Classroom Solutions > Brent Vasicek > End of the Day Routine

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End of the Day Routine

Class photo 2010-2011

As I mentioned in last week's post, the brain likes clean beginnings and clean endings. In the video you had a chance to see all the organized enthusiasm that begins a typical day in Studio 24. This week we will take a look at how you can successfully wrap up a day of learning in ten minutes or less.  This post contains a video demonstrating the fast-paced flow of the end of our school day.

Photo: Studio 24 students before heading inside for the Wrap It Up routine.


The brain can either pay attention or make meaning, but it does not do both simultaneously in an efficient manner at all. The purpose of an end of the day routine is to signal the brain that it is now time to start making meaning of everything that it learned during the day. The Wrap It Up segment in Studio 24 puts an exclamation mark on the day and allows the brain to shift into an after school frame of mind. Here is a breakdown of our Wrap It Up routine. 

If you have trouble viewing the video, you may also check it out on YouTube.  

Agenda Ten minutes before they are allowed to get their coats I go over the agenda from the day. Students write down in their personal agendas any homework they may have. On the board I write anything that needs to be included in their agenda. I like to initial each student's agenda to show that I looked to see if the essential information was written down. While I am quickly doing this, the students need something to do . . . enter Roses and Thorns. Note: I also have them rate how their personal day was in the agenda on a scale of one to ten. If a child rates their day as a six or less, then I am sure to follow up with them before they leave. See video above.

Mind Map  We take a few minutes to update our weekly mind map with things we learned, events that occurred, or activities we completed throughout the day. A mind map is a visual representation of our week. I save all of these weekly mind maps for the last week of school. I place them around the room in chronological order. Then the students do a memory walk. With a little bit of Kodak commercial music in the background, you will often get some tears shed. Note: Tony and Barry Buzan have a book with tips on how to successfully mind map. See a close up example at the end of the video above.

RoseRoses and Thorns Essentially, this is a modified, upper elementary version of Show and Tell, but it goes much faster. About six students get a chance to share a rose or thorn in the three minutes it takes me to get around the room to sign the agendas. I choose the first student and each student thereafter is chosen by the student who just got done sharing. A "rose" is something that went well for them that day. A "thorn" was something they didn't particularly care for.  Photo of rose courtesy of

Gems / Ops After I am done signing agendas, we reflect upon the day. I ask for three gems. Gems are things that went well for the class in terms of behavior or efficiency (example: We received a good report from Miss Gaughan, our art teacher.). After the three gems are given, I ask for three ops. "Ops" is short for "Opportunities for Improvement" (example: We could have been more focused during our social studies lesson.).  See video above.

Whatcha Gonna Tell Yo Momma? I came up with this idea to combat the "nothing" answer to the age old question of "What did you learn in school today?" I ask for three specific items that we learned during our time together. They know they should remember at least one of these items to tell their mommas when they get home.  See video above.

Rate the Day Finally we quantify our day with a number. A perfect ten means we had an awesome day in terms of focus, respect, responsibility, and efficiency. A zero means it was the worst day ever. Anything less than a six means privileges will be revoked on the following day of school . . . so be prepared! Initially, the students think every day is a perfect ten. After about a month, they tend to be pickier with a ten than I would be. Note: After the first month I do this segment in Spanish to keep it fresh and to reduce a bit of anxiety about middle school foreign language classes. I also use the phrase "quantify your day" because sneaking in the vocabulary word quantify makes them own the vocabulary word.  See video above.

Off the Air We shut off the learning sign that we turned on at the beginning of the day.

C-Ya Dance With a little help from 'N Sync, we end our day with a dance choreographed to a portion of "Bye Bye Bye."  See video above.

Favorite Game To help out the janitors we play our favorite game of "Stack Your Chairs!"  See video above.

All that in ten minutes. Yes, it is a lot. Yes, it takes awhile to get into the groove. Don't attempt to teach the whole routine at once. Layer it!

Pack Up / Handshake Check Out We pack up and wait for the dismissal bell.  At that point we do the class secret handshake again so I can mentally check each kid off my list as they leave.Classroom activators


For more tips on how to energize your classroom with routines and novelty throughout the day, I would  suggest Classroom Activators by Dr. Jerry Evanski. He knows his brain research and lists many practical applications in his book.

What wrap up routines do you do in your classroom that you would like to share?

