End of Year Project Ideas and Tips

Project topics for upper elementary students

Flowers are not the only thing that blooms during spring! Spring is definitely the season when upper elementary students bloom and become independent learners, hungry to learn as much as they can!

That is why I love providing students with independent opportunities to shine, taking control of their own learning, and showing what they can do!

Spring signals the end of the year and project season in my classroom!  Projects are so important for students to complete. It helps them with:

  • time management
  • organization
  • independence
  • synthesize all of the amazing skills and strategies that you taught them all year long

When we complete independent projects in the classroom, the kids are always engaged, excited to work on their assignments, and can't wait to share everything that they are learning! This is always a HUGE teacher win, but especially when school is winding down.

My favorite projects to do with students are research projects, debates, writing projects, and Performance Tasks.  I love these types of projects because they can be completed independently, with a partner, or in a small group. There is so much flexibility about how you implement these projects which is what makes them so much fun!

If you are thinking about doing a big project with your students, these teacher tips will surely help to make project time in your classroom run smoothly!

✔️Quick Project Tip #1: Allow Choice

If you are doing a research project about any topic, plan some time before the project begins for students to think about who or what they want to research. I have my students find out a bit about a few different topics within the project topic that they want to learn more about. If we are doing biography research, students are expected to have three people in mind that they want to research. Then I have students submit their research requests to me to avoid multiple students researching the same person or topic. This can be as simple as them writing their name and the three topics down on a piece of paper and handing it in, or you can get more formal and have students write a paragraph about why the topic is of interest to them. No matter which way you have them submit, it. By having students apply for what they want to research, student presentations are kept fresh and varied. 

✔️Quick Project Tip #2: Plan it Out Step by Step

Take the time before the project begins to plan out each step you want students to do and then compile them into a checklist. My kids LOVE checking off each step as they complete them. It helps them to stay motivated and engaged. Using a checklist also promotes independence and cuts down on student questions. I go one step further and give students a daily checklist to really keep them on track.

end of the year ocean research project

✔️Quick Project Tip #3: Take Time to Explain

Don't rush day one of the project. Instead, plan a large chunk of time to allow students to ask as many questions as they want while you explain the project and each step. Record all of their questions and the answers on chart paper, so that when students ask that question again during the project, and you know that they will, you can direct them to the anchor chart! #teacherwin

✔️Quick Project Tip #4: Share the End Result

Begin with the end! Complete the project yourself to show students what you expect by the end of the project. This is really important for kids to see to help them visualize what they have to do and what they are working towards. After completing the project, take pictures of your students' completed work and ask them if you can make a copy of their project. This will give you a true student model to showcase next year when you complete the project again!

end of the year persuasive writing project

✔️Quick Project Tip #5: Keep it All in One Spot

Give students a folder or poly envelope to keep all of their project materials in one spot. Collect the folders after each project time period. This will save time each day during set up and clean up time. It will also help cut back on the loss of materials. Having folders also gives you the chance to check in on students to see how far along they have come!

Here are some projects my kids LOVE to explore this time of year:

end of the year writing project for kids

Project season is my favorite time of the year! 

I love watching the kids shine and truly take control of their own learning. The projects students complete create powerful educational memories, too! It is definitely a magical time of the year!

You might be interested in reading:

7 Ways to Celebrate the End of the School Year

End of Year Activities: For In Class and Remote Learning

End of Year Read Alouds

Must Do End of the Year Activity

Kick off Summer Reading in Your Classroom Now!

Check out my favorite no-prep project packs
right HERE

Like this one all about National Park research!

National Parks Research Project for kids

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End of Year Project Ideas and Tips

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    8 Must Read Endangered Species Picture Books

    8 Must Read Endangered Species Picture Books

    Bringing real-world issues into the classroom is always an important mission for me as a teacher. 

    That is why I love teaching students about all of the endangered species that are in jeopardy of disappearing forever. Endangered species projects are always instant engagement for students! Not only do the students sharpen their reading, writing, research, and speaking skills, but they develop empathy and a true understanding of the dangers endangered species face of becoming extinct.

