Many of you are preparing for the last days of school and looking forward to the summer break. You are also thinking about ways to end the year on a positive note, provide support for the summer, and new goals you want to accomplish next year. Who says teachers are not multitaskers?
We know that student engagement is the key to preventing many problems in the classroom and the best way to support student learning. This is true even on the last day of school. Implement strategies that will engage your students’ interests and make real connections to learning. Remember. . .learning
can be is fun.
Below are some resource links we like. Let us know if you try these or if you have other activities you use at the end of the year.
Ideas for the end of school in your classroom:
- Read-Alouds for the Last Days of School
- Bringing the School Year to a Strong Finish
- The Last Weeks of School (Middle Grades)
- Sunglasses – Activity
- Easy and Fun Activities to Wrap Up the School Year
- Activities for the last days of school – Education World
- 5 Tips for Summer Reading
- Instructor’s Ultimate Summer Booklist
Previous Blog Posts:
It is interesting that minutes before I began this blog post, I completed a survey for a colleague that requested “# of years teaching?” My first reaction was to skip the question, but I did the math in my head and even though it was hard, I replied with the correct response of 39 years.
Yes, I have been a teacher for quite a long time. Not in the classroom every day of that time, but always a teacher. It is a career decision I have never regretted. There have been days I felt appreciated and days that were challenging. Today’s post is in appreciation and celebration of all those teachers who have committed their professional lives to making a difference in the lives of children. It also includes a thank you to all of my teachers. Thank you for making a difference in my life!!
The really good teachers are able to read a child’s story, and recognize the remarkable opportunity to help author that story. The really good teachers know how to script confidence and success onto the blank pages. They know how to edit the mistakes. And they want to help write a happy ending. Really good teachers know they have the ability to make a child happy or sad, to make a child feel confident or unsure, to make a child feel wanted or discarded. And students know when we care, when we care enough to read their stories.
Anthony Mullen, 2009 National Teacher of the Year
Tomorrow is National Teacher Day. Thank a teacher! Or post your teacher appreciation remarks below. We would love to hear about days you felt appreciated or about teachers you know who make a real difference.
Teachers Wear so Many Hats, a fun video:
Below are really great resources for National Teacher Day.
- NEA National Teacher Day
- PTA Teacher Appreciation Day
- Reading Rockets – Teacher Appreciation Week
- Matt Damon Video – “I had incredible teachers.”
- Teacher Appreciation Blog Post
- Five Reasons to Appreciate Teachers
- Pinterest – Teacher Appreciation
Each year, 30 books are chosen by an independent panel of librarians and booksellers. The authors of the books waive their royalties and the publishers agree to pay the costs of producing the specially-printed World Book Night U.S. editions. Bookstores and libraries sign up to be community host locations for the volunteer book givers. I applied and was chosen as a Book Giver this year. My book was The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. I chose to give my book away at Veritas High School in Milwaukee.
This was year two of our celebration of World Book Night. (Read last year’s post.) Linda Neiman again added to the free books, and we had around 100 books to share with students at Veritas.
Yesterday, I visited Mr. Paltzer’s last class of the day with books and cookies. Even reading goes better with food. I arrived as they were finishing the day’s discussion of Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell. They included me in their discussion of this dystopian novel. We talked about the importance of reading and books. What great young people! They were enthusiastic, respectful and courteous. After school many more students joined us for the books.
We would like to thank the students, Mr. Paltzer, and Principal Sherry Lehman-Tolkan for inviting us to share the love of books and reading at Veritas High School.
WHAT IS WORLD BOOK NIGHT?
World Book Night is an annual celebration dedicated to spreading the love of reading, person to person. Each year on April 23, tens of thousands of people go out into their communities and give half a million free World Book Night paperbacks to light and nonreaders. In 2013, World Book Night was celebrated in the U.S., the UK, and Ireland. World Book Night is about giving books and encouraging reading in those who don’t regularly do so. But it is also about more than that: It’s about people, communities and connections, about reaching out to others and touching lives in the simplest of ways—through the sharing of stories.
How will you promote a love for reading?
Fred Rogers often told this story about when he was a boy and would see scary things on the news: “My mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers-so many caring people in this world.”
During his lifetime, Fred Rogers reassuring way of helping families with difficult times, beginning with his response to Robert Kennedy’s assassination. Over the years since then, there have, unfortunately, been other tragic events during which parents and educators turned to him for his calming and thoughtful insight. Fred Rogers’ wisdom is timeless, and his messages continue to be valuable for children and the people who care for them, as we deal with the events of today’s world.
