3 End of the Year Activities To Keep Students Writing
The end of the school year is filled with a range of emotions for both teachers and students. Teachers are overwhelmed by the endless amounts of end of the year paperwork to get done but also emotional for the inevitable good bye they have to say to their students. And students; well they got a taste of summer during their spring break and it has been a challenge to reign them back in since then. This mix of emotions and anticipation for summer break can pose a challenge while lesson planning and trying to keep your students engaged until that last bell rings.
In an effort to keep your students engaged and practicing their writing skills, I have compiled three of my most favorite and well-loved writing activities to share with your students. These activities are easy to prep, can be completed over the span of a few days, and encourages student collaboration. I hope these activities not only allow your students to remain engaged and writing until the last minute but also helps create a few lasting memories for you and your class.
3 End of The Year writing activities:
Writing Celebration with a Younger Grade
I have found that there is no better way to engage my students in their own work than to ask them to show it off to younger students. Every year, our first grade class invites the kindergarten class to visit our classrooms and share in a writing celebration. This celebration can vary from room to room but most commonly it’s a way for current first grade students to share their favorite publishes pieces and get the kindergarteners excited for all of the projects they will be completing next year. It can be designed however would best work with your students and the younger grade who would be participating. If your entire grade doesn’t want to participate, just invite one class to visit yours!
how to set it up:
First, decide with your grade level if this is something they would also like to participate in. Invite the younger grade to split up and come visit your classrooms or pair up with one class to come just to your room.
Have your current students choose two or three published writing pieces that they have completed and ask them to further revise and edit. Have your students decide how they would like to showcase their writing to their younger friends.
Work with your students to create a gallery walk where the younger students can walk around the room and admire student work. Place students either at their desks or around the room to describe their work to their younger friends. You can also pair students together to have current students share their published pieces with their younger friends.
Set up a Q&A session where students can sit in a panel and answer writing assignment questions asked by their younger friends. Allow time beforehand for students to brainstorm answers to possible questions.
As a concluding activity, have your students prepare a list of writing activities that they know their younger friends will be excited to hear about and share with them.
Write a Letter to Your New Teacher
You have heard all about the activity to have your students write a letter to incoming students explaining all of the new things they should look forward to for next year. However, have you tried to have your current students write a letter to their teacher for next year? I find this is such a wonderful reflection and goal setting activity while at the same time encourages students to review the proper way to write a letter. Once students have completed their letters you can put them in their folders to give to their new teacher as a pre-writing assessment. Your student’s next year teacher will thank you!
how to set it up:
As a class, review an anchor chart for How to Write a Letter and discuss the parts that each letter should include.
Explain to students that they will be writing a letter to their new teacher sharing a little bit about themselves. Outline for students how they should include 1-2 sentences all about themselves, what they like and dislike. Then, 1-2 sentences about things they improved upon this year in school. Once that has been completed they should use 1-2 sentences to explain things they would like to continue to work on or learn next year.
Discussing how this letter will go directly to their teacher next year and will be the first introduction they have to them is an important reminder for students to use their best handwriting and details in their writing.
Students should use the guidelines of what to include in their letters but should be encouraged to add more details on their own.
Deliver student letters to next years teacher!
Free Choice Writing Days
As a culmination activity, I love to plan out a few days at the end of the school year where students have FREE CHOICE as to what genre of writing they would like to complete. This not only allows them complete independence and freedom to choose, but is a wonderful review activity of all genres of writing that you have introduced this school year. Students won’t even realize their doing important work of reviewing everything they have learned throughout the year because they will be so excited to choose WHAT they write and HOW they write it.
How to set it up:
The most essential part of setting up for these free choice writing days is to make sure your writing center is fully stocked with any and all paper choices that your students have used this year. If you want your students to truly have free choice in WHAT THEY WRITE, they need to have choice in WHAT THEY WRITE WITH. Your writing center should also be stocked with pens of many colors, post-it notes, tape, and any paper choices they might need.
Take time before allowing students to choose the genre of writing they would like to create to review as a whole class. Bring out all of your old anchor charts that you have created together and hang them up around the room. Take out and display different mentor texts that you have used so students can continue to be inspired.
Have students brainstorm with their partners the genre of writing they would like to complete and work to flush out ideas before getting started.
Group students together based on the genre of writing they chose to share and celebrate their work when they are all finished!
Most importantly, CELEBRATE all of their hard work!
I hope that these three activities inspire some ideas for you to use to keep your students engaged and writing until the end of the school year.
about the author:
Hi there! My name is Jayme and I am the creator of Teach Talk Inspire. I have a passion for teaching little learners to read and write and am determined to show every student that they’re already writers!
I taught first grade for 7 years and acted as a lead teacher for Teacher’s College Reading and Writing Project. I loved to collaborate with other teachers to develop the most effective practices to teach writing to elementary aged students. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from Penn State University and a Master’s in Elementary Education from Duquesne University. My love of writing has been there from the very beginning!
When I’m not blogging or creating resources to help teachers in their classrooms, I’m playing and reading with my one year old daughter; my number one student at the moment!