Connections: Linking Talented Educators
Connections: Linking Talented Educators

Saying Goodbye: Classroom Rituals for the End of the School Year

May 14, 2019

Hands waving goodbye end of year rituals

The end of each school year brings a mix of emotions for both students and teachers. They're excited about the summer vacation ahead and looking forward to the new learning opportunities coming in the fall. But the end of school also means saying goodbye to the community they've created during the academic year—and even trepidation about the changes to come. We asked Milken Educators to share the year-end rituals they've developed to help students through the transition from one year to the next.

Chad Downs end of year rituals

Chad Downs (MI '18)
Third and fourth grades, Ann Arbor Open School, Ann Arbor

I print out a class list with a few lines under each name. I ask each student to write one or two things about each peer. It could be something they are good at doing, something they helped them with, or something they saw them do throughout the year that stood out. Each kid then cuts out the strips and puts each one in a bag decorated by the student. Then, on the last day of school, each kid leaves with a bag of positive comments written about them by their classmates.

Melonee Ginn Mattie end of year rituals

Melonee Ginn Mattie (SC '14)
11th-grade U.S. history, Wade Hampton High School, Hampton

I am thinking about having my high school students give advice to those who take my class in the future in a video. I can use clips in my opening days to help teach routines and expectations. It’s also a way for my current students to let me know what they liked and what I may need to rethink. It might reveal some of my habits, too! I do want them to know that I value their input.

Nikki Silva end of year rituals

Nikki Silva (NJ '18)
Third grade, Nathan Hale Elementary, Carteret

Each student creates a memory book of our year in third grade. They design and write about their class trip, walking to the art show, field day, friends, etc.

Tami Lunsford end of year rituals

Tami Lunsford (DE '17)
Science, Newark Charter High School, Newark

I have them write a letter to a student in next year’s class with advice, things to look forward to, etc. It is a great way to see what they loved, didn't love and valued.

Sarah Szymanski end of year rituals

Sarah Szymanski (CO '18)
Second grade, Soaring Eagles Elementary School, Colorado Springs

I always write my second-grade students a letter. In it I provide a self-addressed stamped envelope and paper so they can write me a letter over the summer. It helps them feel better when they’re going through that sense of abandonment at the end of the year, even if they never get around to writing.


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