3 Meaningful Activities for the End of the Year

As these last weeks of school drag on, it can be tricky to make forward progress. The weather is getting nicer, spring events disrupt the schedule, and (let’s be real) fatigue is in full force. If you are like me, you need some simple, meaningful, go-to lessons to fuel you and your students to the very end. Here are 3 to do just that.


1. Revisit your fool-proof portraiture lesson.

Have students make a new, end-of-the-year portrait. Mount them side by side. Ask students to reflect on their growth as artists. Create a writing frame to guide them and keep their responses focused. For a techie alternative, record their responses, post them on a private YouTube page and mount the linked QR Codes with the portraits.

2. Have students design a calendar for next year.

Start thinking about next year? That’s right, I said it! Have your students design an academic calendar they can use next year. Fill it with important district or school dates that you might already know. Include arts advocacy quotes or artist birthdays. Download the calendar below as a starting point! If you’d like a customizable version, click here.


Click to Download Free Calendar!
Click to Download Free Calendar!


Be as free or as directed as you choose. Students might have total choice on how they embellish the calendar, or, you might do mini-revisits of all your important lessons. For instance,  “Use only cool colors for December,” or,  “Create a composition with organic shapes for June.”

3. Let artists inspire outdoor projects! Don’t resist it…get outside!

Let Andy Goldsworthy inspire some outdoor, impermanent installations. You might have a madonnari festival in which groups of students take sidewalk chalk to the extreme. Bring the outdoors in by using flowers, leaves, bugs, even chicks or ducklings for visual study. Go on scavenger hunts looking for geometric shapes, examples of balance or rhythm, or places where design makes your community a better place to live. Tap into students’ tech interests by asking them to snap pictures of their finds.

You’ve almost made it, you are in the home stretch! Finish the year strong by trying one of these inspiring ideas!

What is your plan for the end of the year?

Do you have any other successful activities to share? 


Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.


Sarah Dougherty

Sarah Dougherty, a visual arts curriculum coordinator, is a former AOEU Writer and elementary school art educator. She loves working with diverse populations to bring art into students’ homes, communities, and everyday lives.

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