Four tips to keep students engaged at the end of the year

As the school year begins to wrap up, chances are your students are getting antsy for summer vacation. It can be difficult to keep learners on track with such a big distraction looming, so here are some tips to help your class stay focused during the home stretch to that final bell.

Add elements of surprise

While you’re going through the last couple weeks of school, shake up class a bit to keep students on their toes. Take your students outside to learn on a nice day, or introduce a class-wide prize (like watching a movie or going on a virtual field trip) that students can earn if everyone finishes their work. has a whole library of educational online games that you can use for a change of pace, as well as offline games that work great as rewards.

Reflect with a group project

A final project that brings together some of the knowledge your students have learned over the year can get them to apply what they’ve been studying. 

The project could be a big class-wide effort, such as inventing and building a city out of art supplies for social studies, or it could be one that breaks students into smaller groups. If you choose a project with smaller groups, consider turning it into a friendly competition. For example, for a science class you could challenge learners to make a bottle rocket, and test different fuel mixtures to see what combination powers the rocket the best.

Encourage independence

The end of a school year is the perfect time to let students have more ownership over their work. Give your class the freedom to choose books they want to analyze or topics they want to research.

One assignment idea that’s sure to get students excited is a superhero research project. This project lets students practice investigating information using an entertaining subject, and then has them organize their findings in a chart.

Make review fun

Some end-of-the-year review of key topics is crucial to help students transition into the next grade level. Just because you’re covering old material, though, that doesn’t mean you can’t spice it up a bit. Try to turn the review into games and physical activities that can get learners moving and invested.

This could be as simple as presenting math problems as crossword puzzles, or more elaborate like making a parts of speech scavenger hunt. An idea for older students that’s adaptable to any subject is to turn the review into a Jeopardy-style quiz show, with categories, points, and prizes for the winners.

For more worksheets, activities, and resources to help you make the most of the end of the year, browse through’s Learning Library.