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Easy End-of-Year Performance Ideas

Is your class doing an end-of-year performance soon?

Isn’t coordinating an end-of-year performance just one of the most overwhelming things ever? Not only is there choosing a performance, but there is also costuming, choreography (herding cats anyone?), and finding time to get it all ready.

Alongside assessment and reports, organising props and costumes was always in the ‘too-hard basket’ for me at this time of this year. 

So, I’ve even chosen some great songs that you can perform – they also include actions!

Here’s how to prepare for an end-of-year performance:

  1. Choose a song. (I’ve got a list of Christmas and non-Christmas songs for you to choose from later in this post!)
  2. Print out lyrics to send home and practice at least three weeks before the performance date.
  3. Book a practise session where the performance will be held so that you can practise getting students on stage and into position.
  4. Watch and ‘perform’ the song every day for two weeks in the classroom – save the last 10 minutes of school every day for practice. Practise is essential to ensure everyone has a chance to familiarise themselves with the song, words and any actions you have chosen.
  5. Send home a note requiring students wear their chosen colours – Christmas colours or bright, fun colours. Send it early (maybe alongside the lyrics, so parents have time to prepare.
  6. Organise back up costumes for students who won’t have their own.
  7. Print out and decorate easy-to-make headbands. I created these Christmas-themed crowns to wear! There is a crown for each letter A-Z, so you can create your own Christmas message (Merry Christmas, etc) for on stage or a class photo. Students will love decorating them, and you can easily stack them in a tidy tray for safekeeping.
end-of-year performance ideas

Words you could spell with Christmas Crowns:

You could spell ‘Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays’ – that’s 29 letters (so 29 students!)

‘Wishing you a white Christmas’ – 25 letters

‘Love and hope this Christmas’ – 24 letters

’Love joy and peace always’ – 21 letters

‘Be merry and bright’ – 15 letters

‘May God’s blessings be yours’ – 23 letters

‘Santa Stop Here’ – 13 letters

6. Practise the day before to refine choreography and how students will go up and down the stage if needed. Practise from seated, walking to the stage, going up on stage, back down again, and then sitting down.

7. Practise the song and choreography in the classroom the morning of the performance.

Christmas End-of-Year Performance Songs

  1. Santa’s Solar Sleigh. My Number One! Perfect for Australian schools and lots of fun movements!

Actions Inspo:

  1. Santa Bring Me a Dinosaur – a funny song that everyone will enjoy.

Actions Inspo:

  1. Jingle Bells (with actions) – a classic carol with easy movements.
  1. Coming Down the Chimney.
  1. Rocking Around the Christmas Tree

Non-Christmas End-of-Year Performance Songs

  1. Wash Your Face in Orange Juice – Peter Coombe. It’s Peter Coombe – what more can I say? Boys love this one!
  1. When I Grow Up – Tim Minchin. A gorgeous song from ‘Matilda the Musical’.
  1. It’s Raining Tacos – A Roblocks favourite.
  1. Reach – S Club 7
  1. Can’t Stop the Feeling – Justin Timberlake. A great celebratory tune for all students.
  1. Summer Holiday – Cliff Richard – Dress up kids with hats, buckets and spades, and you have an end-of-year performance winner!

Want my final tips on putting together a good end-of-year performance?

Choose early and choose quickly!

Don’t leave it until the last minute. Pick one of the songs above, and check that no one else is doing the same song (keeping a What’s App group or Google doc of everyone’s songs helps with this!). Then stick with it!

Practise regularly

Your performance practise can become your new brain break! Have it on when students enter the classroom, after lunch, before the end of school – when ever you can.

Forsee problems before they happen

Have backup music for the day; backup song lyrics printed for when students lose theirs, backup costumes for the cherubs who won’t get organised in time. Practise standing up and walking on stage numerous times.

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What is the hardest part of lesson planning?

Without a doubt – the hardest, most consuming part of lesson planning is resourcing!

I read this newspaper article online during the week. It was so relatable!

As teachers, we are given a basic roadmap and expected to fill in all of the gaps ourselves. Often, we are doing this with a limited resource room, or a small budget that doesn’t cover the items we find we need during the year.

This article reminded me that resourcing has always been and always will be one of the hardest parts of planning. I thought this was a timely reminder of how I plan.

Now, I don’t call myself a planning expert, but I know that I am a lot happier since I started planning this way! I do a mega planning session (about 2 hours) where I plan, resources, and map out daily plans for the term. Then I do weekly ‘maintenance’ planning for 1-2 hours per week.

What do I get out of it?

  • No working at home
  • No stressing over the weekend
  • No fighting for the photocopier at 8am in the morning
  • I can arrive at school when I’m expected to (not at 7.30am)
  • No wondering what I’m going to teach tomorrow
  • Prep is already done for when I am sick

I have created the Teachie Tings Time-Saving Planner that completely outlines my system with the tools that you need, but here is my system so you can do it yourself too.

