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9 thoughts on “End of Year Traditions Leave a comment

  1. A tradition I had when I was in the “traditional” classroom was, students became the teacher for the day. They planned a “lesson” which I approved and then I became a 5th grade student again. One thing that usually happened from at least one student was asking me if they had permission to call me by my first name. Of course I allowed it and it was like giving them a million bucks!

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  2. At the end of the year, I write letters to all my students (K-12) that I teach during the year. It has become a tradition. At the beginning of the school year, my old students ask if I will write them a letter again this year. My new students all look at them and ask, what are you talking about. The old students eagerly explain what the letter writing is all about. Some of my students tell me that they keep all the letters that I have written to them. I, in return, treasure all the letters that I get from my students!

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  3. Bubbles – our school tradition is that the staff all blow bubbles at the buses as they leave the school on the last day.
    We’re not there yet, but I’ve noticed the bottles are starting to appear in the classrooms….

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  4. I have had several end of elementary traditions. As I am moving up to sixth grade with this group I expect to be more in the celebration mode rather than goodbye. We do an all grade Spelling Bee and Promotion Ceremony. As a class they will create affirmation posters for each student, go on a celebratory field trip (mostly about having a set aside time to socialize), and a final party. I have read The Princess Bride as the final read aloud for several years. Last year I didn’t leave myself enough time to finish it, so we watched the movie without them knowing the ending. It was fabulous! I am now planning on not finishing. I will lead them up to the gates of the castle, but the movie will show the ending. (The point of the book is all of the back stories, which are finished by that point.) Can’t believe there is less than a month!

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  5. my kids have had long-term reading and writing partners (two different classmates) and so they’ll write a letter to each, naming strengths of their partners, how they’ve watched their partners grow, how their partners have helped them. last year was the first year we had long-term partner successfully and so it was the first year they wrote the letters. they loved it and i think it honored the work they’d done so closely side by side their partners all year long.

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  6. My 4th graders write a letter to the new 4th graders that I will get in the fall. On the first day of school the letters are waiting on the desks for the new students to read. It seems to put them at ease because my students write about how much fun they will have, some specific things we do during the year, how awesome our books are, etc. They also write about how nice and funny their teacher is. (I promise I don’t tell them what to write.) It’s just a fun closing, reflective activity and a great letter for my new students to read and take home on the first day of school.

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  7. I had many traditions, but a favorite that is still going is that I had my continuing students write a letter to themselves for 4 years later when they graduate from high school. I just mailed 12 letters, all sealed and decorated by the students. I just keep them for all those years, already sealed, and I add a graduation sticker & a Congratulations on the outside. From the few I hear from, it’s such a surprise to receive this strange letter in what looks like their handwriting, a little gift from themselves in the past. One other thing is that I always chose a goodbye poem to copy on tag, laminate & read, then give to students on that final day.

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  8. Oh, now I am sad thinking of my kiddos and how I will enjoy their company one last time doing these:
    1. Decorating the covers of the Poetry Anthologies we have worked all year long on and sharing our favorite poems.
    2. The last read alouds under the weeping willow tree at the far end of the soccer fields.
    3. Our end of the year “I appreciate this about you” letters.
    4. The traditional soccer game on the last day of school – I have both my morning and afternoon classes together and there are ice pops for all as we bid good bye and begin summer.
    P.S. Where did the year go?!

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  9. For the last two years I’ve done a variation of Jim Burke’s writing activity on the football field. This year we are trying this on Thursday and I plan on blogging about it after. You can find his description here:

    http://jimburke.typepad.com/my_weblog/2009/11/teaching-at-the-18yard-line.html

    Last year I was surprised how powerful this lesson was. Some of my former students wrote me letters last week for teacher appreciation and several mentioned this lesson.

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