With a smaller group, everyone exchanges papers without looking at their own. Each participant can take a turn at reading aloud from person’s list they have. . (Adjust for a larger group)

This is a great self-esteem booster! If some children still don’t know each other very well…they can write such things as: You have a great smile; You’re hair always looks nice; Great blue eyes; etc.

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AUTOGRAPH BOOK

At the end of the year have each child make an autograph book. They pass around their books and get everyone’s signatures and friendly notes for a summer keepsake.

Variation:You can ask them to decorate  their own summer postcards and ask all their classmates to write a personal comment and sign on them.

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One very favourite activity, I always do:

 TAKE PHOTOGRAPHS DURING THE YEAR and put together a slide show.

  1.   I  show this as PART OF A YEAR-END SCHOOL EVENT—but it would also be a wonderful “WELCOME AND INTRODUCTION to the new children we will have the next school year.
  2.  You could use it to show children and families some of the things you do-how they’re done–and what to expect! If you haven’t started, get your slides, videos, and activity scrapbooks going now!

Here’s the link to our last year’s slide show I have already posted about.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vr9-iFULcMo[/embed]

 

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WRITE YOURSELF A LETTER

At the end of the school year, have students write themselves a letter. Tell them that no one but they will read this letter so they can say anything they want in it. However, part of that letter might include who their friends are, their current height and weight, favorite movies and music, and special things both good and bad that occurred during the year, summer plans…

Variation: Every year, i have  them write me letters, as well!

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On another sheet of paper or the back of that sheet ask students to write ten goals they would like to accomplish by this time next year (or sooner). Students seal this letter in an envelope, self-address it, and give it to you. In a year (or sooner) mail (or return in person) the letters  to the students.

I loved this idea the very moment my NLP mentor Bonnie Tsai, asked us to do something similar in the end of our summer course at Pilgrim’s, Canterbury,  Kent, three years ago!

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A LETTER TO PARENTS AT THE END OF THE YEAR…

I always send letters to the parents in the end of each school year, both in Greek and in English.

This is the letter in English I sent them last school year.

“Dear Parents,

I give you back your child ~ the same child you confidently entrusted to my care last fall. I give him/her back pounds heavier, inches taller, months wiser, more responsible, and more mature then he was then.

Although he would have attained his growth in spite of me, it has been my pleasure and privilege to watch his personality unfold day by day and marvel at this splendid miracle of development.

Ten years from now if we met on the street, we’ll feel the bond of understanding once more, this bond we feel today.

We have lived, laughed, played, studied, learned, and enriched our lives together this year. I wish it could go on indefinitely, but give him/back I must. Take care of him, (or her) for he (she) is precious. I’ll always be interested in your child and his destiny, wherever he goes, whatever he does, whoever he becomes.”

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MURAL OF MEMORIES

On a nice day–take this activity outside!

Use paints, markers or colored chalk and invite children to create a mural illustrating the many wonderful things your group did, saw, and learned this year. It will be a great “advertisement” for next year’s program or class. (Don’t forget to hang it up when the new school year starts!) I personally, decided to do something alternative with it last school year: I used it to wrap up our class post box!!

As an extension, you can have your group write about the favorite memories they drew.

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END OF THE YEAR BULLETIN BOARD AUTOGRAPHS

BONUS! The board is up and ready to go during the first week of school!

  • Remove what is currently on your Board such as art projects, etc. LEAVE UP Bulletin Board Backgrounds and Borders.
  • During the week BEFORE the last week of school, ask a talented student artist (or do this yourself!) to block letter the words: “HAVE A GREAT SUMMER!” on your bulletin board background paper.
  • Have several children color in the letters…
  • As the days get closer to the end, have youth autograph and write messages on the bulletin board paper.
  • With younger students, ask them to write words and draw pictures of what they have enjoyed the most during the school year!
  • Leave their NAMES AND MESSAGES up for everyone to appreciate.
  • When you return for the new school year you’ll be starting off with one area already decorated with POSSITIVE MESSAGES!
  • No bulletin board area? Get a long piece of butcher roll-paper and do the same…(Actually, this is what I did..)
  • The kids will like reading what they and others left a couple months back!

