As expected graduation is a big deal and my school's no different so there's been lots of planning to. Luckily, there's a graduation committee (which I am a part of with several 5th grade parents). Graduation is pretty much the same show at any age (speeches, songs, memories, remarks, etc), but of course it's meaning and magnitude changes at each changing stage of life (elementary, middle, high, college). So if you're planning for a Kindergarten, 5th grade or even 8th grade graduation for the 1st time here are some pointers and tips that I've learned this year:
-Recruit help from others: I can't stress this enough, graduation is a large task to take on solo. Delegating duties to others will help you keep your sanity! There's always a person(s) who's great at party planning, ask them to take on a few of the graduation tasks. Don't be afraid to ask, most people are happy and willing to help.
-Secure a speaker sooner than later: Often this part of graduation gets overlooked. Have several choices of speakers just in case there are scheduling conflicts.
-Make ribbons in the school colors for everyone to wear: We aren't wearing robes (hey, this is 5th grade) but the ribbons will show some uniformity among the "graduates". I had the vision for the ribbon idea but asked one of my crafty 5th grade parents to make them (picture coming soon).
-Use an online certificate maker: You can easily print graduation certificates from multiple websites or if you're crafty and creative use Word, Pages, Publisher or any design software. Here's a few online certificate maker websites:
-Quick Certificate Printer
-Microsoft Academic Certificates
-Other Microsoft Certificates
-Making a graduation slideshow can be a very daunting task. Recruiting help from others is great for this too. In our graduation slideshow (you can use PowerPoint or Keynote), we have 2 pictures of each 5th grade student (a baby picture and a current picture). It took me nearly a month to collect, scan,
-Ask parents & staff to bring in flowers for stage decorations. Someone always has several ferns and potted flowers that can be borrowed for a few hours. Total cost: $ 0! (have you noticed a trend in recruiting help from others yet?)
-If there will be a celebration after the graduation, make a playlist(s) on your iPod and connect to an external speaker (borrowed from another 5th grade parent) and that's your DJ. When I had my small middle school group meetings, I had the students to make a list of songs that they wanted to hear that were appropriate for school. Several of the students actually had the CD's for me to put into my iTunes library. I listened to the songs to make sure that they were appropriate (a few were not and they were taken off the list). I threatened to just play Kidz Bop and call it a day (there's nothing wrong w/ Kidz Bop by the way). I even overheard a student whisper to someone "man she's going to ruin our graduation if she plays Kidz Bop!"
- If you're ordering graduation t-shirts for the students, instead of having the names typed on the back, have the students sign their names on the screen print of the shirt. This will almost eliminate typos, misspelled names and not leaving anyone out. The shirt printer will provide the special paper for the students to sign. Here's an example of our shirt for this year:
I'll post pictures of our graduation to show the final results in a few days (graduation's on the 7th).
Graduation is a special occasion whether it be kindergarten or college! As counselors, we can try to do our best to help students and families enjoy the celebration (and enjoy ourselves of course).
What ways to you celebrate graduation at your school? If you have other graduation tips please share, contact me. Pin It