I think the days between now and the end of the school year are, by far, the most difficult days of the school year. Teachers are tired; students are tired; the pressure of testing is mounting, and we’re all starting to see summer break on the horizon. Despite the challenges, I know that the show must go in order to maintain consistency and routines, which in turn, prevents a break down in academic performance and behavior. Below are a few literacy activities to keep your students learning and engaged as spring arrives.
Take it outside!
Let students grab their books or writing notebooks and take them outside for a little outdoor learning. Reading and writing outdoors can be relaxing for students, and it helps teach them that reading is something enjoyable that can be done anywhere! I know that personally, there is nothing better to me than taking a good book outside on a sunny day…especially if there is a beach involved 🙂
There is almost nothing my students enjoy more than reader’s theater! I spent a little time on reader’s theater the week before Christmas Break, and my students absolutely loved it. That is probably the most engaged I’ve seen them all year long. You could chose spring themed scripts, or even scripts that correlate to your social studies and science standards. These kind of literacy activities are also the perfect time to reinforce your drama standards. If I have any extra time (ha, ha) I’ll let my students create a few props for their play.
Poetry provides students a breath of fresh air. It’s new, different, and once students learn how to read poetry, they love it! There are lots of great silly poems out there, but my students also enjoy deeper and more thought provoking poems. I absolutely LOVE Caroline Kennedy’s Poems to Learn by Heart, which is a diverse collection of poems. I also enjoy reading Sharon Creech’s Love That Dog, which is one of my favorite books! It’s a chapter book that is written is poetry through journal entries.
Figurative Language Book
If you’re teaching poetry, you might as well squeeze in a little figurative language practice! I have my students create a figurative language book, where they describe different forms of figurative language, such as similes or metaphors. I have students explain the figurative language, use it in a sentence, and create an illustration of the form of figurative language.
Flip the Class
Let your students be the ones to make the test or create your next set of task cards! Have students work in cooperative groups to design a set of task cards that review a particular set of standards. I like to break my students into groups of four and give each group a different language arts standard. I then give students a set of blank index cards and let them get creative. I do require students to focus on content before then can decorate and add design elements to the task cards. This requires students to use higher order thinking skills, as they have to evaluate their questions to ensure the standard is being thoroughly practiced and review. I give each group of specific number of task cards that I want them to create within a given time period.
Make it Personal
Give students writing prompts that are relevant and personal to their own lives. If you want to see students get fired up, ask them if they want to have homework over Spring Break! While I cannot image ever actually assigning homework, I talk to my class as if I’m contemplating the idea. Even though I’m fairly certain my students know I’m not serious, they start telling me why it’s not a good idea. I use that enthusiasm and passion to have students write an opinion essay on whether or not students should have homework over Spring Break. If you’re working on personal narratives, you could have students write a narrative about their Spring Break. If you’re focusing on fictional narratives, students could make up a story about a perfect Spring Break.
Be a Book Designer
By this point in the school year, most students should be quite familiar with book jackets. I let my students create their own book jacket for a book of their choice. I give them blank white construction paper and have them create a front cover with the title, author, and large illustration. Then on the back cover, students write a summary. On the inside flaps, students create an about the author section and a book review section.
Spring Themed Vocabulary
Why not throw in a little extra vocabulary instruction these last weeks of the year! Even though I’m not a huge fan of writing definitions from a dictionary, I do want my students to be able to use a dictionary. We come up with several spring themed words and then find them in a dictionary. (It’s helpful for every student in the group to use the same type of dictionary.) Students write down what page they found the word on and the guide words on the page. Then, students record what part of speech the word is, as well as how many syllables are in the word. Once students understand the word, they use it in a sentence. This is a great activity for a little extra test prep!
All of the printables shown on this post are in my Spring Literacy Activities pack, but you definitely can use the ideas with or without them! These activities will surely keep my students busy, but I’m always looking for new ideas! What are your favorite spring literacy activities?
I am absolutely in love with my new spring door! I know it isn’t necessary, because we don’t have to decorate doors, and there isn’t anything academic on it. But, every time I walk in my door, I smile. That’s why I love it. It’s the little things! I have to admit that I did have some tons of help with my awesome student teacher! It is beyond nice to have an extra set of hands in the classroom.
Can you tell I love spring?