If your classroom is anything like mine, the end of the day before pick-up, can be quite a hectic time as everyone’s packing bags, collecting belongings, tidying the classroom, etc. There seems to be an endless list of things that needs to be attended to.
That said, I try to make sure the last 5-10 minutes of each day is dedicated to something positive to end the day for the students and myself – no matter what kind of day we’ve had!
To that end, I’m sharing 5 of my favourite ways to end the day. Most of these activities are designed to give the students a few minutes of down-time before they go home to their parents, too, which creates a calm send-off!
1. Read a story together
This is one I know many teachers already do, but it’s such a lovely way to end the day with students. It can sometimes be the only time we read for enjoyment during the day without feeling the need to push a learning outcome on to students. You could even have your Helper of the Day, or Star Student (or whatever system you have in place) pick the book for the afternoon which gives students some ownership over the additional stories they hear.
Note: Depending on how long the day has been (or how active) I’ve even been known to let students lie down, close their eyes and just listen to the story.
2. Reflection time
I love having students reflect on their day at school. We have a very structured time to share the things we have enjoyed throughout the day using sentence starters and students who are willing to share things. As the year progresses, we move from just using sentence starters to expanding on our reasons why we enjoyed particular activities.
Some of the sentence starters we use include:
– I liked
– I really enjoyed
– Today I learnt
– Tomorrow I would like to
3. Reflection books/blog posts
Once we get in to Term 2 and Term 3 I like to take Reflection Time one step further and record student ideas in either a class book or a blog post. All classes at my school have their own class blog and it’s a great way to share learning with families who might not otherwise be able to make it in to school to see what’s happening.
This could be as simple as typing up student responses as they share them (being sure to put the student’s name at the end for credit) – this could then be made into a class book or shared on a blog post. Imagine having a series of class books that reflect the learning that’s taken place throughout the year – these are great to have out during Parent/Teacher Interviews and Open Days/Nights.
When I do Reflection Blog Posts I tend to do them on a Friday as a reflection of the whole week. This gives us a really lovely snapshot of the highlights of our week!
4. Play a game
Games are a great way to end the day on a positive note. Yes, they’re fun, but they’re also educational (but the students don’t always realise this!). Make a list as a class of everyone’s favourite games and post them up in the room. If you have time at the end of the day, have a student pick a game from the list to play with everyone. This is a great way to have fun, friendly energy right before they go home.
Some great games (or activities) include:
– Around the World
– Hangman (I love this for practising high frequency words with younger students)
– Whisper Train
– Body Patterns
– Doggy, doggy, who’s got the bone?
I almost got through a post without mentioning GoNoodle, but honestly, I use this all the time in my classroom, even at the end of the day. A few weeks ago I shared some of the calming down activities I love on this website, but at the end of the day, I really love their positive thinking activities.
Activities from the Flow category:
and from Think About It really help students to reflect on the day, or issues that may have arisen.
I’d really love to hear about your favourite ways to end the day with your students? Do you have special routines or activities? Share them in the comments so that we can all grow a wonderful bank of end of day resources.
I hope that everyone has had a wonderful start to the week and I’ll be back again soon with more tips and tricks for the classroom!
Happy teaching, friends!