Harry & Rosemary Wong: Graduation Begins in Your Classroom

Jul 20, 2011 by

 

 

Graduation Plaques

At the end of each school year, Amy Harris of Mt. Vernon Ruth Elementary School in Forest City, North Carolina, puts her cap and gown on each one of her students and takes a graduation day picture.

kids

A “graduation address” is delivered to her students along with the presentation of the plaques. Amy explains that life has ups and downs, but to hang in there and finish whatever is started. She tells them, “Life is wonderful!”

Amy has been doing this for 20 years and grown students have returned to tell her that they remember the life speech she gave years ago. One of Amy’s most touching moments was when two sisters came back to visit and share their future plans. These were sisters who had survived some tragic situations but were going to rise to great heights with the help of a super aunt and grandmother—and the lingering words of teacher who chose to deliver a talk about positive expectations many years before.

We all hear platitudes and positive affirmations every day, but the reason the students respect what Amy says, goes back to the first day of school and every day of the school year.

For starters, Amy and the entire school begin the school year and each student’s day with a welcoming attitude. When students arrive at her door for the first time, Amy greets the children as if she has been waiting and waiting just for their face to appear.

After some practice, her students know the routine of independently checking in as they enter the classroom. Their morning routine consists of putting their named frog magnetized on her filing cabinet on the lily pad to signify their attendance,

putting their red folder in the folder basket,

hanging their backpacks in their cubby, and

having a seat to begin their Morning Work that is ready for them.

Students can look at the pictorial schedule posted to see what special activities are planned for the day. When they return from each activity, the students know the procedure of quietly getting their snack and sitting together and having “conversations” with their neighbors at tables.

During quiet transition time, the students know the procedure is to push their chair under the desk, clean up their snack, and quietly read a book by themselves or sit with a friend on the carpet

via Harry & Rosemary Wong: Effective Teaching – Teachers.Net Gazette.

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