This post is for the teacher who is writing notes, checking folders, following through on behavior plans, asking who dropped their mail on the floor (and asking again), tying shoes, holding up forgotten lunchboxes, and checking for a lost sparkly blue pencil, and listening for bus numbers....
After 8 years of frustration and many failed attempts, I think I may have finally found a solution to help ease the stress of dismissal. Meet my new best friend at dismissal-- Bus Buddy! He has been working wonders in my classroom, and you can bring him into your room too!
Here's how I am using him in my classroom, but I am sure there are sooo many more ways to use him to fit your needs.
First, I do think that it is important to teach dismissal procedures. I know it's the end of the day, and both kids and teachers are running on fumes, but it's important to establish a plan. Here are a couple charts like those used for Daily Five to teach your expectations.
Every classroom looks a bit different at the end of the day, so you can work with your learners to establish routines. Maybe your class is silently reading or finishing undone work. Maybe you are working with a small group for extra practice or performing classroom duties- - that part is totally up to you!
In my classroom, 2 kiddos have the job of being the Bus Boss (or you could call it Bus Buddy if boss is too “bossy” for you). The Bosses are from one of the last groups to be dismissed. You can even give them little name tags to make their duty more official.
At the start of dismissal, they each retrieve a Bus Buddy sign. I printed my signs and put them in 4x6 frames from Michaels. The frames were only $2 and they have plastic inserts so there's no glass that will get broken if they fall.
The Bosses each put a sign on the desk of a kiddo who is following the dismissal routine. In my room, that means someone who is quietly working on undone work at their desk and listening to the dismissal announcements. If that kiddo stops following the dismissal routine (shouting, getting out of her seat, etc) the Boss moves Bus Buddy sign to another desk. If that kiddo continues working quietly until her van/bus/car is called, she gets a small reward left on her desk for the next day.
Once she leaves, the Boss moves the sign to a new desk, and the activity continues. You can continue playing until all of the students have been dismissed. This makes it fair for everyone regardless of long they wait for their group to be dismissed.
By giving the students more responsibility, you can pull a few kiddos for extra practice or perform classroom duties without any extra stress! I hope the Bus Buddy becomes one of your best friends in the classroom! If you find a different way to use the Bus Buddy in your classroom, I would love to hear all about it!
I also have a freebie in my store to to teach bus safety if you need a fun group project! It's great for reviewing safety tips and practicing cooperation!