    This list of books is among my absolute favorites! These endangered animal books can be used at any time during the school year, so even if you do not complete an endangered species project, you can still educate and engage students about the wide range of animals that are disappearing from our planet, especially around Earth Day!

    This list includes a wide range of books, from nonfiction titles to stories, and even anthology-style books, too. You will surely love them all, too! Be sure to grab the free student activities that coordinate with these picture books at the bottom of this post.

    Don't Let Them Disappear written by Chelsea Clinton

    Don't Let Them Disappear book

    One of my favorite parts about this book is that it includes so much more than a list of animals! I love the endangered species key, the map that shows where each animal lives, and the author's notes at the end of the book that encourages kids to take action on saving the animals! Each two-page spread includes beautiful illustrations of an endangered animal, information about the species, and its endangered species status! So perfect to kick off any endangered animals unit!

    Will We Miss Them? written by Alexandra Wright

    Will We Miss Them endangered animal story

    Yes, yes, we will miss them! This book was my first book about endangered species, and boy has it been loved by many kids! This book is so eye-opening as it brings to light how so many animals that we love like elephants, gorillas, and brown bears are in serious jeopardy of becoming extinct. This is one of those books that the kids will borrow from your library over and over again.

    Can We Save Them? written by David Dobson

    reading activity endangered animals

    I love that this book not only addresses the animals that are endangered but plant life too! The list includes many animals from Florida panthers to American beetles. The wide range of life included in this list will surely engage every student!

    Wild Lives written by Ben Lerwill

    true animal stories for kids

    This is an absolute MUST have for any classroom! This easy to read and get lost in anthology shares 50 AMAZING animal stories that will surely inspire you and your students! From endangered species to famous dogs like Seabiscuit, your students will be begging to hear each animal tale! This book has five categories of stories such as "Rescue Dogs" and "Pioneer Dogs." Each story is told on two pages with so many pictures and fun facts, making it the perfect read-aloud in a short amount of time! This is one of my favorite series of anthologies. The women's history anthology in the same series is equally as amazing!

    Here is the Tropical Rain Forest
    written by Madeline Dunphy

    earth day activities and tropical rainforest

    When it comes to endangered animals and Earth Day studies each spring, I always make sure to bring the rainforests into our units! This book perfectly illustrates how important the rainforests are to our planet and our way of life! Your students will learn about the different plant and animal life that live in the rainforests and how they are in danger of disappearing. 

    Koko's Kitten written by Dr. Francine Patterson

    Kokos Kitten picture book story

    Kok's Kitten is a powerful informative picture book that tells the story of Koko, the gorilla who was taught American Sign Language. Throughout this book, both you and your students will fall in love with Koko as she expresses her feelings and love for her kitten who she cares for as a baby. The real photos engage students, as well as the story. Koko teaches us that animals and humans are very much alike. 

    Slowly, Slowly, Slowly, Said the Sloth written by Eric Carle

    sloth endangered animal story

    I love Eric Carle and this is just another amazing book by this talented author. This book focuses on all things sloths! How it moves, what it eats, and the animals it interacts with in the rarinforests. It is a great kick-off to any animal project to get kids focused on one animal that they want to read and learn about. The preface by Jane Goodall talks about how and why these animals are endangered.

    One Day in the Eucalyptus Ecualyptus Tree written by Daniel Bernstrom

    endangered animals book for kids

    This fun story, written in rhyme is very much like the series of books, There Was an Old Lady. It follows a boy who gets gobbled up by a snake and ends up meeting many other animals that live in the Eucalyptus tree. This easy-to-read story will bring some fun and humor into your endangered animal or animal unit!

    Not only are animals, especially endangered species a high-interest topic for students, but it a worldwide issue that requires the future's help! Challenge your students to become endangered species advocates through reading and research projects. Take the first step by simply reading these books throughout the year or during a focused unit on endangered species or as part of your Earth Day celebrations! Together, we can prevent our planet's unique animals from becoming gone forever.

    You might be interested in reading:

    Looking for engaging Endangered Species Activities
    Try These!

    endangered animal close reading passages for kids

    endangered animal research project for kids

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