I love teaching.
I give most of the credit for this to my students…the rest goes to my DNA.
So when the year/term comes to an end, I like to show my gratitude in creative ways.
Here are a few of the things I have done for my students to say “Thank you and see you ‘round”.
I usually do them at the end of the term or year…although you might choose to do them anytime.
1. An Experience
Last year I didn’t have as much time as other years, but I still wanted to give my students something they would never forget to show my appreciation. I gave them an experience.
- 28 kids
- 28 buckets of ice and water.
- 1 teachers.
- 1 Video Camera
Each one of my students got to dump a bucket of ice on my head.
It was a good idea…until after the first three buckets when I thought I was going to die! :-)
2. A Letter
Once upon a time, a teacher’s dream came true…we didn’t have to write student reports for the end of year.
I felt a little weird about this, so instead I wrote a letter to each of my students. I reflected on the year we had shared, their achievements and strengths. The response from parents, and students, to the letters was far more overwhelming than any report I had ever written. So much so that I now write the letters every year, even when I have reports to write.
The key for me is make the letter the personal, no copy and paste.
Here is an example:
It’s 2:27am and yours is the last letter I’m writing. I’m very happy about that. Firstly because it’s THE LAST LETTER. But secondly because your letter is so easy to write.
You are one incredibly unique kid. You’ve certainly had your fair share of challenges this year, and you’ve come through with honours. Not even broken bones could stop you (although it did allow me to beat you at “Balloon Balloon”).
You have so many arrows in your quiver. You are an amazing orator. An excellent writer. A talented actor. A thoughtful, passionate and powerful debater. An incredibly talented musician (so I am told). And these are just the things I can recall at 2:32am after a long week…Wrap all these great qualities up in a layer of empathy, deep thinking and open-mindedness and you have yourself a John Smith.
John, the world is your oyster. Enjoy it. Make the most of it. Continue to be proud of who you are, and where you come from. You…are one hell of kid!
All the best,
Tim “Mr B” Bowman
3. Holiday Challenges
Kids love a challenge…well…most kids do.
Parents don’t love it when kids are bored on their school holidays.
That’s why I often send my students on their holidays with a list of optional challenges.
I actually set this version for my new class on our transition day as an introduction for the upcoming year. One of the challenges is I give each kid a piece of chocolate just before holidays start and challenge them to not eat it for the whole holidays, but you must supply the chocolate. I have some kids 4 years on the say the still haven’t eaten the chocolate!
WARNING: If you do this for one holiday, kids and parents will request it for every holiday. So be ready with multiple challenges or do it for you final set of holidays.
4. Positive Notes from the Class
An oldie…but one of the best.
I give each student a list or send them a Google Form with all students names and a place for them to write a positive comment about each member for the class.
I then collect the results and combine them into a list of lovely comment for each individual student. Each student receives a lovely long list of positive comments from their peers.
The beauty of this is, as the comments are anonymous, you can add any comments that you feel would help the individual student’s confidence.
Here is an example below:
- You are a really helpful and nice girl.
- You’re a great friend and dancer. I will always remember you!
- You have such a bubbly and positive attitude. You are so kind and I really appreciate all you have done for me.
- You are a nice, caring person and I would like to get to know you better.
- You are a really great school captain.
- You’re such a good dancer and you’re friendly.
- Thanks for being such a good friend. You lighten me up when I’m down.
- You are a good leader, a great dancer, very kind and smart.
- You are the most caring person in the whole school.
- You’re very smart and principled. I’m glad you’re out school captain.
- You’re very mature in class, and very funny outside it.
- You are really nice, caring, funny and a good friend.
- I think you make a great school captain and you are very confident when you speak at school assembly.
- You are kind, considerate and someone I can ALWAYS rely on.
- You have a great smile and you make me laugh.
- You really are one of a kind, and I mean that in a GREAT way. I’ll miss you.
- You are one of my best friends. You’re so nice and caring, and I’m so glad we’re going to the same high school.
- I think you’re good looking, and a nice friend.
- You are a very, very good leader. You also know how to have fun and make people laugh.
- You’re really nice. Thank you for all your help.
- You are funny and nice and you always know how to make people feel better.
- I will really miss you next year.
- You are an awesome dancer and really, really smart.
- You are smart, funny and always caring.
- You are my best friend! You’re pretty, nice funny and beautiful!
- Under your beautiful head of hair is a very smart brain. I think you are so pretty!!! xxx You’re an amazing dancer too.
My dream is that one day, when a kid is having a bad day, he or she will look at their list and it will cheer them up.
5. Something Creative from a Moment in the Year
One year (before I had my own kids) I actually made my students their own bag.
I bought 35 cliqco carry bags (35 in case I made 5 mistakes (I did)).
I then created a front and back design, printed them off and ironed them on to each bag.
It took a LOT of time, but I really loved teaching that year and I wanted so my appreciation to my students. Unless you have a lot of time, I won’t recommend this one, but the point is you can be really creative when making things.
Below is an example of the bag I made. The kids names and nicknames on the back, with a memorable Shreddies moment from the year we shared together.
I have also made magazine covers…
6. Class Wordle
Easy, simple and effective.
Create a name or event Wordle of your class.
Make a list and copy and paste it into Wordle.
Take a Screenshot of the Wordle, print it up & laminate.
Names and Nicknames Wordle
Create list of events, achievements, funny moments, etc that occurred in the year.
If you want the word to appear bigger copy and paste the word so it appears multiple times.
The more times, the bigger it will appear. If an event has multiple words, make sure you capitalize each word and join them together
PS: I do a Name & Event Wordle back to back.
7. A Great Class
It’s a plug for Class Creator, but it’s also very true.
Surely one of, if not the best gifts you can give your students is the knowledge that the class they are moving into next year is going to be a great fit for them.
End of plug.
I remember reading a book by legendary coach of the New York Kicks and LA Lakers, Pat Riley.
“I work for a boss who works for me“
I believe this is very true in a student/teacher relationship.
As we as educators put in more effort to our students it is usually rewarded in kind.
I hope this blog post give you a few ideas. If you put it into action please send me an email or leave a comment below.
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