How to Have the Best End of the Year Awards Ceremony

One of my favorite times of the year is the end of the school year – but not for reasons you think.  It has nothing to do with the upcoming summer break and has everything to do with the students.  You see, our students work hard!  For 9 – 10 months of the year, they are working, learning, practicing, assimilating, creating, exploring and so much more.  The end of the year is the time we can celebrate all of their accomplishments.  Whether you choose to make this time of celebration elaborate or simple, taking time to focus on student success and accomplishments will be worth your time.  I love having an end-of-the-year awards ceremony.  This is such a fun idea, students love it and it highlights their awesome achievements throughout the year. Plus, it is actually really easy to do!  Here are my best tips for having a great end-of-the-year awards ceremony.
An end of the year awards ceremony doesn't have to be hard to plan with these simple tips and tricks to ensure a successful day you and your students will love!

Tips for a Fun, Engaging End of Year Ceremony

So you want some awesome tips and tricks to run your own special classroom awards ceremony at the end of the year? Well, I have got you covered! Here are some ideas that I have loved and used throughout the years.

1. Create an Invitation

Creating an invitation to your end of the year awards ceremony is a great way to build excitement and anticipationThere’s nothing like a personal invitation to make an event feel really special and for you to feel important.  Apply this to your end-of-the-year awards ceremony and watch the anticipation build.  This simple step will get students excited for this special event! 
You can just create a simple invitation that tells students a little bit about the ceremony and when it will be taking place. If parents or family members are invited, make sure to include that on the invitation too.  With ready-to-use designs and templates, Canva is a great place to go to create your invitation.
You can personalize the invitations or put them in an envelope and address them to your students.  Either way, the personal touch will be just what you need to kick off the end-of-the-year celebration.


2. The Awards

Use these editable superhero themed end of the year awards for your awesome students this year.Before the big day, decide on the awards that you will be giving out.  Will you give out fun awards that highlight students’ talents, personality, and character or will you do academic or achievement awards?  Maybe a combination of both is the perfect way to wind up the year.  That’s my preference for sure.
I love to award students for the hard work they have put in throughout the school year. It is always important for me to pick out those specific characteristics or strong points for each student, and let them shine. That is why I love using editable superhero themed awards. I can make the certificates special and personal for each unique student. 
Use these rockstar end of the year certificates to celebrate each of your students achievements this year.I’ve also used these rockstar-themed awards for highlighting students’ achievements and talents.  The students feel so special when they realize that their teacher noticed unique qualities and special traits about them.  
I find that choosing awards for my students is something I take very seriously.  Over the years I’ve learned that waiting until the last minute to decide on awards makes me feel stressed.  Instead, I like to start working on student awards after we return from spring break.  I begin by making a list of my students and a list of the awards I want to give out.  For the first couple of weeks, I jot down notes on my students and make any award assignments that come easily.  Then I set aside some time to review my notes and finish assigning awards.

One to two weeks before the awards ceremony I grab my list, open up the editable awards, and fill them in.  Then I print, sign and set them aside for awards day.

3. Set the Scene

You don’t have to spend a ton of time or money to create a special environment for the awards ceremony.  You can make it as elaborate or as simple as you’d like.  An easy and inexpensive way to transform the room is with a party backdrop.  These plastic backdrops are easy to hang over the front board to set the scene.  Another really easy backdrop is a digital backdrop.  Simply choose an image with the backdrop you’d like and then project it on the front board.  
A few props you can really transform your classroom for this event.  Here are a couple easy ideas to consider: roll out the red carpet by laying an aisle of red butcher paper; set up a podium and use a microphone (even if it’s not on);  rearrange the tables and chairs to feel like a ceremony instead of a classroom. 
Finally, consider adding some streamers and/or balloons to the space to really let students know that this is a celebration of all their hard work.

4. Pass the popcorn

A great idea for an end of the year celebration could include snacks like popcorn.Yes, snacks are important! What celebration is complete without snacks? Here are some easy snack ideas for your end of the year awards celebration:
  • Popcorn is always a hit and super easy to make in big batches. 
  • You could have students bring in a snack
  • Cookies and punch is always a great treat at an awards ceremony

Having snacks to go along with the ceremony will make it feel extra special!  This is also a nice addition to an event where parents and family are invited.  It’s a nice way to celebrate them and their hard work during the year too!  

