This week’s post is a little different. Besides it coming out on a Sunday evening (instead of Thursday), it is honestly not one I had planned on posting at all.
It wasn’t until my little brother and I were recently talking about how helpful and positive an experience this had been for both of us that I even thought of sharing it. (Yes, we are both teachers and yes, teachers love traveling in packs).
The aim of this post is to help all of you teachers out there make something you despise one of your greatest weapons and game changers.
Matter of fact, parents you too could easily do this. Please, let me know how it goes if you do try it out!
We’re going to be talking about school reports. Dreaded, time consuming, stop-every-other-part-of-your-life reports.
Which can also be used to genuinely give you a “Captain, my captain” moment.
This year, instead of simply giving out all of your reports to each kid, and sending them off to their parents, take one small risk.
Tell EVERY single kid what’s within their envelope.
Grab your whole class, sit them in a circle and place the reports in the middle of the group.
Explain to them just how much work goes into these..not just by you, but also by each kid for the whole year. (If possible, sit in the circle with them, on their level).
Point at all of the envelopes in the middle and tell them that it is a pile of success stories waiting to be shared.
(At this point let the group know they are about to have some compliments sent their way. It might help to quickly discuss how awkward it can be for some people, but you can positively and politely respond…simply by saying “Thanks”)
Now, grab that first report envelope, read out your student’s name, smile, take a breath and tell them the most important things they have achieved*.
Be as specific as you can – a “Good job” actually means nothing.
You might tell them they have made you laugh nearly every day, used beautiful adjectives in their writing, been a true friend to their mates, smiled more as the year went on or smashed their multiplication skills out of the park.
Then keep looking at them and thank them for being in this class and making it such a fantastic place.
Now, repeat this for every child.
Now, it normally takes me between 20-30 minutes for this, depending on the number of kids in my class (and how many coffees I’ve had). Let me know how long it goes for you and the reaction you get from the kids!
You’ve put in a HUGE amount of time and effort into these reports, why not see some fruits from that labour?
How do you finish up the year with your kids?
What works best for you?
How did the sharing session go with your kids?!
*Parents, simply read through the report and find as many positives as possible and share them with your kid. The first time you talk about the report, don’t focus on what hasn’t been achieved yet, focus on the multiple AMAZING things they’ve done during this semester!
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2 Replies to “The Greatest Way To Finish Up Your Teaching Year”
Dan, how lovely that ‘Circle Time’ has given your class the chance to share their reports, in a safe environment.
When teaching 5/6, I liked to hand out the children’s reports to them and ask them to find a quiet spot to read their report, and ask me anything they weren’t sure of. It was ‘their’ report and I wanted them to be confident when discussing it with parents/family.
(Interestingly, I never mentioned this to other staff, especially leadership, as I was not confident they would support the idea, because they would never have done it, “in their day.”)
What an amazingly simple and effective way for kids to celebrate their learning!! How did the kids respond to it?!