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Showing posts with label parents. Show all posts
Showing posts with label parents. Show all posts

A Proper Farewell

We have a lovely tradition on our last day of school.

Since our school is K - 5, we get ready to say goodbye to our fifth graders. Just before it's time to leave, all K - 4 students and teachers line the hallways.  We do collect quite a few parents as well.  When everyone is in place, the fifth grade teachers walk their students down the hall for the very last time.  We give them plenty of applause.  After all, they worked hard for their 6 years at our school, they deserve the applause.  Many are emotional.  They know this is a place where they were loved.  Who knows what will happen when they get to middle school?

After the fifth graders have made their final walk, all the other classes walk down the hallway for the final time of the year.  Everyone goes out to wave goodbye.  None of the buses leave until everyone is ready.  The children hang out the window waving, many are crying.  They are chanting all the naughty chants they know they shouldn't do, but can get away with on the last day.  Finally, the buses start to drive away, with the bus drivers beeping, the kids chanting, the teachers waving.  It's a little crazy, but it's definitely a happy/ sad/ sentimental time for us all!

I've been teaching in this school for 27 years now, and we've had our "Grade Five Send Off" for close to 20 of those years.  I can honestly say I haven't had one "Grade Five Send Off" where I wasn't in tears.

One nice thing about being a teacher in the lower grades is that you get to watch the kids grow up, even when they are no longer in your class. By the time they make that final walk down the hall, most of them are taller than I am, and have grown in many ways!  It's hard to say goodbye.

I also find it's hard to say goodbye to their families as well.  After all, by the end of 5th grade, I've known them for 4 years! If I've had siblings, I've known them longer than that!

I'm lucky to work where I work!

What's your last day of school like?

How to Have Them Happy When They Walk Out of the Classroom

It's important to have the children leave happy for so many reasons. 

For one, you want them to feel good about school so they'll want to come back tomorrow. 

How to have them HAPPY when they walk out of the classroom. Of course we want them happy. Here are some ideas on how to do just that!

Maybe even more important, if they're feeling bad, that's how they're feeling when mom asks, "How did school go today?"  This can lead to bad feelings and/ or bad communication, which we just don't want to happen. 

I start my day on a high-energy note (see my previous blog post:  How to Have Them Ready to Learn When They Walk Into the Classroom) I prefer for the kids to leave on a calm, reflective note.

I play soft music as the children are packing up. (They tend to have trouble focusing by the end of the day, and the music calms them down and helps them focus on their responsibilities.) We meet in a circle for "High Low" when they are all packed up. While they are waiting for the others, they reflect on their school day.

When most of the children are ready, I usually start "High Low". I pick up a beanie baby. (Whoever is holding the beanie is allowed to speak.) I tell the class my high of the day and my low of the day. It might sound like this: "My high of the day was how everyone enjoyed the story I read. My low of the day was that someone hurt Susie's feelings at recess." As the children decide their high/low, they raise their hands. I'll pick one child and toss the beanie to them. And so it continues.  

A few procedures I've followed during "High/ Low".  

  • No one can be raising their hand while someone is talking. 
  • Don't raise your hand until you've planned what you're going to say.  
  • Say the person's name BEFORE you toss the beanie.  
  • No one has to have a low, you can do two highs instead. If you want to participate, you have to have at least one high.  
  • No mentioning names if it's not good news, just say "someone". If it's good news, use names!  
  • Don't toss the beanie to the same person every day. 
Often people wonder why I even do a "low" for the day, why focus on the negative? Well, I've found that sometimes things bother the little ones and it's important to let it out. As long as it's anonymous, letting it out is a good thing. I also find that when I tell my low, it gives the children an idea of how much I care about them. My lows usually have to do with someone who is absent or someone who got hurt. A lot of thought and "modeling" go into my "high/ low".

I do find the children love it, and it's a great motivation for them to finish packing up so they can participate. I also find it's a great way to learn what is important to the children. And, of course, sometimes I find out things I didn't know were going on in the social circles of my classroom. 

This is all valuable information for me!

How to have them HAPPY when they walk out of the classroom. Of course we want them happy. Here are some ideas on how to do just that!

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