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This activity is similar to this one…

I REMEMBER WHEN…

Put up the caption in big letters on your bulletin board or butcher paper taped to the wall— and then have children “decorate” it by writing things that they enjoyed doing in your program the past year!

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A SUMMER LAPBOOK

I just love lapbooks! You can read about my first lapbooks in this previous post:

https://aphrogranger.wordpress.com/2014/07/15/our-first-lapbook/

Lapbooks are made of file folders that are folded into a shutter flap so it opens up. Inside you have mini booklets that have a question or theme and the answers are inside. There are a variety of ways a booklet can be folded to demonstrate a topic.

They are really fun and my visual learners love lapbooks since we were introduced to them last year.

There are loads of topics that you can cover in your summer lapbook. I find that because I want to cover a broad topic, it’s nice to take bits and pieces from different lapbooks or it may be easier to create your own.

If you have never completed a lapbook, I suggest doing a free one yourself , to see how you like it.

Make a list of what you would like to cover and teach. Ask your children what they would like to learn. This will get them more involved and excited about their project as well.

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Last but not least: THE-END-OF-THE-SCHOOL-YEAR (graduating students) SHOW

I love staging mini-musicals at the end of each school year!

School Musicals

Enthusiastic audience!!

Enthusiastic audience!!

School musicals and music TV show parodies, offer a good chance to children to bring out their talent, build self confidence, and overcome all of their inhibitions. It has many benefits for children like development of right self-esteem, instilling interest for music and drama and more. School musicals, drama, and plays teach children to work in a team, develop organizational abilities, communication and more.

Taking part in a school musical or Tv parody  production, has many benefits for children – increased self-esteem, the development of their dramatic and musical talents, and the opportunity to learn about working together as part of a team.

I find ideas in our library English Readers or in different  books or sites such as

http://www.childrenstheatreplays.com/schoolplays.htm

Here are some examples of what we have staged during the last few years!

Starting with this year’s TV talent show parody “The Voice”!

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Our coaches and show presenters

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My students seem to remember these end-of-the-year shows, for..ever!

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Dancing, singing, improvisation ….all their talents in action!!

"The Wizard of Oz":School musicals offer a good chance to children to bring out their talent, build self confidence, and overcome all of their inhibitions

“The Wizard of Oz”:School musicals offer a good chance to children to bring out their talent, build self confidence, and overcome all of their inhibitions

" Alice in Wonderland":School musicals, drama, and plays teach children to work in a team, develop organizational abilities, communication and more.

” Alice in Wonderland”:School musicals, drama, and plays teach children to work in a team, develop organizational abilities, communication and more.

" The Wizard of Oz": A School musical, has many benefits for children like development of right self-esteem, instilling interest for music and drama and more.

” The Wizard of Oz”: A School musical, has many benefits for children like development of right self-esteem, instilling interest for music and drama and more.

Our sixth graders musical every year, is a huge success! Both the kids and their parents are looking so much forward to it!

Our sixth graders musical every year, is a huge success! Both the kids and their parents are looking so much forward to it!

 

"Your face sounds familiar- A concert": Music, is an essential part in musical performances! It helps my students reveal their inner talents!

“Your face sounds familiar- A concert”: Music, is an essential part in musical performances! It helps my students reveal their inner talents!

 

" Your face sounds familiar-A concert": The FUN element of ELT music shows, is is obvious in this photo!!

” Your face sounds familiar-A concert”: The FUN element of ELT music shows, is is obvious in this photo!!

 

" A Eurovision song contest parody": Here's an Improvisation end-of-the-school year concert which we all just LOVED! In the photo, Agathonas Iakovides and Coza Mostra in...Eurovision 2013!!

” A Eurovision song contest parody”: Here’s an Improvisation end-of-the-school year concert which we all just LOVED! In the photo, Agathonas Iakovides and Coza Mostra in…Eurovision 2013!!

ENJOY YOUR SUMMER!

LET’S RECHARGE OUR BATTERIES AND GET READY FOR ANOTHER AMAZING SCHOOL YEAR!!

