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NYC Helpline: How To: Work with Students' Families

How to Have a Culminating Event  Allison Demas

Since you have worked so hard all year building a relationship with your students and their parents, it would a shame to let the year end with a whimper. So why not go out with a bang? Plan a culminating event which celebrates the year’s successes.

Plan it just as you would a party, with colorful plastic tablecloths (great for easy clean-up), snacks on each table, and beverages. The room should be decorated with examples of the students’ hard work from throughout the year. You and your students can create displays of student work and photographs on oak tag or display boards. Have your students write catchy slogans and captions for the photographs and work. If you don’t have room for displays then put the work into a few binders placed on each table. Photographs glued to colorful copy paper can look very attractive and eye-catching.

Have students create “mini-museums” of work on the topic of their choice. They can work individually or with partners. This is one way to show off what they have learned and to applaud their independence.

As the parents arrive the students should greet them at the door and escort them into their world. They can serve their parents a beverage and show them around while everyone awaits “the main event.”

The main event is entirely up to you. You might want to have a “writing celebration” in which each student would read one piece they published during the year. You could have a “reading celebration” in which each student would read a passage from a favorite book. Students might want to write and perform a short play or skit. Students could present their “mini-museums” and teach the parents about the topic. The choice is yours and your students. If you step back and look at what you and your students have done all year, the main event will most likely jump out at you.

Make sure you compliment the students on their hard work. Also make sure to thank the parents for their support (even if they didn’t provide very much). Keep in mind that this will probably not be a one-time event. It will be for this year but chances are that word will spread about how nice it was and you will end up doing this each year. Your celebration should echo the work you’ve done during this year, but that echo will be heard throughout the next and future years.


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