Definitely a wrap,

Director Vasicek


  • #1 Kaitlyn

    Wednesday, November 17, 2010 at 12:43 AM

    As a future teacher, I love finding advice from current teachers. This video is absolutely excellent. It seems like a great way to end the day.

    Thanks for sharing!

    I think you will truly enjoy it. The dance puts a nice punctuation mark at the end of every day.

  • #2 Allie

    Tuesday, November 02, 2010 at 09:31 PM

    I really enjoyed learning about your daily wrap up!! I think it is so important that the students take responsibility for what they learn throughout the day! I teach Kindergarten and would love any tips on how to modify an end of the day wrap up for my little ones!

    Well, I have never taught kindergarten, but I do know there is a CD put out by Gemini with some fun songs that the kindergarteners might enjoy. One of the songs is called "Bye Bye." I might try to incorporate that. Probably a 3 minute clean up song. A 1 minute Bye Bye song (that includes them saying good bye with a handshake or high-5 to their friends). And a 3 minutes get your coat and back pack song.

    I find music is a great way to manage kids without sounding like a nag. Within a few weeks of establishing the routine the kids learn exactly when a song is about to end. If you, the teacher, are consistently ready for the next action when the song ends, then they will know to be ready by the last note of the song. Watch a future blog for the ways I use music in my classroom.

    Great question.

  • #3 Stephanie

    Wednesday, October 20, 2010 at 06:54 PM

    WOW!... as a new teacher this year I've been having a tough time getting into an end of day routine and this is definitely motivating. I'm going to see if my Grade 3/4s can handle this. Thanks for the AWESOME video and ideas that I will carry throughout my teaching career.


    I did a similar routine in first grade. If I can do it. You can do it. Make it your own and have fun with it. The more you own it, the more the kids will.
    Thank you for reading!


  • #4 karolin

    Monday, October 04, 2010 at 10:40 PM

    amazing, i would like to do something like that with my students... i´m from Costa Rica and i teach English but it´s kind of difficult to teach a foreing language...could you give some tips of how to do it, i am a new teacher but i will love to see my students to love English and more than that, to use it!!

    Thank you for reading the blog. My advice is to pick a portion of your day where you can consistently use some foreign words (as in the video). Use these words all year long and they are bound to stick. Thanks for reading! ~Brent

  • #5 Allie Magnuson

    Thursday, September 30, 2010 at 07:52 PM

    Brent ~ you are truly an amazing teacher. I love watching you in action.

    Thanks, Allie. I learn something new every day. Brent

  • #6 Rose

    Thursday, September 30, 2010 at 07:45 PM

    Brent- I really like your "rate your day". My class this year is a tough one and I am going to try that. Do you take away or give them anything for getting a certain number over a period of time?


    Thank you for the question. If their day is less than a 6, then privileges are removed the following day. Permission to get paper, to use the restroom, and to sharpen pencils must be granted. Learning is strictly out of the book (no demo's or experiments). There is no morning Hoopla, no music, etc. The students call this Serious Tie Day because I wear my business tie and not a fun tie. Afterwards, I put the tie on the wall as a reminder of the day. In the future all I have to do is pretend to reach for the tie and the room calms down.

    If they earn a 10 (we average about one a month), then a reward is in order. We do Red Ticket Drawings (where I raffle off prizes), iPod Day, extra recess, or a particularly fun experiment.

    I really make them earn those 10's. When they get one they truly feel accomplished.
    Going for 10,

  • #7 Gina

    Thursday, September 30, 2010 at 10:06 AM

    Hmmm.. Nice artcile and video. Thanks for sharing.

    You are welcome. Thank you for reading.

  • #8 Amanda Nickerson

    Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 07:28 PM

    Your class looks like so much fun! I love how you manage to spruce up even the most potentially mundane activities and routines. :) Your tips are "gems".

    Sparkle & shine,

    Thanks. When I make the boring things fun for me, then I think the attitude is contagious. Thanks for taking the time to comment.
    Shined and sparkled,

  • #9 Eileen

    Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 03:53 PM

    Another hit! Thank you for sharing!

    Would it be possible for you to share videos with us of your Waka Waka and Bye Bye Bye dances? I'd love to get some ideas on choreography from you! Thanks!

    Thank you. And, unfortunately, I am unable to show you the full dances with the music as it would violate copyright laws. My best advice is to watch the videos and pick out the easier moves to teach your students...or come see it in action live.

    Keep on dancin',

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Brent Vasicek
Brent Vasicek
Clinton Township, MI
Grades 3-5
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