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Drama in our english class

" Interviewing the ...greek Prime Minister":I use improvisation activities a lot. My role is to provide the context and the students act out their roles spontaneously without any planning.

” Interviewing the …greek Prime Minister”:I use improvisation activities a lot. My role is to provide the context and the students act out their roles spontaneously without any planning.

Language teachers have to face two difficulties in their classrooms. On the one hand they need to change the naturally exuberant imaginative energy of the children into activity which is not merely enjoyable but which also has a language pay-off. On the other, they need to develop a repertoire of concrete activities which appeal to children to do as well to avoid chaos and boredom.

" Interviewing....Virgin Mary":The classroom game of pretending to interact in English is a rehearsal for future interactions in English.

” Interviewing….Virgin Mary”:The classroom game of
pretending to interact in English is a rehearsal
for future interactions in English.

Just a few drama activities can bring an EFL/ESL classroom to life. The trends in English Language Teaching (ELT) lean heavily toward communicative and authentic language use. Drama provides lots of immediate resources and is fun for teacher and students alike.

I mainly use Drama in class Projects presentations !Also, I love staging mini-musicals at the end of each school year!

School Musicals

Enthusiastic audience!!

Enthusiastic audience!!

School musicals offer a good chance to children to bring out their talent, build self confidence, and overcome all of their inhibitions. It has many benefits for children like development of right self-esteem, instilling interest for music and drama and more. School musicals, drama, and plays teach children to work in a team, develop organizational abilities, communication and more.

Taking part in a school musical production has many benefits for children – increased self-esteem, the development of their dramatic and musical talents, and the opportunity to learn about working together as part of a team.

I find ideas in our library English Readers or in different  books or sites such as

http://www.childrenstheatreplays.com/schoolplays.htm

The main points concerning drama, which  I have in mind ,when I ask my students to get involved in such  activities ,are:

"The Wizard of Oz":School musicals offer a good chance to children to bring out their talent, build self confidence, and overcome all of their inhibitions

“The Wizard of Oz”:School musicals offer a good chance to children to bring out their talent, build self confidence, and overcome all of their inhibitions

Suspension of disbelief
When we watch a film or a play on television
or in the theatre, we ignore the fact that the
actors are not actually, detectives, doctors or
murderers. We engage in the drama because
we are able to suspend our disbelief, we are
able to pretend that the actors are the
characters they portray that the locations are
not stage sets or studios and the words spoken
by the actors are a prepared script, not the
spontaneous thoughts of the characters.

" Alice in Wonderland":School musicals, drama, and plays teach children to work in a team, develop organizational abilities, communication and more.

” Alice in Wonderland”:School musicals, drama, and plays teach children to work in a team, develop organizational abilities, communication and more.

" The Wizard of Oz": A School musical, has many benefits for children like development of right self-esteem, instilling interest for music and drama and more.

” The Wizard of Oz”: A School musical, has many benefits for children like development of right self-esteem, instilling interest for music and drama and more.

Our sixth graders musical every year, is a huge success! Both the kids and their parents are looking so much forward to it!

Our sixth graders musical every year, is a huge success! Both the kids and their parents are looking so much forward to it!

Students in an ELT classroom also need to
suspend disbelief, otherwise they would be
endlessly frustrated by the fact that the
teacher does not speak in the mother tongue
she shares with her students.
Drama and Games
‘Pretend games’ are a central part of a child’s
education. When they dress up as a princess,
they become a princess. Their toys are not
painted pieces of metal, wood or plastic, they
are cars, guns, space rockets. Their toys get
sick, recover, get angry and feel emotions.
The ELT classroom is a ‘pretend game’ in
exactly the same way.
Preparation for real life
Few of our students will become princesses
or astronauts, but all of them will become
English language users. The classroom game of
pretending to interact in English is a rehearsal
for future interactions in English.

"The Wizard of Oz": At the beginning students will be hesitant and shy to participate in the activities, but after a few sessions they will become more enthusiastic and there will be a phenomenal improvement in their confidence level.

“The Wizard of Oz”: At the beginning students will be hesitant and shy to participate in the activities, but after a few sessions they will become more enthusiastic and there will be a phenomenal improvement in their confidence level.

