Elementary School Dismissal Procedures, Ideas, and Resources

Is dismissal crazy in your classroom? I know dismissal was the craziest time of day in my classroom. Transitions are always challenging, but there was so much to do in those final minutes that it was always hard to make sure everyone had what they needed and were safely sent home the way their parents had intended. By implementing strategies and a specific tool, I was able to end my days calmly and happily and took great comfort in knowing my students were where they belonged.

This blog post will...
  • offer 10 tips for dismissal
  • explain the benefits of using a specific resource
  • describe what is included in the resource
  • share real teachers' testimony

10 Tips for Dismissal
  1. If you have the opportunity to meet your students and their families before the first day of school, ask families how their child will be getting home the first day of school. It can be helpful to collect this information on a class list form. You can carry this form on a clipboard with you or leave it on a table where families check in and collect other helpful information. You can add a little treat for them for a special touch (e.g. little water bottles with a cute label, mints, or goldfish).
  2. On the first day, confirm with students how they are getting home. If there is inconsistency between how you think they are getting home and how they think they are getting home, then contact the main office.
  3. Explicitly teach your end of the day routine the first day of school. Model, have a student or group of students model, and give your students opportunities to practice the routine.
  4. Maintain consistent routines throughout the year. This will promote independence amongst your students.
  5. Post a dismissal chart so students can reference it to know how they are getting home each day.
  6. If you are using a dismissal chart, have one of your students manage clearing it as one of his or her classroom jobs during your morning routine. 
  7. Again, if you are using a dismissal chart, use clothespins labeled with students’ numbersIf a child will be going home a different way than usual on a given day, move their clip to the appropriate location. This also allows you to reuse the clothespins year after year.
  8. Have your students Play Find It and Fix It to help you clean your classroom at the end of the day.
  9. Invite students to participate in a quiet and relaxing activity at the end of the day or use this time to read aloud a book to them. This will provide an opportunity for students to decompress at the end of the day and hear the announcements with ease.
  10. Just as you greet students at the beginning of the day, be sure to say goodbye to each of your students. It could be as simple as a high five, wave, or hug.

A Dismissal Procedure That Works
You may need to adjust this procedure based on your specific school's routines and your grade level, but I encourage you to use it as a starting off point.

  1. Ask students to clean up the center or activity they are working on. They can signal when they are ready by standing behind their pushed-in chair.
  2. Dismiss students by table when a full table is showing they are ready. If you have desks, you could silently tap a students desk to show they are ready. If the whole class is ready, then you could dismiss students by birthday month, number of syllables in there first name, number of siblings, first letter of their name, student number, etc. For example, you could say, "If your student number is an even number less than 9, then you may pack up."
  3. Students will then go to their mailboxes and get their folders and any papers that need to go home. They bring the folders to their desks and put all the papers in their folders.
  4. Students get their belongings from their cubbies and bring them back to their desks.
  5. Students put their folders into their backpacks.
  6. Students then bring all their belongings to the rug and sit quietly waiting for all of their classmates to sit on the rug.
  7. Read aloud a story to your students, play a quiet game or activity, play quiet music, or encourage students to talk quietly amongst their friends.
  8. When students hear the announcement saying they are dismissed, students say goodbye to the teacher with a high five, handshake, hug, etc. It could be helpful to teach students to make eye contact when saying goodbye.

The Benefits of this Dismissal Chart Resource
  • There are three options to choose from and they look great when you mix and match them. 
  • They are editable so you can alter the wording to suit your specific needs (i.e. car riders vs parent pickup vs personal vehicles). 
  • You'll save time and money since it costs less to purchase this resource than it would cost to buy the materials to make it yourself. 
  • The display is versatile: hang them, mount them above a pocket chart and put student names on cards, attach it to your whiteboard and hand-write the names, use pinch-style clothes pins, etc.
  • It will be easy for substitutes, aides, and guest teachers to see where the students need to go at the end of the day.

Check out this resource here!

What is included in this dismissal chart resource?
Included in this 23 page DISMISSAL CHART resource you will find...
  • 2 Colorful Dismissal Chart/Table (EDITABLE)
  • 2 Black and White Dismissal Chart/Table (EDITABLE)
  • Each Label Comes in 20 Different Colors/Patterns (EDITABLE)
  • 8 Different Chalkboard Version Display Pieces (EDITABLE)
  • 8 Different White Version Display Pieces (EDITABLE)
  • Outer Circle for Mounting

Real Teacher Testimonials
  • Miss Techie Teacher said..."I love this. It's nice to have a reminder of how everyone gets home, especially since it changes frequently.”
  • Rachel L. said...“I love this, thank you. This will be my first time making one that hangs on a ribbon, they are so cute like that! I love all your products so much…”
  • Jennifer R. said..."This will make daily tracking of transportation changes so much easier, and it is SO cute! Thank you!”
  • Read more feedback here!


Pick and click any or all of the options below.

By the way, if you are not already subscribed to The Clutter-Free Classroom newsletter I encourage you sign up. Subscribers receive weekly tips for organizing and managing a classroom as well as exclusive free printables. You can sign up here.