Pocketful of Sunshine - An Easy, Memorable End of the Year Activty

Wednesday, April 26, 2017 / Leave a Comment

Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook are all full of teachers posting their "End of the School Year Activities." We're all searching for that one gift, activity, or memento that will show our students just how much we enjoyed having them in our class this year (while also not costing a small fortune or taking forever to put together!). 

Well, it just so happens that I have an awesome one. A fantastic one. It costs next to nothing, takes almost no set up time, AND...I happen to know for a FACT that it's memorable, like serious, when you run into a student five years from now they will remember this activity kind of memorable.

How do I know, you ask?

I know that your students will remember this end of the year activity fondly for years to come because I still have my "bag of sunshine" from when my AP English teacher did this activity with my senior year English class...wait for it...20 years ago (shaking head in disbelief). 

Here's how it works:

1) Give each student in your class a brown paper lunch bag. While they decorate their bag with markers or crayons, write the name of each student in the class on the board.

This bag is 20 years old. It's practically a historical artifact!

2) Give the students slips of paper (about index card sized), and tell them to write a brief positive comment, memory, or message for the future for each classmate. They should sign it with their name (no anonymous messages!). It can be helpful to brainstorm some ideas for more generic messages for the students who didn't get to know each other very well (i.e. I hope you have a great summer!), as well as sharing some more meaningful ideas (i.e. a funny thing the student said that you remember, a time you worked in a group together, etc.). Make sure you write a note for each student too!

Mrs. Duprat isn't on Facebook. If she was, I'd share this picture with her and tell her how much it still means to me.

3) Have students set up their bags on their desks and then give them time to deliver their messages school Valentine's Day style. Once they've finished, give everyone time to take out their notes and read them!

I still smile every time I read them.

4) A few notes: 
  • If you're worried about inappropriate messages, set up the bags on a table or along a bookshelf and tell the students they will read them the following day. That will give you time to go through and make sure everything is positive and all messages made it to the correct bags.
  • Make sure you make a bag for yourself! You'll be pleasantly surprised at the thoughtful messages you receive.
  • If you love this idea, but want to make it even easier - check out the version I have listed on TeachersPayTeachers. It's very affordable, super cute, and has lots of helpful little tips for different grade levels.

And, if you're still on the search for more great end of the year activities, please check out the article I just wrote for WeAreTeachers on the subject!

5 Senior Graduation Gifts Teachers Can DIY



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