|My brain is in need of a vacation!|
My experience has taught me to always have some sort of a carrot to dangle. This week, it's the class party. I've always found it best to have that party the day BEFORE the last day of school. I have always found that once the party is over, the children are amazingly calm on that last day. They've been told all week that they have to EARN the winter party on Thursday. Today wasn't great, but they've promised tomorrow will be better, and they will earn that celebration!
I have all my kids bring a gift for the classroom. They can bring books, craft materials, consumables, games, etc. I've been doing this for years, and I've always found the children bring some great stuff for the class! They take such pride in what they bring, and they want to use the stuff for the rest of the year. I have each child open one gift, then all the other children give a chorus of thank you, since the gift is for everyone! Of course I have a few extra gifts on hand, so everyone will be sure to have something to open, even cute little younger siblings who are visiting. The rest of the party consists of checking out the new stuff and trying a few things. And, of course, music and dancing!
I also give each child a book and usually some little token. (This year it's a kaleidoscope.) I couldn't imagine NOT giving them a gift, they're practically the most important people in my life!