As the end of the school year approaches, with teachers busy with final assessments and report card writing, and students anxious to enjoy the nice weather and their last month with their class mates, it is a great time for self-reflection, self-assessment and community building in the classroom.
Similar to the awesome self-reflection activities that Carmen has done with her students, an activity that my students have really enjoyed was writing a report card for a friend and presenting it to the class, as sort of an ‘exit speech’ that reflects the events, learning and memories during the school year:
1. Have the students select their own partner, groups of 2 or 3, and give them a list of curriculum and subject areas to brainstorm ideas about the partner that is being interviewed. (*Click here to see an example)
2. Give the students some free time to interview each other and record the ideas and memories for the ‘report card’. (I connected this with the interviews that the students did at the beginning of the school year to learn about each other).
3. Later, send the students to individually write a short ‘report card’ about their friend, using the brainstormed ideas.
4. The partners are also in charge of creating an ‘award’ for their classmate. (In my class, they were given free rein to create a ‘statuette’ or a symbol using whichever materials they could find along with a an explanation for why the student was getting that ‘award’) . The results were creative and the sentiments were funny, personal and touching.
5. Hold a ‘graduation ceremony’ in the classroom, where the students present their partner with the report card (read aloud) and their ‘award’. If the students are not in grade 5 or 8 (and changing schools), the ‘graduation ceremony’ could just mean that the students are ‘graduating’ to the next grade in school, or graduating from your class. Either way, it is a fun spin on an end of year celebration, and its individualized for each student.
The students really seem to enjoy this activity- it allows them to reflect on their relationships and highlights of the school year and they have fun sharing about what was unique to them or their own experiences. The students laugh as they recall events that happened during the year, and also being reminded of their certain tendencies. The classroom vibe is light, fun, creative, reflective and honest.
Carmen’s idea of a report card for the teacher, by the students is a great follow up to this activity, and something I will try in the future.
For me, when listening to the ‘report card’ presentations, I am able to learn about the things that stood out to the students about their school year- their successes, strengths, social growth and even pet-peeves. Not only is it a reflective piece for the children, it serves as a reflective piece for me as well -learning what the students loved, didn’t love, and what learning they would remember and carry on after the final school bell at the end of June. This opportunity of self-reflection is a fun activity for the students and provides me with another opportunity to hone my own art of teaching and learning as well!