Each day you look forward to the moment when the final bell rings for the day. Unfortunately, that end of the day routine never quite goes as smoothly or as quietly as you had planned. Last minute dashes for book bags, frantic pencil picking up, and line formation look more like a free for all than the organized and orderly classroom you had been running all day. If your end-of-the-day routine is more like dismissal-time chaos, you may want to try something different. The ideas below are from two lower elementary grade teachers, but are also relevant for older grades. Take back control of dismissal time!
Effective End of the Day Classroom Routines
Keys for Turning Dismissal Time into Learning Time
Tanya, a 1st Grade Teacher from Camarillo, California, knows the importance of using each moment to its fullest. She has turned dismissal time into learning time with this clever idea. “To keep my first grade students focused during dismissal, I borrowed a technique I observed a colleague use with her special needs students,” she says. “My students know that to exit the classroom for the day, they must earn a “key” to open the door. Each key involves a simple mental math exercise. For example, I might have students count by 2’s, 3’s, 5’s, 10’s, or by 25 to reinforce coin values to a dollar. Other times, I tell students I am going to clap a number of times and they are to silently count my claps and raise hands to offer guesses. When everyone is prepared for home, I wind down the activity by tossing an imaginary key to one student who gets to open the door for the rest of us.”
Put a Stop to End of the Day Chaos
Whether it is the first day of school or the 100th, this idea by Connie, a Kindergarten Teacher in Wimberley, Texas, is sure to make dismissal time easier! “Dismissal time for the first day of kindergarten is always a challenge,” she explains. “We issue each child a name tag printed with his or her address, but in the noise and confusion of the first day, it is easy for a kindergarten child to end up in the wrong area by mistake. We solved this problem by making headbands for each child. We chose three colors, one each for bus riders, car riders, and walkers. Students who are bus riders wear yellow paper bands, car riders wear red paper bands, and walkers wear green bands. As we line the children up in the hallway before dismissal, it is easy to see if a child has moved to the wrong line. The teacher who walks the bus riders to the bus area also wears a yellow paper band, which makes it easier for the students to know which teacher they need to follow. As students leave, we remove their headbands and reuse them again the next day. We have found it helpful to write the bus number in large numbers on the yellow headband, but we do not record anything on the other headband colors, which makes it easier to reuse all the headbands the next day.”
What are some of your favorite and most effective dismissal activities?
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