10 smart ways to end the school day

I was recently a guest on the Teacher Aid program of BAM! Radio talking about the dismissal strategies I shared on the Tips and Tricks for Arrival and Dismissal Routines page. I was joined by Jen Carey, Melanie Taylor and Kristen Vincent, who had some wonderful tips for making the dismissal process go more smoothly.

10 smart ways to end the school day

Click here to listen to the 10 minute program, in which we talk about:

  • Why it’s important to avoid packing up too soon
  • How to connect with each student at the end of the day
  • Calm and meaningful ways to close out your day, such as closing circles
  • How a set routine and agenda can make dismissal less stressful
  • Ideas for incorporating a time of personal reflection for students
  • How to keep track of various ways students are getting home
  • Why it’s often more effective to do homework collection earlier in the day

I encourage you to check out the other topics on Rae Pica’s Teacher Aid podcasts or view/subscribe in iTunes. She’s interviewed a number of really innovative educators about practical classroom solutions, and there’s some incredibly helpful information there.

What routines have you created for dismissal? Please share your challenges, questions, and tips in the comments. 

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Angela is a National Board Certified Teacher with 11 years of classroom experience and 7 years experience as an instructional coach. As founder of Due Season Press and Educational Services, she has created printable curriculum resources, 4 books, 3 online courses, the Truth for Teachers podcast, and The 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club. Subscribe via email to get her best content sent to your inbox!

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Elicia May 9, 2014 at 9:34 am

I started my first year teaching with a clear idea of what I wanted the end of the day to look like, but no idea how to get there. Now, at the end of this year, I look forward to the end of the day (and not usually because I want it to end!) because of the moments that my class gets to share.

First, I instituted an “inspection” routine. Kids have to do a variety of chores; I set a timer and put on some music, and they earn points for being quiet and seated when the music ends. They also earn points for having a clean floor, pencils sharpened, take-home folders checked, and jackets/lunch boxes ready to go. It’s taken a lot of practice, but has been totally worth it. At the end of each month, table group points are tallied and kids get to pick very desirable rewards, such as extra homework passes and shoes off or favorite stuffed animal reading.

After points are awarded, each table comes to a circle on the rug. I give any end of the day information, then pick a card from a set that I found for free on teachersnotebook.com called “End of the Day Question Jar questions.” I pass a beach ball and whoever has the ball gets to talk. We reflect on our day and everyone gets to share just a little something. It takes 5 or 6 minutes at this point in the year for everyone to share. We say good bye to our neighbors, tally any class points that we have earned, calculate how many more points we need to earn, and line up. I shake hands or fist bump every child as they leave, and have that moment to whisper something in an ear that might need a little encouragement.

I feel exhausted but positive, like I’ve really listened to every kid, and they have listened to each other too.

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2 Rae Pica May 12, 2014 at 9:05 am

Angela, it was wonderful to have you as part of this discussion. The segment is doing very well, thanks to you and the other wonderful panelists!

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3 Angela Watson May 14, 2014 at 8:15 am

Thank you for having me, Rae! What a great discussion. I’m happy to see it’s resonating with so many teachers.

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