This may get a little uncomfortable.
I'm going to try to connect a TED talk that focuses on colonoscopies with the elementary classroom environment.
Each year my classroom and I make a story. It starts on the first day of school, and the main part ends on the last day of school. I keep in contact with several of my students during the summer through Edmodo, but if our class year is a story, then the analogy should hold that a critical part of that story is the ending. A good story isn't good without a good ending.
This seems to be supported by research. As the TED talk below shows, people with a good colonoscopy that ended with pain had a more difficult memory of a bad colonoscopy with a good ending. There's a direct conflict with the "experiencing" self and the "remembering" self.
I was thinking of how this applies to my practice.
Of course we want our students to have equally happy "experiencing" and "remembering" selfs. But there is no doubt that endings are extremely important.
So how does this apply to the last week of school?
There are reasons why we have end-of-the-year class parties. The academics are finished and we want to exit on a high note. Ultimately we want to do something collaborative and fun. Our instincts as teachers is to bring the classroom family together for a final time in an activity that trumps any testing or stress that the class has gone through.
Beyond the classroom party, one end-of-year activity I love to run is a lip dub. I've run lip dubs as an after school activity and as an entire Elementary school project. But a class lip dub is a great way to end the school year on a collaborative-high-note. The children are excited to work together, they plan and coordinate, it doesn't take a lot of energy, it's a lot of fun, so that the "experiencing" self is satisfied. The end video creates a lasting memory that the "remembering" self can hold onto.
This year my class split into two different lip dubs: "Fireworks" (shown above), and "Rolling in the Deep." I made sure that we would only do two songs if everyone was in both.
Both were filmed on the same day, and it was a great way to end the year.