How to Organize a Fun End of Year ABC Countdown

An end-of-the-year countdown can be an awesome way to wrap up your year with your students at the end of a school year, but you may be wondering how on earth to organize one. I've got some tips and considerations for how to organize a fun end-of-the-year ABC countdown!

Excited students running out of school with text "How to Organize a Fun End of Year ABC Countdown"

There are five main things I think you should consider when planning an end-of-year countdown: the format your countdown will take, the length of time you'd like it to last, what activities you'd like to include, and how you will manage it among all the other end-of-year tasks and responsibilities you'll also have on your plate.

Let's dive into each one of these.

End-of-Year Countdown Formats

A quick Pinterest search will show you there are many formats an end-of-year countdown might take. I've seen balloon pop displays, tear-away paper chain countdowns, and other sorts of pop-and-reveal formats, but my all-time favorite is an ABC Countdown.

While balloon displays look great the day you set one up, I find that balloons can pop when you don't want them to, lose their air, droop, and sag, and look a little sad after a couple of days.
Photo of deflated balloons
Tear-away paper chains are easy to create and manage, but they really don't generate any excitement. There's nothing all that special about a paper chain getting shorter.

Other pop-and-reveal displays, where you might break a tissue paper barrier to reveal a surprise inside, are amazing and generate a lot of excitement, but they are also a ton of work. 

I created my ABC countdown to be simple to display and manage; I print it once, display it on a bulletin board, and my work is done, but the excitement builds every single day!

ABC countdown bulletin board display

How long will your countdown last?

This is totally up to you! Want to keep it simple? Just count down the last 5 or 10 days of the school year. 

Personally, I've opted to go with an ABC countdown because it is longer! I use the countdown as part of my behavior management strategy for the last weeks of the school year when energy is high, the weather is improving, and students are shutting down.

End-of-Year Countdown Activity Ideas

Your next consideration should be for the activities you'll include in your countdown. If you're going with a simple paper chain tear-away countdown, there are no activities involved, so that's your easiest bet. Otherwise, you'll need interesting, motivating rewards or theme days to share for each day. 

If you're doing a balloon pop or tissue paper pop-and-reveal format, you'll want to have all the ideas written out and hidden inside your chosen format.

I decided to make my ABC countdown a double-sided bulletin board display so that at the end of each school day, we just flip over the next letter on the display to reveal the theme for the next day. This builds excitement and anticipation and has actually improved my attendance in the last weeks of the school year!

Photo of part of the ABC Countdown showing both sides of the display.

I have brainstormed more than 60 suggested themes for these last 26 days of the year, with options for both in-class and online use!

Communication With Families

Next, consider whether you'll need to communicate each day's theme or activities with your students' families. Some days might require them to bring something from home, dress in a certain way, or have something prepared to share.

When I created my ABC countdown resource, I included an editable calendar and editable handout strips to make it super easy for me to communicate with families.

Photo of editable ABC Countdown calendar and home notices with school supplies and colorful sunglasses.

How will you manage?

Finally, ask yourself just how much time you can devote to preparing and managing an end-of-the-year countdown. Remember, at this time of year, you'll be writing report cards, packing up your classroom, possibly preparing to change grades, classrooms, or schools, and completing other administrative tasks.

Will you be able to keep up with the plan you've made? (Psst... the answer is YES! Keep reading! I've done all the work for you!)

Photo of overwhelmed teacher sitting at a desk with piles of marking.

ABC Countdown Ideas and Resources

Don't be daunted by the length of an ABC countdown! I've already done all the work for you! My resource contains:

  • 60+ suggested themes for the last 26 days of school that include in-person and virtual ideas
  • editable notices and a calendar for sharing with families
  • an editable classroom bulletin board display to build excitement
  • editable digital versions for use online in Google Slides™ and PowerPoint formats

Cover of ABC Countdown resource

You might also enjoy the tips I'm sharing in this post:

Photo of child with hands on cheeks and text "How to Save Your Sanity at the End of the School Year"

Not ready to think about end-of-the-year countdowns just yet? Save this post for later! Pin this image to Pinterest:

Photo of ABC Countdown bulletin board with text "How to Organize a Fun End of Year ABC Countdown"

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