Big Planning at the beginning of a term:

  1. Generally, I am always given brief unit overviews, with marking rubrics, to begin my planning. From these, I create an overview planner that lists every single learning outcome and success criteria that students will be working towards in every subject, for the duration of the units.
  2. Then, I resource for each of the success criteria. I look at the resources I already have. Then I look at the resources my school has. Then, finally, I might make some resources or go to a website such as TPT to find additional ideas. I will use print resources, online resources, manipulatives, household items – whatever they may be, but I will make sure that I have ALL of the resources I need (for every subject/unit etc) in my resource bank, before moving onto my daily planning.
  3. Once I have the resources, I map out the lessons I will teach for each subject and plan them day by day. Not on a calendar, per se, but in chronological order of how I will teach the content, including assessment. So, if I teach English 4 times per week, then I will plan 4 x 10 weeks of English lessons at once. This includes feedback and goal-setting sessions and assessment.

Weekly planning

I like to plan for the following week on Friday afternoon after school.

Why on Friday? Because on Friday afternoons, almost everyone has made a quick escape from school – I get zero interruptions! If you like to meet colleagues for a drink on Friday, maybe another weekday afternoon suits you.

Doing your weekly planning on a weekday also reduces stress and work on the weekend – no more worrying on Sunday!

Oh and remember your resource bank? You don’t have to find resources! The most time-consuming part of planning is already done for you!

Here’s what I do on a Friday – this will take 1 hour – maybe 2. But then it’s done for the week – and you have nothing to do on the weekend!

  1. I look at the daily planner to see what learning intentions/success criteria we are addressing. Then I collect the resources and get them ready. If I need printed copies, I print (no lining up on Friday afternoon!), I collect books and other resources and put them in daily piles (Mon-Fri), ready to use. It does help if you have a table where you can lay out your worksheets/resources for the week and leave them there.
  2. I create my weekly PowerPoint and add online links (from my resource bank) that I might refer to, and get it ready to teach the week. Some slides will be repeated every day, and some will just need slight tweaks!
  3. I walk in on Monday, pop on my PowerPoint, and start teaching!

I’m not kidding when I say that this way of teaching transformed my life. I was able to reclaim exercise time in the mornings and afternoons, leave school at a reasonable time to collect my own children, sit back and enjoy a coffee in the staffroom (or deal with other behaviour/parental issues), and generally feel like I had finally nailed teaching.

If you’d like to be guided through this process step-by-step, check out my Time-Saving Planner for instructions, tips, and resources to make it happen for you!

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How many levels should you display on your Bump It Up Wall?

how many levels should you display on your bump it up wall?

How many levels should you include on your bump-it-up wall? Three? Five? Ten?

Bump It Up Wall using Teachie Tings Crane Clipart and Construction Printables

Evidence on how many levels to include on your bump-it-up wall is scarce. We know that a single worked example has an effect size of 0.58 according to John Hattie. This is valuable evidence that even one worked example helps students to reach their goals.

Educators have taken the worked example/modeled text/ WAGOLL (what a good one looks like) and expanded that into examples of different levels ( a Bump It Up Wall), so that students at any level can ‘bump up’ their work.

Lyn Sharrat takes this one step further (or too far?) and suggests that there should be a sample to represent every student in your classroom. This could be ten or more samples. For teacher sanity – I disagree with this notion. No teacher has time to write or co-construct a sample for this many levels, and there’s no guarantee that a range of samples is available to use.

I believe that an effective Bump It Up Wall should ONLY include samples to represent each level on your marking rubric – taking into account the ability range of your class. For example, if your marking rubric includes A-E, but all your students are working at or above a D level, then there is no need to display the D. 

Students need to be assessment-literate learners who have aspirational examples of what the next step on the staircase looks like for them.

This means they need to work within the parameters of the A-E assessment model, with the next aspirational step being the next achievement level. So, a student who has achieved C on a pre-test will be looking at the success criteria to ‘bump up’ their learning to a B level (within one feedback cycle).

When teachers use formative assessment alongside a self and peer feedback cycle, students have multiple opportunities to ‘bump up’ their learning. 

I can recall an assessment piece completed by one of my primary classes, where 18/26 students achieved an A grade. Eighteen A students! Each week, we completed a formative assessment with self, peer, and teacher feedback and student goal-setting. Students understood exactly what they needed to do to reach the next level, and were given plenty of opportunities to gauge their progress. The results were unbelievable phenomenal, and therefore moderated and confirmed by my teaching team. 

These students were shown examples A-C to match both the marking rubric and their ability levels. Their success was due to the aspirational A-C examples provided, clear success criteria, high expectations (I ‘teach to the A’), and a sufficient number of feedback cycles to ‘bump up’ from their initial level of achievement.

The number of levels that you display on your bump-it-up wall is essentially up to you and the needs of your class but it can have a huge impact on your students’ achievement levels.

Here are my top tips for an effective bump-it-up wall display:

  • Display an example to match each level of your marking rubric, aligned with the abilities of your classroom.
  • Don’t display work that is lower than the ability of your classroom
  • Try to show every child an aspirational example, HOWEVER, ensure that your A sample is aligned with your marking rubric and not a level above.
  • Use clear and explicit success criteria. Success criteria MUST match your marking guide. Nothing more, nothing less.
  • Ensure that you embed enough formative assessment and feedback (weekly/fortnightly) so that students have time to improve to the highest level.
  • Teach to the ‘A’. Always model the highest level of achievement. Your students will meet you there.

Need some done-for-you bump-it-up wall samples?