I’m always glad to be your neighbor!
In this online tool, students can learn about and write acrostic poems. An acrostic poem uses the letters in a word to begin each line of the poem. All lines of the poem relate to or describe the main topic word. As part of the online tool, students brainstorm words to help write their poems and can save their work-in-progress to revise and edit, reinforcing elements of the writing process. Students can also print their finished acrostic poems or proudly show off their work by e-mailing it to a friend.
In this online tool, students can learn about and write diamante poems, which are diamond-shaped poems that use nouns, adjectives, and gerunds to describe either one central topic or two opposing topics (for example, night/day or winter/spring). Examples of both kinds of diamante poems can be viewed online or printed out.
Because diamante poems follow a specific format that uses nouns on the first and last lines, adjectives on the second and fourth lines, and gerunds in the third and fifth lines, this tool has numerous word-study applications. The tool provides definitions of the different parts of speech students use in composing the poems, reinforcing the connection between word study and writing. It also includes prompts to write and revise poems, thus reinforcing elements of the writing process. Students can save their draft diamante poems to revise later, and save and print their finished diamante poems.
In this online tool, students can write poems based on shapes from five different categories: Nature, School, Sports, Celebrations, and Shapes. Within these categories, 32 different shapes are included.
By selecting a shape, students are learning how to focus their writing on a particular topic or theme. In addition, as part of the online tool, students are prompted to brainstorm, write, and revise their poems, thus reinforcing elements of the writing process. Students can save their draft poems to revise later. The finished theme poems can also be printed and colored to display in the classroom or at home.
Some Poetry to enjoy:
(View other poems on this site.)
More Resources for Poetry in April and all year.
- National Poetry Month (poemattic.wordpress.com)
- National Poetry Month: Web 2.0 Poetry ~ Mixbook (bloomingedu.wordpress.com)
- National Poetry Month: Writing Inspiration For Kids (bloomingedu.wordpress.com)
- April is National Poetry Month! (bloomingedu.wordpress.com)
- National Poetry Month: Host a Poetry Slam (bloomingedu.wordpress.com) ( Love this idea. Watch the student samples.)
You know I am all about free resources for teachers. This online interactive tool has so many possibilities for your classroom. It can be used in all content areas and by all grade levels. It is free at ReadWriteThink, one of my favorite sites. There are lesson plans, resources, and 58 other student interactive tools.
The Bio Cube interactive has been changed to a new format: the Cube Creator.
Summarizing information is an important postreading and prewriting activity that helps students synthesize what they have learned. The interactive Cube Creator offers four options:
Bio Cube: This option allows students to develop an outline of a person whose biography or autobiography they have just read; it can also be used before students write their own autobiography. Specific prompts ask students to describe a person’s significance, background, and personality.
Mystery Cube: Use this option to help your students sort out the clues in their favorite mysteries or develop outlines for their own stories. Among its multiple applications, the Mystery Cube helps students identify mystery elements, practice using vocabulary from this popular genre, and sort and summarize information. Specific prompts ask students to describe the setting, clues, crime or mystery, victim, detective, and solution.
Story Cube: In this cube option, students can summarize the key elements in a story, including character, setting, conflict, resolution, and theme. Students can even identify their favorite part of the story. This can be used as an alternative to the Story Map interactive.
Create-Your-Own Cube: Working on a science unit? Doing some research on volcanoes? The Create-Your-Own Cube is your answer. This version allows teachers and students to generate their own questions or topics. Teachers can type in the questions, lock them from editing using the padlock icon, and save the file using the Save tab at the top of the screen. The saved file can then be shared with students to enter in their responses. Students can also customize cubes on topics of their choosing.
(Flash Player Required)
I sometimes use a purchased foam cube for formative assessment at the end of class or a learning segment. Using this online tool, I can create my own FREE cube and customize it for my lesson. Just print it out and toss it around the classroom. Each student answers one of the questions or the one their right thumb is touching. After the student shares, they toss it to another student. Here is the one I created in two minutes. Formative Assessment Cube (Click to download.)
- Think about using it for the first week of school. Students create their own Bio Cube in the computer lab. Print. Decorate. Share. Hang from the ceiling of the classroom.
- Use it at the end of a unit. Students summarize their learning. Print and add drawings and sketches.
- Use it for a book report.
- Use it to tell a story.
- Need a blank cube for another project? Just add title and print it out.
The possibilities are endless. Check it out and please share your own creative uses for this tool.