1. Realize you can't do it all - and that's ok! This is the time to channel your inner Elsa and "let it go!" Yes, there are pats of the curriculum or skills or topics you wanted to cover, but haven't. Yes, it would be so fun to do that amazing craft you found on Pinterest at 2:00 yesterday morning because you couldn't sleep. But the reality is, time is limited. Choose what is most important to you and your class and focus on that. Is this a group that needs all the love and caring and connections you can give them? Make that your number one priority these next few weeks. Does your group STILL need practice with an important skill? Work that into what you're doing as much as possible. You know your class, and what they need. Stay true to that.
2. That brings me to number 2 - go with what you feel is right. You know your class best. If they thrive on structure and consistency, then maybe changing it up to do a camping day or a pajama day is just not going to work. Countdown activities are fun - but they can wreck havoc for kiddos who need to know what to expect. Instead of making the whole day different, maybe you can use the end of the day to do some fun things. And if you can't - see #1. Every class is different, and for some students, the thought of not having that safe and loving place to come to every day brings on more worry than cheer. The last few weeks of school are crazy enough, with assemblies, awards, testing, etc. Don't add to it unless you know your kiddos can handle it.
3. I know you WANT to bring some fun and enjoyment to those last days. Try integrating it into what you already do! Done with your reading series? Use the time to read about amazing animals (I've got some great nonfiction resources HERE), learn about different places or try theme days. That way you can still keep your regular schedule, but add in some fun. Play math games instead of independent work. Try a read the room activity. Be creative! And if your class can handle more - go for it!
4. As you're finishing up this year, think about next year. (I know you're already doing that!) Make notes about things you want to change in the fall. Keep a bin or basket with ideas for next year. Start copying things you might need for the first few weeks in the fall so you're a step ahead! Thinking about moving things around or trying something new? Try it now! Every class is different, but you might gain some insight into whether or not what you want to try will work. Bring in some flexible seating. Try a different room arrangement. Run math a different way. Doing it now will help you feel more comfortable when you really roll it out for next year.
5. HAVE FUN! Remember - whatever you do with your kiddos these last few weeks will be the memories they take with them through the summer. Amazing room transformations, cute crafts and themed days are fun, but the most important thing to keep doing now is making connections and showing your students you care. That's what they'll remember most!