Dismissal procedures can be very stressful in elementary school. No matter what grade level you teach, don't let the end of the day stress out you or your students! Start by getting organized with dismissal procedures and other easy organizational tools for your classroom.
First, make sure that you revisit dismissal procedures early and often. Dismissal procedures include cleaning up, gathering materials, and end of day routines. It's important to remind your students of the expectations for dismissal procedures. Also, help your students understand their individual procedures based on their transportation home. For example, students who ride the bus may leave sooner than other classmates. Depending on the grade level you teach, your students may walk outside in a straight line and wait for their parent or ride to greet you to pick them up. Of course, dismissal procedures vary depending on grade level. Even 4th graders, for example, need reminders since their procedures might not be the same as they were in third grade!
Create classroom jobs.
Next, having roles for your students to fill in the classroom can help them feel invested in dismissal procedures. Let your students help you with cleaning up, getting items ready for the next day, and helping their peers that need a little extra assistance ending their day right. Model these expectations, of course, then assign classroom jobs throughout the year to help the end of the day go smoothly.
Set an alarm.
Look, I am guilty of over-planning or not anticipating how long an activity will take. In fact, sometimes my learners would be having so much fun that we would all lose track of time. Set an alarm to go off with a favorite class song to signal that it's time to begin your dismissal routine. Your students (and you) will get used to the signal and be ready to go! Pro tip: Make sure the alarm stays even if you're not in the classroom! If you have an iPad or digital device (even an old phone or alarm clock), set it and forget it each day! If you use your phone and you are absent, this trick won't work. You could also put the alarm tip in your sub plans.
The end of the day can be frustrating for students that take a little bit more time completing tasks. Little treats, stickers, or even coupons to buy prizes will reward proper behavior and let students who are struggling a bit see what happens when they stay on task and follow dismissal procedures.
Dismissal procedures don't have to make you or your students cry! Of course, the end of the day can be hectic, but with these dismissal procedures that work, you and your students will end the day and be ready to start the next one fresh!