Primary Chalkboard: End Of The Year
Showing posts with label End Of The Year. Show all posts
Showing posts with label End Of The Year. Show all posts

End of the Year Parent Survey

Hey friends! It's Haley from My Silly Firsties. I wanted to stop by today and share something I tried for the first time this year. I think this year has been the most challenging year of my teaching career so far, and I have definitely worked hard to keep a growth mindset this year. It's not always easy for me since I can be pretty hard on myself...can't we all?!? But I truly have tried to look at each setback as an opportunity for growth..just like we ask our sweeties to do. 

So, I decided to send out a survey to my parents this year. I prepared myself for the absolute worst, but was pleasantly surprised by the responses. I also found it to be incredibly helpful in validating what I think my strengths are, and also in seeing what my parents wanted a little more of!

So, first off, I used Survey Monkey to create the survey. I wanted it to be completely anonymous so parents would feel comfortable being honest. I know people always wonder "is that REALLY anonymous?!" But I'm telling IS! Each response is just labeled a number and you don't know what email or anything it comes from. I would definitely encourage you to do it this way, but I know lost of people have great success sending one home on paper. :) The free version only gives you 10 questions, but I think that's actually best. Otherwise it can be overwhelming! 

Now you need to decide what's most important to ask. Since you only get 10 questions on Survey Monkey, that's even more important. :) I know that I don't like taking 100 questions surveys so I think keeping it short is best. :) I also think it's important to ask questions that will help you GROW! If there is an area you are sensitive about, maybe don't ask that question. You just gotta be honest with yourself! :) 

There are several kinds of questions on Survey Monkey, but I only used 2 types. :)  I used a Rating scale on 9/10 questions. BUT...I forgot to add a neutral option, and I really wish I had. So my advice for you, is don't forget! Hahha!! 

Here are some examples of Rating Scale questions you could use. Remember, some people will never put "strongly agree" on everything! That's okay! The important part is that you see trends on what parents think. :) 

Here's an example of how the responses look. You can see them by respondent, or by question. 

And here are some examples of open-ended questions you could ask. I chose to only use the 1st one, because I felt like it was the most important for me. 
Remember, feedback makes us better! We are constantly telling our sweeties that their brains grow everyday and we can always learn something new! :) 

Last Week of School Class Compliment FREEBIE

Hi, friends! It's Blair from One Lesson at a Time, here with a super fun and meaningful way to wrap up the school year with your kiddos. Best of all? Totally free! Whoop whoop!

It's the end of the year and the finish line is ahead of us - like a mirage in the distance. It's soooo close.....and yet, right up until the very last moments, also so very far away. The last few days most of us are fighting off daydreams of late mornings in bed & sunny afternoons at the pool - and making mental checklists of all the work we're going to get done over the summer, the PD hours to fill, etc. #letsbeserious

The last few days of school are the perfect time to reinforce the classroom community you’ve worked so hard to build.  Even though most of our students share our enthusiasm for the end of the year on the outside, it can be easy to forget that for many of them - even for most of them - this transition time is one that comes with a degree of uncertainty and trepidation. What will my next teacher be like? Will I be in the same class as my friends? What am I going to do all summer? It's so important to give our kiddos time to reflect on their year – their growth, progress, and the relationships they’ve developed with their classmates. 

I wanted to give my own students a way to share their favorite things about each other and create an easy but super meaningful parting gift for one another. I’ve used “class compliments” as a holiday gift before, and it was so successful that I decided I’d do it for the end of the year as well. 

First, my students and I review how to give a good compliment:

Then we generate a list of character traits that we can use to compliment each other. After we create our own on chart paper, I pass out these charts for students to take back to their seats. If they’ve thought of more, they can add them to the back. We talk about how a really great compliment is about the person on the INSIDE, rather than the outside. Sure, it’s nice to tell people you like their shoes or you think they’re pretty, but it’s even nicer to comment on character traits.

Then, students get to work writing compliments to each and every one of their classmates. It’s a really nice way to spend an afternoon or two – I put the music on in the background and let the kids enjoy the warm fuzzy feelings that come from making others feel good. :)

After the students have all finished their compliments, I enlist a few of them to help me collate them. Each student’s compliments get slipped into a manilla envelope with a cover on the front. This is the most labor intensive part, and since doing this, I've thought of an infinitely smarter way and am now kicking myself.

So....allow me to save you a lot of time by doing not as I did, but as I thought of later:
•Put a stack of blank sheets on each student's desk.
•Put an envelope with the student's name on it on each desk.
•Have the students rotate throughout the room, writing compliments for each classmate when they sit at his or her desk.
•When they are finished writing a compliment, they simply slip it into the labeled envelope, which is already right there.
•Then, they move on to another desk.
•Slap Blair upside the head for collating these herself like a complete crazy person. *think, Blair, THINK!*

Whyyyyyyyy oh whyyyyyyyy don't I think of these things BEFORE doing them the hard way?!

Hand them out on the last day of school (no peeking!) for a meaningful gift from the heart for each and every student. Students will cherish their classmates’ words for years to come.

This activity is available for free in my TpT store - and last year I got some feedback on it that was so very powerful. I can't imagine the pain this student's family has gone through. But it is incredibly moving to know that his classmates' words were a source of comfort to them during a difficult time.

The activity is just a cute way of presenting students' own words. It's the words themselves that hold power and meaning. You don't need to print these pages to do something similar. (In fact, when I first started doing this, I've simply used cut-up scrap paper.) This feedback is such a strong reminder of how very important it is to teach students the power of words - not only that words can hurt, but also that our words can have an incredibly positive impact on the lives of others. This activity is simply one way to help teach that.

