the countdown to the end of the year has begun

If you’re a teacher during the final weeks of the school year, chances are you’re tired. Actually, you’re probably more than tired, you’re exhausted and overwhelmed with the ever-growing list of tasks and to-dos being piled onto your plate to be completed before summer break. To say you’re in survival mode is kind of an understatement. 

Buuut…you also are probably feeling an urge to make the last few weeks fun and memorable for you and your students. 

What if there was a way to meaningfully celebrate each one of your students and countdown the final few days of the year without making more work for you?

Enter the MVP for a Day Countdown

What is the MVP Countdown?

The MVP Countdown is a fun, engaging, and simple way to celebrate each one of your students at the end of the school year. Here’s how it works: for the last few weeks of school, one student is appointed as the MVP of the day. On their designated day, the MVP is responsible for leading the class morning meeting, a whole class game, and teaching the class a skill or lesson of their choosing. 

You may also consider having the MVP bring a snack to share with the class and complete a page template that will be compiled into a memory book for the class at the end of the year.

*Note: this countdown is best suited for upper elementary grades but could easily be tailored for younger grades. Consider what extra supports your younger students may need (or which parts of the MVP day can be eliminated to simplify)

kids playing at recess

Why students love THE COUNTDOWN:

Let’s face it, students love anytime they are celebrated (I mean, don’t we all?). So think about how they’ll feel about an opportunity to have an entire day? And when they find out they’ll be able to teach their classmates about a subject that is important to them, you can almost guarantee that you’ll be their favorite teacher for years to come. 

So what types of things can your students teach about? Pretty much anything! When introducing the countdown to your students, have a conversation as a whole class and lay any ground rules you feel are necessary. At this point in the school year, you know your students better than anybody. 

Here’s a quick list of some of the most memorable topics my students have taught on their MVP day:

  • How to solve a rubiks cube
  • How to play a few chords on a ukulele
  • How to solve and apply the pythagorean theorem (I had a super advanced group this year and they seriously had so much fun with this one)
solving a rubiks cube

WHY TEACHERS LOVE THE COUNTDOWN:

The obvious answer is that it’s really next to no prep for you. Aside from introducing the countdown, establishing how the activities will run each day, and posting the signup, there isn’t much for you to do. As a bit of a side note: I always let students know that I am available to run copies for their activities if needed.

But beyond the easy factor, this countdown is kind of sneaky. It may seem like just another fun thing to do with your students, but you’ll quickly realize that what you’re actually doing is promoting student leadership, creativity, teamwork, and providing them with a chance to engage in authentic learning on topics that matter to them. And when they have those interests validated by you and their peers, that’s true classroom community. 

students learning cooperatively

HOW TO IMPLEMENT THIS END OF THE YEAR COUNTDOWN:

Three simple steps, that’s all it takes. Here they are:

Step 1: map out the remaining days of the school year and determine when your countdown will begin. Consider eliminating any special days (like schoolwide field days or field trips) from the countdown

Step 2: create a signup for students to choose their MVP day or use this freebie template

Step 3: introduce the countdown and any guidelines for the countdown to your students

And that’s it! 

End of the school year countdown sign up template

Ending the school year with an MVP Countdown is a fun and effective way to keep students engaged and motivated during the final days of the school year. It’s also so easy to implement and is a great way to take some pressure off of you at the end of the year. By giving students the opportunity to take on a leadership role and teach their peers, you’ll be providing them with a sense of ownership and accomplishment that will stick with them for years to come. Try this countdown this school year and you may just discover that the MVP Countdown becomes a beloved end-of-year tradition. Happy counting down!

looking for more end of the year ideas?

Check out this blog post about getting your classroom organized before the end of the school year.

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