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Year-end is a time for preparation
The end of the school year means many different things for many people. For some, it is a reason to celebrate and anticipate a well-deserved summer break. For others, it’s bittersweet as summer vacation equates to a break from well-liked teachers and friends. Yet, for the rest, it’s a time to start planning for the year ahead—particularly college and university enrollment and preparation.Regardless of what year-end means to your class, it will be here before you know it. So why not start preparing your students now?

Preparing students for the year ahead
Whether students are moving up to the next grade or preparing for graduation, here are some tips to help students successfully transition:

  • Elementary: Incorporating end-of-year activities into lesson plans can be a great way to set the stage for a successful transition from one grade to the next. Consider wrapping up the school year by having students write a letter or colour a picture for a future student, perhaps the one who will sit in his or her desk next year. This is a great time to encourage reflection. Ask students to think about some important lessons learned and other favourite moments from the past year and incorporate them into their letter or picture. And provide Splat Mood Pencils or Daisy Highlighters to get the creative juices flowing.

Another idea is to assign kids to help design and assemble their own yearbook using class pictures and photos captured this past year. Students can practice their penmanship and add a personal touch by writing photo captions. Provide thought bubble adhesive notes and some words of inspiration to get the captions started. Distribute these during the last week of class so students can get signatures from teachers and friends.

  • Junior high: Junior high students may struggle with the upcoming transition from middle to high school. They are faced with increased responsibility, more homework and possibly less supervision. But, preparation can help. Consider working with your local high school. Invite a team of students who are successfully completing tenth grade into your class to mentor and prepare ninth graders for their upcoming shift to high school. Provide a “Toolkit for Success” to help students during the upcoming year—a sling backpack that includes tips on studying and time management, a locker memo board to jot down important reminders and a class ID holder to attach to their bags can help get kids organized.
  • High school: Students wrapping up high school are preparing for a whole new journey—college and university! High school juniors may be starting to look at colleges and universities, and learning about financial aid. High school seniors are likely completing financial aid forms, looking for scholarships and beginning enrolment. There are many important deadlines approaching and year-end is a great time to meet with students one-on-one to discuss goals and plans.
  • College and university: College and university seniors preparing for graduation can take some steps now for success in life after school. Considering 60 percent of students borrow money to obtain their postsecondary degree, it’s safe to assume the majority are going to have some loans to pay back—usually starting six months after graduation. So, step one is going to involve a trip to the financial aid office where a financial aid officer can help figure out what’s owed and in what repayment terms. And of course, students won’t be able to repay those loans without a job. Encourage students to ask their professors for letters of recommendation. A little something in writing can go a long way when it comes to narrowing down job candidates.

Time flies and year-end will be here before you know it. We hope you’ve picked up a suggestion or two you can share with your students for smooth sailing into the next year.

Tips to Wrap Up the School Year!” Scholastic Teachers. N.p., n.d. Web. Retrieved 13 Feb. 2014.

Connell, Genia. “Wrapping Up the School Year.” Scholastic Teachers. N.p., n.d. Web. Retrieved 13 Feb. 2014.

Parker, Suzi. “High School Success May Depend on Lessons Middle Schools Don’t Teach.” TakePart. N.p., 20 Nov. 2013. Web. Retrieved 13 Feb. 2014.

Clarke, J. and Wirth, D. “We Are Moving On Up!” Scholastic Teachers. N.p., n.d. Web. Retrieved 13 Feb. 2014.

“End-of-Year College Planning Checklist.” – Parent Resources from ACT. N.p., n.d. Web. Retrieved 13 Feb. 2014.

Fay, Bill. “What College Seniors Need to Do Now to Prepare for Graduation.” – Diverse Issues in Higher Education. N.p., 21 April 2013. Web. Retrieved 23 Feb. 2014.

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