Creative classroom management strategies from fellow teachers and our experts.
How I Do It: Unique Ways Teachers Say Goodbye
Middle school survival kits, Phantom Tollbooth quotes, kazoos, and roses.
PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8
Kudos and Kazoos
On the last day, in front of the class, I say one thing about each student that made me proud. I give them a handshake or a hug, and we walk through the halls with kazoos or noisemakers. —Stacey K.
It’s often not goodbye but “see you later” for me…except when they graduate. As a special ed teacher, I have many students for back-to-back years until they turn 21. If they’re graduating, I cry like a baby and make them take a picture with me. —Katie M.
I crochet bookworms for my bookworms! Everyone needs a bookmark for their summer reading. —Alica T.
Graded With Heart
I write each student a personal letter on their final exam. Even with difficult students, I always try to find one good quality they possess and encourage them to keep developing it. I get more joy out of watching them read these letters and seeing the big smiles breaking out across their faces than I get all year long. —Gayla F. S.
I like the idea of handprints on canvas. I also plan to buy each student the first book I read to them, The Collector (they were glued to their seats). I will write a note inside each book. —Fran W.
I give all of my students a rose on the last day and we take a class picture. After a moment of initial embarrassment, the boys like the roses, too. It’s surprising how many have their fifth-grade dried rose in their room (moms have told me). —Donnica F.
I put together a video of all our class memories—all the pictures that we’ve accumulated over the year—and set it to music. —Sarah H. G.
You Will Survive!
I’m going to make a “middle school survival kit” for my fifth graders and write each one a note. —Sherette T.
One Last Dance
We cheer and scream, “We did it!” Then we dance…and wave goodbye. —Cathy B. S.
A Tollbooth Token
I make them each a framed quote from The Phantom Tollbooth: “And remember, also…that many places you would like to see are just off the map and many things you want to know are just out of sight or a little beyond your reach. But someday you’ll reach them all, for what you learn today…will help you discover all the wonderful secrets of tomorrow.” —Lisa S. S.
Photo: Cocoon/Getty Images