Yep, it's that time of year when the kids are going bananas and the teachers are counting down the days. Some of the tightness of earlier in the school year has loosened up and we are thinking either to the summertime or even the next school year.
Here are some ideas for closing out the year with some fun literacy activities. Take this time to take risks and try something new.
Hold a Read-In: Allow students to bring pillows, towels, and their favorite book. It doesn't have to be all day, just an hour or so. Allow time for students to share their favorite book and do a quick review.
Book Trailers: Watch some book trailers. Encourage kids to create a "Books To Read" list. Watching current book trailers can help them with this. Having a list helps students have a plan of action if they visit the local library or bookstore. Some of my favorite resources for book trailers are:
Book Trailers for Kids
Watch, Connect, Read
Random House Kids
You could even try your hand at creating your own class book trailers. Vote on your favorite picture book, nonfiction text, poetry book, chapter book, etc. Kids are very opinionated about their choices.
Survey Your Readers: If you tried out an interest survey at the beginning of the year, a perfect closing could be a reading survey. Possibilities might be...Ask your students about their favorite book you read aloud. What strategies stuck with them? Which book they would recommend you read with your next class? Who was their favorite author or illustrator? How did you grow as a reader this year?
Get Artsy: Create book poster, new book covers or bookmarks for their favorite book.
Survey Your Writers: Much the same as above but take the time to reflect on the year of writing. What was your favorite piece of writing? Why? Which author studied, helped you as a writer the most? What strategy do you remember most? What do you want to write next?
Collaborative Writing: Allow kids to write together. They could create comics, picture books, drama scripts, poetry, persuasive letters or informational books. Let them have fun. The end of the year should culminate all the learning from your writing workshop.
Author's Celebration: Most schools have some sort of awards ceremony. Why not add on an author's celebration while parents are present. Allow students to share the writing they have done with their parents. Allow students to write an "About the Author" sign to set with their writing. Students need an audience, and what better way to share. Another take on this would be to set out student writing and let other writers in the class write celebrations or suggestions. Feedback from other writers is valuable.
Go on a Word Hunt: Take clipboards or student notebooks outside or around the school to hunt for new words. You could even do this in the library with students finding great words and recording them. Then, ask students to use several of their new words in a piece of writing. You could extend further and ask students to sort the words by parts of speech.
All these ideas take little planning but allow for BIG engagement. Have fun with all your hard work and celebrate your readers and writers!