Throughout our lives we transition from one event to another. Sometimes, that means moving to a new school, home or job. Sometimes it means moving forward into a new phase of life.
No matter what the transition, we must say goodbye to the old before we can say hello to the new. Providing closure at the end of the school year allows both you and your students to let go of the past and move forward into the future. Supporting your students into the next stage of their schooling lives is your last job as their teacher. Creating special end of year projects will enable your students to have good memories of being in your class.
Here are some ways you can make transition as smooth as possible for your students.
Writing a short note to each student is a good way to provide closure and gives students something to take with them. You can buy note cards or make them yourself. Be as creative or as simple with these as you want (and have time for).
Write a few cards at a time over the last weeks of school. Encourage each student as you know best. This personal note from you remembering them and saying goodbye, could mean more than you know to those leaving your classroom.
Spend time reflecting on the past year with your students. The end of the year can get very busy and focused on the events that are coming up and it is easy to forget all that has happened previously.
Encourage your students to look back in their books to see how much their work has improved.
Ask them to tell you the thing they think they have improved the most over the past year.
Get your students to notice how much they have changed physically over the year – maybe they are taller or have a different haircut now.
Find photos of trips and school events that happened earlier in the year and relive funny moments together.
Make a photo slideshow, or better still set a challenge for your students to create their own photo presentations.
Have a movie afternoon with popcorn and watch the photo presentations together.
Have each student write a story about his or her favourite memory of the school year. The memory can be something funny or special; it could be about a school event, or something that happened in the classroom that was especially memorable.
Give students enough time to write a good solid story. Plan a day or several days (as needed) to allow students to share their stories aloud.
If you have younger students who are not yet able to write a story, you can ask each student to think of a memory and tell it aloud during circle time or any other time you’ve set aside for sharing.
A memory book is very easy to make and fun for students. You can make it as short or long as you want (depending on remaining paper!). Students can write and remember things from the school year on each page.
Some suggestions for the types of pages that can be included in the book are...
Whichever transition activities you choose, spending time with your students to positively reflect on their growth and learning during the year will help to make moving on easier for them.
I'd love to hear ideas you have used with your class.