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Jun 13

Saying Goodbye... For Now

Posted by Valentine Burr in Fair Is Not Equal on Jun 13, 2013

It's time to say goodbye. We heard from many of you with wonderful ideas about ways you mark the end of the year in your classrooms and we've added some ideas from our own. These include:

  • Having students write or draw about important memories of the year.
  • Hosting special class events for students to share projects with families.
  • Creating a digital slide show of images from the year to share with students and families. 
  • Asking students to write letters of advice and inspiration for the incoming class or letters to themselves for the start of the new school year.
  • Creating classroom books of student writing, artwork or other projects.
  • Creating “goodbye books” with and/or for students with pictures of the people and events that were important over the course of the year.
  • Having students engage in projects to mark goodbyes with adults or children (for example teachers or classmates leaving the school). It can be just as important to support students in finding ways to say goodbye to others, as it is to have others say goodbye to them.
  • Having students help to pack up and organize the classroom space. 
  • Inviting teachers of the next grade level visit the classroom for Q and A.
  • Taking students on “field trips” to the classrooms they might be in next year. 
  • Inviting older students in to talk about what your students have to look forward to.
  • Asking your students to visit the grade below to talk to students moving up. 
  • Marking the last days of school with a calendar.
  • Talking openly about endings and transitions and what makes them both exciting and hard.

While mostly simple, these kinds of deliberate ways to mark change and transition can be enormously helpful to students. One thing to be very careful of is to not over-commit to ongoing contact. For example, if you are leaving a school, be careful not to promise visits if that’s not a realistic commitment to make. If you provide contact information, be prepared to follow through with students who reach out. It is OK for goodbye to be goodbye and the end of the year provides many opportunities for adults to model what it is like to move on while feeling both sad and happy all at once.

On the theme of goodbye, this is our so long. We have decided to take a break from the blog over the summer, so this will be our last post for the time being. We will be putting our heads together over the summer and making plans for the fall. We will be back in touch then and let you know in what new directions this work will take us. Take time to take care of yourself this summer. Read a book, take a walk, nap in the middle of the day, visit a friend, make jam, run a race, watch clouds, hike a mountain, or discover new music. Find some way to give the gift of time to yourself.

Be well,

Pam and Val

tagged end of year, goodbye... for now, strategies, transitions
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