Pause, Ponder, and Reflect: Six Ways to Celebrate School Year Success
The countdown to summer can be bittersweet as fond memories of activities, moments, and achievements from the school year intermingle with the excitement of summer’s many possibilities. As our minds start to drift toward summer plans, it is important for both students and educators alike to look back and take time to acknowledge the intrinsic satisfaction that comes with obstacles overcome, challenges surpassed, and personal growth achieved.
As you and your students take time to pause, ponder, and reflect, consider using one of the following activities to facilitate a celebration of the year’s successes.
- Class book: Have each student share a picture and write about their greatest accomplishment of the year. Compile them into a class book that students can share with families, faculty, or a buddy classroom.
- Google slideshow: Have each student create a slide depicting their fondest memories and successes from the year. This can be played on the last day of school and shared with families, too!
- Class blog: Whether created through Google Classroom or another platform, post reflective questions for students to respond to in blog format. They can also engage and comment with one another to integrate social skills and academics—a win-win!
- Flipgrid: Provide an opportunity for public speaking by having students write their own speeches about their successes and accomplishments, which they can record and share on Flipgrid. To enhance engagement, these can be shared with students, faculty, and families. Offering the opportunity to use reinforcing comments will help students develop confidence and increase the opportunity to practice social skills and digital citizenship.
- Letter to next year’s teacher: Consider offering students some questions to ponder about how they want to introduce themselves and talk about their interests, the year they completed, the goals they accomplished, and their future hopes and dreams. Your students’ new teachers will learn how to build a trusting relationship with students before they walk through your door!
- Word Splash: Challenge students to select keywords to celebrate the year. This can be done as an Academic Choice lesson where students are given options to utilize a template, various art mediums, or different types of technology. Check out this sample and template to get started.
In the words of John Dewey, “We do not learn from experience . . . we learn from reflecting on experience.” Taking this time to pause, ponder, and celebrate will allow students to see the learning cycle in action. It will also solidify the relationships built and provide the community with a final opportunity to relish their accomplishments!
Jenni Lee Groegler Pierson is a contributing author for Empowering Educators: A Comprehensive Guide to Teaching Grades 3, 4, 5 and author of multiple Quick Coaching Guides, including Joyful Gatherings and Seeing That Students Belong and Are Significant.