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Activity Variations for End-of-the-Year Magic

Add these powerful activities into your final weeks to help build resilience in your students!

"What we remember about the experience influences more of our behavior than the experience itself." - Lucinda Martinelli

Photo by Rene Bernal on Unsplash

The Opportunity

This has been a wild, difficult year, however students and teachers have shown their incredible resilience and fight for learning and joy. By building in powerful reflections and connection-building activities, you can help your students determine how they want to remember this year.

We know through brain science that the most impactful memories often come from the beginning or the end of events. Within his Ted Talk, Nobel laureate and founder of behavioral economics, Daniel Kahneman, discusses fascinating studies from vacations to colonoscopies that reveal “how our ‘experiencing selves’ and our ‘remembering selves’ perceive happiness differently.”where researchers learned the importance of Peaks and Ends. Within this theory, what we remember about the experience influences more of our behavior than the experience itself. We remember what happened at the peaks (joy or pain) and at the end of the experience more than any other parts. This helps us form a story about the experience and that’s what we use to make decisions in the future.

Kahneman speaks about how these new insights have profound implications for our own self-awareness, economics, public policy -- and Lucinda Tartinelli from Whole Planet Consulting sees as especially relevant for the end of this unprecedented school year.

The use of reflections and reframing is powerful because - while the past year may be frozen in time - our memory of it and the lessons we gained are available for us and our students whenever we seek them out. As Kikori co-founder, Bryn Lottig, states, “Perception is reality - we cannot tease apart reality from our memory.”

This week Kikori is partnering with Whole Planet Consulting to bring you a meaningful end-of-the-year Playlist! This "Strong Finish for the Year" playlist includes six great activities for reflecting on the end of the year that will help students want to come back in the fall! Below, Whole Planet Consulting shares variations and ways of combining different activities to make them perfect for the end of the year! You can access them on Kikori through the App Store (Apple), Google Play Store (Android) or online through the brand new Kikori WebApp!

Emotions Charades Variation

Have students write down or pick out an emotion they’re feeling, or that they think someone in the class might be feeling. If using pre-made cards, have some duplicates ready. If students are writing them, check for too many duplicates or inappropriate words.

Shuffle the feelings cards and give them to the teams to act out.

Reflection Questions

Why are these emotions the ones that got picked today? Were there any that surprised you?

Which ones came up more than once? Were you surprised that someone else picked the same emotion you did?

There might be some surprising emotions in the pile. Not every student looks forward to the end of the school year. Point out that all emotions are ok and you are probably not alone in how you feel.

Warm Fuzzies (SELA 36.2) + Superhero Check In + The Being

Give group members the opportunity to affirm each other!

Ask everyone to answer these questions:

What superpowers did we need to use today/this past year?

What superpowers do your classmates have?

Give the group time to share and come up with some superpower ideas.

If students are being identified by name, make sure sharing is respectful or anonymous, as appropriate.

You could combine this activity with the Warm Fuzzies activity, having every student write affirmations to each other, including what superpowers they’ve shown during the day/year. Some sample questions:

What superpower did this person show us this year? When did we see it? How did they show us?

How did this person help you or the class this year?

What is your favorite thing about this person?

You made me laugh when...

You could also combine this with The Being Revisited.

Throughout the year, the class has been working on all the ways we wanted to be together. What superpowers does your class have after working together all year?

Tool Kit (SELA 36.1) + Letter to Self (SELA 36.3)

Have actual tools, toy tools, or pictures of tools out for students to make metaphors from. This works best with students 5th grade and above. Use the suggestions in the activity “Creating Meaning with Metaphor.” Have students choose objects that represent the tools that have been useful to them throughout the school year and/or will be useful to them throughout the summer and into next school year.

Have students share their tools and put them in a container that represents the class toolbox.

Pair this activity with Letter to Self. Have the students write letters to themselves describing the tools they’ve chosen, what they represent and how they will be useful next year. Mail the letters to them over the summer.*Be sure they’ve addressed their envelopes correctly*

If students are more easily reachable via email, the letter can be scanned or a picture taken of it and emailed to them over the summer. Be sure to adhere to privacy guidelines for your school.

BONUS! Did you know that there is a website where students can write a letter to themselves that will send it for them? Check out Future Me for an online variation to have students write letters to themselves!

Do you want to save the Creator Spotlight playlist for easy access?

Head over to Playlists to find A Strong Finish for the Year!

Click the ❤️ to Favorite the Playlist and store it for later!

If you haven't already downloaded the Kikori App, it's available now!! Click to download in the App Store and Google Play Store or our brand new desktop WebApp.

Read More:

Learn about Whole Planet Consulting: Making the planet more whole, one classroom at a time.

Whole Planet Consulting is an Education Consulting company based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. We help schools implement Social Emotional Learning and Inquiry Based Education. The focus of our work is the improvement of the social presence of teachers in the classroom. Whole Planet Consulting combines education research and practices with brain science and experiential techniques to transform teaching and learning into a collaborative, successful and joyful endeavor.

Now more than ever, Social Emotional Learning is vital to the educational experience. Integrating SEL with academics is one important part of a complete school SEL plan. But teachers don't need more to do!

The Teacher Institute will explore ways to use the academic strategies you already know to address social and emotional needs in your classroom. This summer session is limited to a cohort of 20 educators. The course will be comprised of interactive Zoom meetings and online reflections and assignments.

Earn 7 Continuing Education Credits!

When? July 27 & 29th; August 3 & 5 @9-11am ET

How do you celebrate the end of the school year with your students!? Tell us in the comments below!

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Jan 21

This blog highlights the importance of social-emotional learning and its role in building students' resilience at the end of the school year. The activities presented on the platform help to create a magical end of the year, strengthening the connection and mutual understanding between the participants. Interestingly, just as it is important to build resilience, it is equally important to build strong foundations, as shown in roofing construction images, where every element is important.

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