Whether you’ve been teaching your own children or your regular students from home during the coronavirus pandemic, wrapping up the school year, this year, can be a bit challenging.
It can be hard to put a big bright bow on the end of this year…nothing has been normal, am I right?
So I’ve got a few suggestions to help you wrap up the year to help your students transition into summer vacation. Oh, and a few for you too, because you deserve to get some closure after the chaos.
But please note that we are all going through this for the first time ever and there’s no judgement on how you decide to wrap up your year. Give yourself, your school and your community tons of grace right now as we are all figuring it out as we go. The regular rules don’t apply so it’s okay to let some things go.
Wrapping Up the School Year For the Students
For students, the icing on the cake was usually a well-planned end-of-the-school-year celebration with friends. But since that might not be possible right now, here’s a few things you can do to help them transition to summer and stay anxiety-free.
Social distancing has made important milestones challenging to celebrate, but you can still do something fun for your students. For example, create a PowerPoint with each student’s photo to celebrate graduation from their grade and show it live on zoom.
Drive by Parade
My daughter’s school rounded up all of the teachers and did a drive by parade by following the bus routes. The gesture was very appreciated. It did take them a lot longer to do than they had planned, so I’d suggest doing it over the course of a few days.
Once your students have the closure they need, it’s time for some rest and relaxation. Winding down with kid yoga is a great way to both quiet a child’s mind and keep them moving.
Send parents a list of kid yoga videos you’d recommend or put on your own live kid yoga session to end the year and send students off right.
A Mindful Send off
To keep kids anxiety-free during the summer months, mindfulness activities will be parents’ go-to problem-solver. Think about creating a resource PDF for them to refer to when they’re about to pull out their hair. Include links to any of the hundreds of mindful videos on youtube or other virtual mindful spaces.
Refer them to apps like Calm, which include children’s stories with soothing storytellers and background music.
Virtual Calm Down Corner
Help your students (and parents) relax when feelings become overwhelming with a virtual calm down corner that guides students through mood and feelings self-assessments using games, videos, and calming sounds. Then students chose which coping skills will help regulate their emotions.
Additionally, students and parents can create their own physical calm down corner—to use their virtual calm down corner in!
Send Air Hugs
Finally, wrap up your classes with a video of yourself saying, “bye for now.”
Send well-wishes and virtual hugs to your students.
As an added touch, send handwritten postcards to students to wish them a happy summer vacation.
Wrapping Up the School Year For you
Now that you’ve wrapped up the school year for your students and their parents, it’s time to give yourself some time to reflect and relax.
While you’re collecting year-end data for the principal, create a casual list for yourself noting what worked and what you want to change for next year.
Better yet, put all this valuable information in your 2021-2022 planner to feel a little more prepared and a little less anxious about next year. (You can make it yourself with a DIY printable planner or grab a pre-printed Counselor planner for next year.)
And don’t forget to add awareness dates, wellness check-ups, and all those good ol’ adulting goodies.
Then, create your summer self-care routine and include one thing you’ll do for yourself each week…no matter what!
Do some Spring cleaning and decide which learning tools can stay, what needs to go, and what you’ll need to replace.
That way, you won’t be running around like a chicken with your head cut off at the beginning of next year!
Take a Breather
Lastly, don’t forget to give yourself a pat on the back for getting through one of the most challenging school years ever.
Give yourself some time to NOT think about work. You’ve given your students closure, you’ve planned ahead, and now, you can enjoy your summer. You don’t have to know all of the answers. It’s okay to be a hot mess right now.
However you decide to end your year, all your students need to remember is that they felt loved by you during this most difficult time.