Welcome to wEDnesday! I help parents and teachers advocate for children, create quality home-school relationships, and empower confidence.
This week, let’s chat about the end-of-school countdown. Many homes and classrooms have a countdown on the whiteboard or refrigerator. It’s fun, we all look forward to summer, right? Who doesn’t love traveling to the beach, sleeping in late and cookouts with family?
What if you don’t have that? What if the most reliable meals that you have come from school? What if your summer vacation consists of watching your siblings or not seeing your friends? What if you simply do not like school because it is so hard and cannot wait to just not attend everyday?
Let’s change the idea of counting down and celebrating just the ending of the school year. Let’s honor our learning and growth through the school year and also help every student positively transition into the next season.
Tips for teachers:
Rather than a displayed countdown in the classroom, let’s honor our time together, the incredible learning the children have done, and the relationships built over the year.
-Try a Compliment Chain! Cut strips of recycled paper, and have the children write anonymous compliments to each other. Model effective compliments, like Everett worked hard in math today, or Hannah encouraged others after state testing, by writing your own compliments. Use a class list to make sure each child gets a compliment. So much positive focus at the end of the year!
-Have this year’s class give advice to next year’s kiddos! They could write, draw, make a video, even tweet on the class Twitter account with advice to help the students transition into your grade level next year. Some ideas that my students have liked to pass along have been everything from helpful (Make sure to put your name on your paper in 5th grade! Or, If you work hard and help others, you can be on the Recycling Committee and it’s fun!) to silly (You can always distract Mrs. Schreiner by asking her about her dog! Or, Do not ask Mrs. Schreiner to draw, she will say she is a master artist but she is kidding!)
-The end of year activities are usually prolific in elementary school. I always had the children write in the school activities into their planners, in addition to the projects and homework that is due. This helps them pace out the end of school and prepare for the events that will be happening.
-When kids ask how many days of school are left, a fun answer that helps focus on positivity and learning is; Enough for all the learning we have left to do!
-Connect with the school counselor, homeless liaison, and other personnel that have resources for helping students in need for the summer. There are always opportunities for families, just check out the best route for your children and your community.
Tips for parents:
Instead of talking about how many days everyone has left to wake up early, let’s focus on the learning and fun that’s happened over the past year.
-Try asking some different questions instead of “How was your day?”-like, what made you smile today, can you tell me an example of kindness today, what did you do that was creative today, did you like your lunch, what made your teacher smile, what was your peak & pit/rose & thorn.
-Display some work from the beginning of the year and now the end of the year, so your child can see how hard they worked and how much learning they did! Let your child overhear you bragging about their efforts, perseverance, creativity, problem solving, etc…
-Keeping yourself present for the school events and activities will help your children stay focused on the current school year. It doesn’t mean you have to be physically present at all the things! Being present may look different for different families and schedules, so it could be just centering conversations about the school day, lessons, and events, or volunteering at school, or keeping the family schedule as normal as possible.
-Mornings and morning routines at this time of year can be rough! You’ve made 4,798 school lunches and there is no more creativity left for fun and nutritious lunches. What shortcut can you take? How can you delegate? Who can you empower to help?
Hopefully you found some value in those tips today! You can do it, stay strong, finish the school year on a high, positive note! Celebrate this year’s wins, big learning gains, new and continued friendships, and all the things that make you smile in September! Teach that lesson plan, help with that homework, and be grateful for the wonderful moments with your amazing little humans!
Have a great wEDnesday!