Most actors would agree that rehearsals are a
time for hard work, careful listening and
intense performance but they are also an
enjoyable experience. They are a time for
experimenting and having fun before the real
audience arrives.

Students and teachers need to adopt the same
attitude to their language classes.

Drama or dramatic activities I use in my classes

Mime

Drama encourages adaptability, fluency, and communicative competence .

Drama encourages adaptability, fluency, and communicative competence .

Mime helps develop students’ power of imagination and observation and can also be quite simply ” a source of great enjoyment” with students tending “to be very enthusiastic about this aspect of drama”, (Hayes, 1984)

"The Wizard of Oz": The main benefit of role play from the point of view of language teaching is that it enables a flow of language to be produced that might be otherwise difficult or impossible to create

“The Wizard of Oz”: The main benefit of role play from the point of view of language
teaching is that it enables a flow of language to be produced that might be otherwise difficult or impossible to create

Its strength lies in that although no language is used during
the mime, the mime itself can act as a catalyst to generate and elicit language before, during and after the activity.

Role Play

In role play the participants are assigned roles which they act out in a given scenario.

"Your face sounds familiar- A concert": Music, is an essential part in musical performances! It helps my students reveal their inner talents!

“Your face sounds familiar- A concert”: Music, is an essential part in musical performances! It helps my students reveal their inner talents!

The main benefit of role play from the point of view of language
teaching is that it enables a flow of language to be produced that might be otherwise difficult or impossible to create. Role play can also help recreate the language students used in different situation, the sort of language students are likely to need outside the classroom

Simulation

" Your face sounds familiar-A concert": The FUN element of ELT music shows, is is obvious in this photo!!

” Your face sounds familiar-A concert”: The FUN element of ELT music shows, is is obvious in this photo!!

My students have roles, functions, duties ,
and responsibilities within a structured situation involving problem solving.
Simulations are generally held to be a structured set of circumstances’ that mirror real life and in which participants act as instructed.

A simulation activity is one where the students  discuss a problem within a defined setting, In simulation activities, the students are either playing themselves or someone else.

" A Eurovision song contest parody": Here's an Improvisation end-of-the-school year concert which we all just LOVED! In the photo, Agathonas Iakovides and Coza Mostra in...Eurovision 2013!!

” A Eurovision song contest parody”: Here’s an Improvisation end-of-the-school year concert which we all just LOVED! In the photo, Agathonas Iakovides and Coza Mostra in…Eurovision 2013!!

A simulation activity provides a specific situation within which students can practice various communication skills like asserting oneself, expressing opinions, convincing others, arguing eliciting opinions, group-problems-solving, analyzing situations and so on…

Improvisation

Improvisation is an excellent technique to use in the FL/L2 classroom as it motivates the learners to be active participants in authentic situations thereby reducing their self consciousness. At the beginning students will be hesitant and shy to participate in the activities, but after a few sessions they will become more enthusiastic and there will be a phenomenal improvement in their confidence level.

Christmas sketses , are a good chance for my youngest learners, to use their english for the first time, in front of a real audience!

Christmas sketses , are a good chance for my youngest learners, to use their english for the first time, in front of a real audience!

I use it a great deal in my lessons!

"Alice and Peter Pan ": Using puppets in my ELT class, has been really beneficial for my youngest students! Even the most shy ones, want to take part!

“Alice and Peter Pan “: Using puppets in my ELT class, has been really beneficial for my youngest students! Even the most shy ones, want to take part!

Improvisation exercises could involve an entire class of learners or smaller groups.
Once the context has been provided the learners will participate spontaneously in the exercise.

A whole class improvisation exercise could eg  involve the students at a market where some are the buyers and others the sellers. My role is to provide the context and the participants act out their roles spontaneously without any planning.

Puppet theatre

At the mini market: sketses can prove to be valuable in TEFL! Great fun!

At the mini market: sketses can prove to be valuable in TEFL! Great fun!

I often use finger play activities, chants and actions songs to help make transitions in the junior class more effective, settling everyone down so that I’ve got all of the children’s attention and also, help them learn in the most enjoyable way!

