Low or No Tech Projects to Survive the End of the School Year

Current situation update! Spring vacation ended last week and ever since then I’ve been feeling that I am dragging my feet from class to class. It is kind of warm and the bright sunshine does not help with my students’ vibe of doing the classwork. I really feel that I need something to wake us all up and to energize us. Like a secret sauce, a secret potion, a secret whatever to help me survive this end of the school year. 

I know that I am not the only one in this situation. Teacher friends from lots of schools have been asking me lately for ideas to do with their students after state testing or in the last one or two weeks before summer break. The problem for most of them is that they have low to no access to technology as most of their Chromebooks were taken away. (I feel your pain!)

I was hesitant to tell them and even use myself the secret weapon (potion and sauce) that saved me last year. And my secret is …. are you ready?! Do you want to know it? Shall I tell you? OK! OK! (drums rolling) …. ta-dam: PROJECTS. Pretty basic, right?! 

But hold on for a second! These are not your average, boring, nonsense projects. They really work! How do I know that they work? Simply because after the spring break my own students asked if they could do a project like we did last year. (It seems like the problem knows its own solution.) One class got really melodramatic with me (eyelashes batting and puppy eyes) and reminded me that I promised to do with them a project about their favorite singer. (I should either comply or not promise again, right?)

Are you in the same situation? End of the school year really close and you have no idea what to do now? If the answer is yes and yes, I want to share with you a couple of projects that I have done with my students and which require low to no tech to implement. The templates are flexible (you can actually adjust the length of the project according to your needs), just print and go and they have been tested in my classes repeatedly year after year. I love these projects because they are not just busy work. They are meaningful, intentional, collaborative and fun.

So brace yourself because we are starting strong with some ideas you can steal right away!


Note: These projects require a certain access to technology. 

DREAM VACATION PROJECT –  This real world project is always a major hit because the students love planning their vacation (and so do I). An alternative to it is the National Park Vacation Project, which is focused on researching a national park of their choice and planning a vacation there (excellent for an almost real life experience).

FAMOUS INVENTORS PROJECT – This is a project centered around the life of a famous inventor. It is excellent for a cross-curricular approach, STEM and ELA, and it gets you a rounded experience. Sometimes I give my students the alternative to choose instead of an inventor, a musician bio project, a sport celebrity one or a project about a famous writer. In this way I have something for everyone to feel comfortable researching because not everyone is passionate about science.


Note: You can use them when your students have no access to technology.

PERSON I ADMIRE PROJECT – I usually ask my students to choose a person from their own life. I offer them plenty of projects about celebrities and I believe that it is really important to acknowledge the people that are close to them and have an impact in their lives.

ALL ABOUT ME PROJECT – This project is one of my students’ favorite because they get the chance to talk about themselves. It is a good moment of connection between us and for many students, it is a project of self-discovery. 

FAMILY HISTORY PROJECT – For this project, the students do not need to do only research, but they have to talk to members of their family in order to do it. Going back to their roots is always interesting. However, if someone feels uncomfortable about doing such a project, I will offer an alternative with the all about me project or person I admire project. 

CREATE A COUNTRY PROJECT – My students love creating new countries. It is interesting to see the way in which they view the world and what things they keep or eliminate from their fantastic society. I also have fun with the names they give to the countries. (Burgertonia and United States of Dunkers make me laugh so hard.)

WRITE A FAIRY TALE PROJECT – This project is heavily creative writing oriented. Creating a fairy tale is always fun and we love reading them in class afterwards. It is excellent for understanding plot and character and actually practicing what they have learned throughout the year. Sometimes they mash together two or three fairy tales that they’ve already known and things get totally interesting.

COLLABORATIVE PROJECTS – I love offering my students projects that invites them to collaborate with one another. Team work is the dream work, especially in a world where they will have to work with other people (regardless if they like them or not). My favorite collab projects are Magical Forest, Innovative Olympics, A Holiday for All, Be A Detective and the Endless Story. 

Now you have it! I’ve shared my secret weapons with you and I’m not sorry. I know that you need them as much as I do to survive this school year.

So what are you doing in the last weeks of this year? I am always looking for new project ideas so feel free to share with me your best kept secrets. Comment below and I’ll be here reading everything that you share.

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