This blog has gained many new readers over the past year. Because of that, I thought it might be worth sharing a “A Look Back” where I periodically share my favorite from the past twelve years. You can also see all of my choices for “Best” posts here.
This post appeared in June, 2015 and highlights a practice I do every year on the last day of school.
Tomorrow is our last day of school, and during the week I’ve been doing little good-bye exercise with each of my students that I don’t think is particularly innovative, but was nevertheless a nice way to end the year (many students won’t show up for the last day).
After students completed their final and were just relaxing, I began to call up each student up to my desk. I started a thirty second or so conversation with each by saying “It’s been a pleasure having you in class this year.” I then share a specific quality/action they had taken that I appreciated and admired (“I appreciated your willingness to help other students who were having trouble with their assignments”; “I was impressed by how you stuck with completing that essay even though it was frustrating”); and then ended with a handshake or hug.
The exercise clearly created a “buzz” in the room as students began sharing what I was doing and what I had shared with them.
I know that some teachers who are more energetic and committed actually write a letter to each student at the end of a year, though that’s far beyond my capabilities with the number of students I have (though I did have ten-minute “walk-and-talks” with a number of my new English Language Learners where we discussed their hopes and dreams and what they could do over the summer to help them move closer to achieving them).
Spending fifteen minutes of each class in these brief conversations is a much more realistic proposition for me and, based on student reactions, it’s time well-spent.
I’m adding this post to The Best Ways To Finish The School Year Strong.