Puppets can be used in an English class:

  • to teach greetings
  • to teach prepositions
  • to teach comparatives and superlatives
  • to dramatize dialogues
  • in word games
  • to present facts about nutrition
  • in rhythm studies
  • in biographies
  • in sketches
In role play the participants are assigned roles which they act out in a given scenario.

In role play the participants are assigned roles which they act out in a given scenario.

Puppetry is of special benefit to shy and nervous children and also gives the feeling of involvement and participation to the entire class. Our puppet shows give a sense of relief from the tension of classroom teaching and add variety to the lesson.

Role play can also help recreate the language students used in different situation, the sort of language students are likely to need outside the classroom

Role play can also help recreate the language students used in different situation, the sort of language students are likely to need outside the classroom

Therefore, a puppet theatre can be an excellent piece of equipment in a second language classroom….trust me!

In general, Drama  activities facilitate the type of language behaviour that should lead to fluency, and if it is accepted that the learners want to learn a language in order to make themselves understood in the target language, then drama does indeed further this end.

” Why use drama in the EFL classroom?” We can create desirable conditions for learning and teaching in our EFL classes using drama activities and it is very enjoyable for both students and teachers!

” Why use drama in the EFL classroom?” We can create desirable conditions for learning and teaching in our EFL classes using drama activities and it is very enjoyable for both students and teachers!

" Interviewing....Barbie": ‘Pretend games’ are a central part of a child’seducation. When they dress up as a princess,they become a princess.

” Interviewing….Barbie”: ‘Pretend games’ are a central part of a child’seducation.
When they dress up as a princess,they become a princess.

The advantages to be gained from the use of drama is that students become more confident in their use of English by experiencing the language in operation. Drama in the English language classroom is ultimately indispensable because it gives learners the chance to use their own personalities. It draws upon students’ natural abilities to imitate and express themselves, and if well-handled should arouse interest and imagination. Drama encourages adaptability, fluency, and communicative competence . It puts language into context, and by giving learners experience of success in real-life situations it should arm them with confidence for tackling the world outside the classroom.

To summarise…

I want to stress that, children learn languages actively seeking to interpret meaning from context ,making creative use of language they know, using an instinct for talking and interacting and indirect learning e.g. through games and songs.a capacity to find fun ,an ability to use fantasy and imagination.

And also it is very important to keep in mind that learning and teaching is a very complicated process.

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“…we discovered that education is not something which the teacher does, but that it is a natural process which develops spontaneously in the human being. It is not acquired by listening to words, but in virtue of experiences in which the child acts on his environment. The teacher’s task is not to talk, but to prepare and arrange a series of motives for cultural activity in a special environment made for the child. “ Dr. Maria Montessori

" Interviewing ....Hurem, Suleiman's Sultana": Children learn languages actively seeking to interpret meaning from context ,making creative use of language they know, using an instinct for talking and interacting and indirect learning e.g. through games and songs.a capacity to find fun ,an ability to use fantasy and imagination.

” Interviewing ….Hurem, Suleiman’s Sultana”: Children learn languages actively seeking to interpret meaning from context ,making creative use of language they know, using an instinct for talking and interacting and indirect learning e.g. through games and songs.a capacity to find fun ,an ability to use fantasy and imagination.

The mime itself can act as a catalyst to generate and elicit language before, during and after the activity.

The mime itself can act as a catalyst to generate and elicit language before, during and after the activity.

And so: ” Why use drama in the EFL classroom?” We can create desirable conditions for learning and teaching in our EFL classes using drama activities and it is very enjoyable for both students and teachers!

Useful Bibliography

Charlyn Wessel , 1987, Drama ,Oxford; OUP, Resource Books for Teachers.

Jill Hadfield , 1992, Classroom Dynamics , Oxford; OUP Resource Books for Teachers.

Sarah Phillips, 2003,Drama with Chidren, Oxford; OUP, Resource Books for Teachers.

S. Halliwell, 1995, Teaching English in the Primary Classroom ,Oxford; OUP, Resource Books for Teachers.

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