Adapting Graduation Ceremony for my Kiddo's!

I have two weeks until my 6th graders graduate and leave me :( I always get stressed during graduation because there are so many different factors I need to calculate.  My student's participate in the 6th Grade Graduation Ceremony which consists  of 150 other loud obnoxious students!

I have been given a schedule from the 6th grade chairperson that should be simple enough for the other classes to follow, but for me, it will require a lot of intricate planning and rehearsing!  Today, we started practicing the processional walk in.  The whole sixth grade class walks in with a partner.  This is a pretty long walk and my goal is for my kids to do it on their own without an aide with them.  I am hopeful that if they start today, they will be good to go by the 18th!!!

I have a social story I have created that talks about sitting during graduation, clapping when others clap, and sitting quietly when others are quiet.  We started reading this story this week so that they can begin to understand the sequence of the big day!

Lastly, I will make individual phone calls to all of my student's parents to talk to them about the big day.  I am sure to communicate the importance of wearing comfortable clothes, and the importance of keeping the morning routine the same as normal.  In the past, I have had families get so excited they bring their child late, or their grandma comes to the room with the child etc.  These little changes in routine can make a child stressed or nervous which could translate to behaviors during the graduation ceremony.  

My graduation ceremony is an hour long, and in the years past it has been a success!  I am up on stage with the other 6th grade teachers as I have to read my student's names off and pass out certificates.  My aides will be sitting near my kiddo's to help if needed.

A few tips for the big day:
-Practice Practice Practice
-Communicate with parents
-Plan for wardrobe malfunctions
-Use the restroom PRIOR to the start of the ceremony, we don't want any kids needing to leave in the middle
-Read a social story to the kids for the weeks leading up to the big day!

How do you celebrate graduation with your kiddo's?


  1. That is a great plan! I think social stories are so important for those situations. It is unfortunate, but sometimes I think participating in the school-wide event is just too stressful! At our junior high, the end of the year awards ceremony lasts about 3 hours! Ugh! The students I have had in my Life Skills class for the past 4 years (yes, 4 years at the junior high - for various reasons) have not been able to participate. The students in the Extended Resource class, however, would go for a short period of time. Three years ago, I decided we should have our own ceremony, and it was a huge success! Our administrators handed out the certificates and medals as the other teacher and I presented the awards; other district personnel were there, the students' families came; we had a slideshow of pictures from the year; and everyone commented on how nice it was to have something personal (and manageable) for their child!

    1. I understand not being able to participate in a 3 hours event! 1 hour is pushing it... and my stress is only building as the day gets closer! ahhh!

  2. Wow that was infrequent. I emphatically wrote an extremely long comment except after I clicked suggest my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr… fine I’m not writing all that ended another time. In any case, immediately sought to say admirable blog!

  3. Do you have an example of the social story you use for graduation?

    1. Hi Stacey-
      I am in a panic. I can't find this social story! It is so weird because I am usually so organized. If my memory serves correctly, I may have let the other SDC class borrow it and I'm not sure if I got it back. I will try to get pictures or a version posted before June. I will need to make a new one this year if I can't find it!