End-of-year class ideas

So the end of the academic year is coming to a close, at least in many parts of the world. Generally our learners have completed exams at school as well as in the academy, and now we are at the stage where we have a few weeks left, we don’t really want to keep using the course book but we do want to have fun in a way that is engaging and language-focused to some extent. In this post, I’ve put together a list of lesson ideas you might find useful for this post-exam, almost-at-the-end part of the year.

Making comics and storyboard

Storyboard That and Comix are free sites that allows learners to create their own storyboards/comics. They come equipped with loads of characters, monsters, scenes, etc. that learners will love. Thinking about how these might fit into a lesson, you could have learners think about how their summer holidays might be, how the world might be in fifty years, or even get them to reflect on the year and create a storyboard of their journey in your class. I have mentioned these two sites, but if you are running in-person classes, then comics can be done with pencils and paper.

Just some of the things you can do with Storyboard That.

Digital escape room

Who doesn’t love escape rooms? I mean, c’mon – they are awesome! There are plenty of digital escape rooms for free out there, but some that I love include: Harry Potter – Hogwarts Escape Room and Sherlock Holmes Escape Room.

You can also make you own, if you have time, for those in-person classes. I have yet to do this, so I will save the advice for after I have done one!

Memory books

Memory books are basically books that contain reflections, pictures and, well, memories from the year. Last year I did these online using Google Slides, but you can do them in a number of formats. The point at the end of the day is to encourage learners to reflect on the year, see where they were, look at where they are now and put this information on (digital) paper. The original template I used was created by Yazia Silva and is available from Teachers Pay Teachers for free.

Learner-created quizzes

Learners love Kahoots and you know it. Sometimes you feel guilty, though, right? You probably think things like, ‘is this really that target-language focused?’, ‘are learners really getting something out of this?’, or even ‘this is not really that relevant to all of my learners’. One was around this is to turn the Kahoot into a task – get learners to create their own!

There are a number of ways you can do this – either letting them do the research, think of the questions and create the Kahoot online, or having them do everything except create the Kahoot online (you can do this). It largely depends on the age of your learners, their level of digital literacy and access to computers.

Email to future self

Futureme is a site that allows people to write an email to themselves – and receive it in the future when they want. In my mind, this make for a brilliant reflective tool that has the added benefit of the ‘surprise’ future impact. We all know that reflection is important for a whole range of things, so why not do it in a way that is fun, interesting and likely to have an impact on learners in the future?

For those learners that are doing exams, e.g. Cambridge First, this also creates another opportunity to engage in exam practice before exam day, albeit with a slightly different focus. The important thing here is to define the criteria that learners need to comply with.

With in-person classes, you can have learners plan and write their emails in class, and then at home they can write them up and send them to themselves.

Exam practice

Ok, so if learners are doing their exams, they should be given some relevant exam practice. No, I’m not saying sit them down and give them a Reading and Use of English paper; rather, I’m saying try to integrate part of the exam into the fun stuff that you do (unless the class actually wants that, of course).

Learner interviews

One thing I do every term, not just at the end of the year, is learner interviews. This is basically a lesson where I sit down with each learner for about 5 minutes or so and we talk about their progress throughout the year, their exam results, what they have liked/disliked about the classes, etc. This helps learners to see themselves as valued individuals and not always just another member of the class. It is also a great way for you to get feedback on your teaching.

Final thoughts

End-of-the-year classes have the tendency to not be prioritised as learners are slightly distracted, teachers are tired, and basically everyone wants to go on holiday. This being said, we should take this time to encourage reflection and celebrate your learners’ successes (both from an academic and learning behaviour perspective!). These ideas are but a few of what could be done – if you have any more ideas, please share them!

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