Click {HERE} to download this freebie from my TpT store!

Hang in there, my friends - you are in the home stretch! YOU CAN DO IT! And for those of you already done with school....dang! Nicely done! ;)

Thanks so much for stopping by Primary Chalkboard! Have a fab day!

Blair Turner
Blogger, Curriculum Author, and Paper Designer

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End Of The Year EDITABLE Awards FREEBIE!

Hey ya'll!  Mr. Greg here!   Is everyone else crazy from the end of the year madness?!?!   Summer is almost I want to do something to help ease that stress!!!!

How about some free editable end of the year awards!

We don't do big end of the year celebrations in our kindergarten class.  I make a super simple video featuring all of our pictures and fun from the year.  We invite parents and we sit together and relive our amazing year together.  I give each child a personalized award!   Each child gets an award that is personal to them!  

This year I have the following awards:   Best And Largest Hair Accessories Collection, Most Words Ever Spoken In a Kindergarten Class,  Most Sassy-ness,  Best Mohawk, and so on.  Each award means something to each child because it reminds them of something that we've celebrated and shared and giggled about all year!   As I hand out each award, I explain the significance of the award and why it is so meaningful!

Then I cry.  And that brings our year to a close!

If you would like these free awards, click on the picture and head to The Kindergarten Smorgasboard to grab yours!

End of the School Year Tips (to be SUPER prepared for next year!)

Every June, I lock up my classroom for summer and FEEL like I have left everything ready to go when August rolls around. Yet, every August, I unlock those doors and realize how much work I have on my plate to get my stuff together for another school year. THIS year, I will set myself up for success for the next school year. I need to repeat that...


My schedule is just about to hit the crazy fan, but here in my tenth year of teaching, I have learned that my August self will be much happier if I can stick to the following five goals:

1. {I will} Keep some student work for my August bulletin boards.

I learned this tip while student teaching but there have been many "doh!" years where I forgot to keep something that can decorate the bulletin boards. My mentor teacher suggested that I have my students write letters to the future students. They are cute, not to mention easy! I created the following FREEBIE letter writing paper for you to use in your own classroom. The download includes letter templates for grades K-5. Click here to get in on the goodness! (P.S. it is a google doc so no registration needed. Yay!)

2. {I will} REFLECT on what worked and what did not.

This year I have had a goal that I have {mostly} kept up with, which is keeping better records of what I taught and how it went. I have an awesome grade level team and we have all been on each other's tails about maintaining our reflection notes. But now when things are crazy, this is when we need good records to keep us straight for next year. Now, most of my notes are simply a scribble fest on a yellow pad. But this system seems to be working. Even as I move into my last four weeks of school, I am stickin' with the goal of writing down my steps for planning stuff like:
  • Last day of school
  • Cleaning schedule
  • Celebration of Learning (parents visit the classroom and reflect on learning with students)
  • End of the year party
  • My final teaching units

I will be a happy camper to not have to make up these plans in busy May 2015.

3. {I will} Clean out the junk and stuff I don't use.

I have a whole shelf in my tiny classroom closet dedicated to the olden style geoboards, even though I have a new set. Not needed. Neither I, nor my students, have touched them in two years. This year they will find a new home. What about that box of old fabric scraps that we seriously do not touch. Oy vey. GONE. Little hands love helping on projects like this. I have a group of girls that would BEG to do this during their lunch hour!

4. {I will} Be ready to start student work portfolios on the first day of school. 

Student growth portfolios are a huge part of our classroom and school. The students each create a book with work samples and reflections on their growth. Even though this is supposed to be a year-round project, the bulk of the work happens in our last trimester. I always push the reflections and organizing of the book until the month before the end of the year. BUT, next year everything is changing. I am keeping a sample of a portfolio that is perfectly organized and put together based on what I used as an example this year. This will help me when I know that in October, we need to reflect on our Small Moment writing samples or our math journals, or in December we are checking in on our reading progress. Everything is fresh in my mind now which is the perfect time to write down what I have re-figured out in terms of organizing these bad boys.

There you have it! Even with only four tasks, this is a lofty goal. But if followed, hopefully our return to school is a little smoother. What do you think? Are some of these goals attainable for you this year?


End Of The Year Memories

Aloha sweet friends!  Have you checked your calendar lately?  Can you believe what it says?  How did this happen so fast?!!

It's already time to start wrapping up the school year and plan those last few weeks to keep your class busy, but happy.

I love putting together memory books  for my class.  I told myself I was going to be better about taking and keeping pictures.  Taking the pictures is easy. It's the printing that can be a pain.

I have been using Costco to help me with this.  I just upload my pictures and they will print them for me for only $0.13 each!  Plus they store all of your pictures for you in case you need to print them again.

So the next few weeks gives me time to go through my pictures and print what I need.  I also make sure that I take a picture with each student to add to their memory books.

I created this last year and it is available in my TpT store as a freebie.  I simply copy and bind them for each student. 

Not sure you want an Aloha theme?  Well my sweet friends here at the Primary Chalkboard have tons of choices for you.  Click on any picture to get more info.

Is your head spinning with all of these options?!  Maybe you want to try more than one.  Well we can help!!

I wish I could enter!!  Who couldn't use a gift card for the upcoming sale?  Just click on the picture to take you to yesterday's post for a chance to win!!