5.  The Awards Ceremony

Now that the anticipation is built, the stage is set and everyone has their snacks, it is time for the big event, the awards ceremony! My focus for the day is always celebrating the students.  You can make this a great experience for each and every student. 
I like to order my awards ceremony so that each student gets a special time.  I talk about the child, the award(s), and then have the audience give a big drum roll and cheer loudly as the students walk up to accept their special award. I also allow each student to give a small speech.  We talk about this in advance and students know that they only have a minute or two to speak.  You will be surprised at what they have to say!
You can also add a little suspense to your awards ceremony by announcing each award individually.  By the end, all students will have had a chance to receive one or more awards.

6. Take Time to Reminisce

Creating a video slideshow is a great way to remember all the fun and learning from the year.A favorite part of our end-of-the-year celebration time is always the slide show.  This is a more time-intensive activity to prep, but well worth it.  If you know that this is something you want to do I suggest starting early.  All year long, you will need to be taking photos so that you can fill the video with your class memories.  I like to set a few times of the year that I work on the video and add available photos. That way all I’m left to do at the end of the year is finalize it. Yes, you can wait and create it all at once, but plan on setting aside a few hours (or more) to get everything ready.
While it takes time to create a photo slide show or video, I think it is well worth it.  Students and parents love looking back on the year,  laughing, and remembering all the great times. Sharing a link to the video or providing each student with their own copy is a nice treat too!  And . . . if your video debuts before the last day of school, your students will likely beg to watch it again and again!

7. Time for an Autograph

Whether you have school yearbooks, a class memory book, or are looking for another way to remember students, memorializing their autographs is a great way to do it.  Set aside some time for students to sign each other’s yearbook or memory book. 
I also like to create a special object that each student in the class signs.  It stays in the room for years to come.  Not only do I love looking at them to remember all the past years, but the students love returning to the room to see their names.   Some objects include a mat for a framed class picture, a beach ball, or a t-shirt.  Choosing an object that reminds you of the class gives it an extra special meaning. 

8. End of the Year Gift

What student doesn’t love to get a thoughtful little gift from their teacher? I love giving each of my students a small gift at the end of the year.  It’s a great way to celebrate their accomplishments and show them how proud I am of them.  This doesn’t need to be elaborate or expensive to have a special meaning. 
The local dollar store has tons of budget-friendly options for the whole class! Some ideas I like to use are bubbles (you blow me away), frisbee (this year flew by), and Kool-aid (have a Kool summer). Grab these FREE gift tags to add to your gifts!  
This FREEBIE has everything you need to get the perfect end of the year student gifts.

Make it Your Own

I hope these tips and ideas will help you to make the end of the year a special time for your students.  While these ideas work well for me, take them, change them and make them work for you and your students.  
Hate taking pictures?  No problem, don’t do a slide show or ask a parent to head this up.  Have a limited amount of time, pick and choose the most important activities you feel will make it a special time. You know your students and your classroom better than anyone. Trust your instincts and focus on celebrating your students.
Just a little bit of preparation will make a huge impact as you send your students off at the end of the year. Students will feel fantastic about their accomplishments in the classroom and have so much fun celebrating each other too. 
You can also send home a special note to parents, thanking them for being a part of the class and sharing their sweet little students with you for the year. All these little touches will add up to one amazing awards ceremony that you will want to repeat every single year! I hope you enjoy your ceremony as much as we do! 

Ready to Use Certificates and Awards

The end of the year can be a busy time.  If you don’t have time, or don’t want to create your own awards and certificates, these ready to use awards and just what you need.  Grab these unique award certificates which have tons of great award ideas like happy helper, attendance all-star, bookshelf bandit, and wonderful worker. 
If you are looking to customize and edit your certificates for each student, these editable award certificates are adorable and do just the trick! You can highlight all sorts of special accomplishments with these certificates! 

Your kiddos will love these rockstar themed awards that are easy for you to edit and individualize for each of your students.Your kiddos will love these superhero themed awards that are easy for you to edit and individualize for each of your students.

Save these End of the Year Awards Ideas 

Make sure you pin these end-of-year award ceremony ideas to your favorite classroom Pinterest board so you can come back for tips, ideas, or resources to make the end of your school year special.
These tips and ideas will help you plan a special end of the year awards ceremony for your students.  With ideas for awards, activities and end of the year student gifts, you will have everything you need to get planning.


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