Professional Development

May 7, 2020

Ideas for End of the Year Awards During Distance Learning

The end of the year is always bittersweet. It’s our time to celebrate with our students, and we’re all looking forward to a long break. The end of the year looks different this year. But, we can still have an end of the year awards celebration with distance learning and social distancing.

I know everyone is missing their sweet students’ faces right now. I decided to brainstorm and share some ways you can recognize all that your students have done with end of the year awards during distance learning.

End of the Year Awards Ideas

Kindergarten Graduation

If you’re celebrating kindergarten graduation, you can still send out virtual graduation invitations and graduation diplomas. I have a Kindergarten Graduation Pack with editable invitations, certificates, and diplomas. You can send an invitation to a Zoom graduation ceremony.

End of Year Summer Fun Awards

Celebrate the progress your students have made over the year as they look forward to some summer fun with these End of Year Summer Fun Awards. There are 20 different awards to choose from, and they are all editable for the teacher’s name, students’ names, and the date. You can pair them up with a fun trinket that goes with each certificate like a beach ball, puzzle, crayons, etc.

End of the year summer fun awards that are a blast for kids! Parents love the fun spin on the awards, too!
Superhero End of the Year Awards

This set of awards is also editable, has 28 different certificates to choose from, and emphasizes character traits. The Superhero End of the Year Awards has a boy and girl version for the certificate. They are always a hit with students!

How to Have an End of the Year Awards Celebration While Distance Learning

Because we can’t do our usual end of the year parties, we need to get creative on how to celebrate our students and have some kind of awards celebration if possible. I understand it may not be possible for everyone, but I wanted to come up with a few fun ways that might be doable for teachers, depending on the situation you might be in.

Zoom Kindergarten Graduation Ceremony

You might not be able to have the typical singing and dancing, but you could still try to have a simple graduation ceremony. Invite parents, give a brief speech about your year and wishes for your little friends in the future, and present the students with kindergarten graduation diplomas and end of the year awards.

Porch Photos with Awards Presentation

At one of my friend’s schools, the teachers wanted to see their students one last time. So, they stopped by students’ houses for a porch photo (with social distancing, of course!) and to present each student their own award.

You could modify this and have students meet you on the school’s “porch” for a photo.

Send Home Summer Buckets with Awards Inside Them

One of my favorite things to give my students at the end of the year is the Summer Bucket Lists. It’s a bucket filled with:

  • sight word lists
  • summer reading challenge (FREE!)
  • school summer reading program information
  • chalk
  • bubbles
  • crayons and a pencil
  • dice
  • play-doh
Create a simple, end of year bucket list to help students stay actively engaged in learning throughout the summer!

You could print out your students’ awards and put them in the buckets, too. Then, you could assign a time for students to come by the school and pick them up from the car rider line and/or deliver buckets to your students’ homes. You can get the FREE Summer Bucket List, bucket tag, and sight word lists on my blog HERE.

Decorate the School’s Car Rider Line for an End of the Year Awards Celebration Drive Thru

Team up with the teachers and staff on your campus to decorate the car rider line to celebrate the end of the year. You can paint encouraging banners, make signs, play music, put out balloons – anything festive will work!

Then, you can present your students with their awards as they drive through the line with social distancing. You can let students snap a photo “with” you and place their awards in the trunk of the car.

Do an End of the Year Car Parade Through the Neighborhood

Team up with your teaching team (or your whole campus!) and do a drive-by parade on the main streets through your students’ neighborhood. Decorate your car in a fun summer theme and go all out! You can stop and pose for photos from your car as you go and see students.

Then, you could mail out awards to students or have them stop by the school at another time to pick them up.

Make a Personalized Video for Your Students

After you decide which awards each student will receive, record a personalized video of yourself presenting the awards to each student. Each student would receive their own brief video. Show them the award certificates, talk about why they are getting the awards they are, and share a personal favorite memory about each student.

This can easily be done with Loom!

My own kids get so excited to see their teachers on video, so I think students would love their own message from you, too! If you keep each video one to two minutes long, you can get them all done in under an hour! Then, you can email or snail mail their awards to them.

I know all of these ideas won’t be practical solutions for every single teacher, but I do hope you found one that will inspire you to celebrate the end of the year with awards during distance learning.

If you have any other great ideas, I’d love to hear them! Head to my Facebook group – let’s collaborate and brainstorm together!

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Happy Teaching,


8 Get to Know You Games for Distance Learning

Getting to know your students can be trickier while distance learning. Grab this FREE printable with eight get-to-know-you games and activities so that you can start connecting with students, help them get to know each other, and build a positive classroom community.

Hi, I'm Amanda

I’m a K-1 teacher who is passionate about making lessons your students love and that are easy to implement for teachers.  Helping teachers like you navigate their way through their literacy block brings me great joy. I am a lifelong learner who loves staying on top of current literacy learning and practices. Here, you’ll find the tools you need to move your K-2 students forward!


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