Wrapping Up the School Year
Ideas from Responsive Classroom consultants Lynn Majewski, Babs Freeman-Loftis, and Tina Valentine
You can do this one in conjunction with packing up the classroom library: each child chooses a favorite book and tries to convince classmates to read it over the summer. There are a variety of ways to make these “sales pitches”: designing book jackets complete with blurbs and inside flap summaries, making oral presentations, writing reviews, and so on. To keep it fun, choose assignments that draw on skills students have mastered, and let them focus on making a persuasive argument.
When I was an administrator, I used to visit each kindergarten class every other week. At our last meeting of the year, I shared a beautiful picture book called All the Places to Love, written by Patricia MacLachlan and illustrated by Mike Wimmer, and then talked with the children about all the places and things they’d loved about kindergarten. They’d draw and write about the tire swing and dancing the “Turkey Trot” at Grandparents’ Day, reading books in the library, singing in the Morning Meeting circle, and playing with new friends on the playground. We turned their work into books that I’d read to the next-year’s kindergartners when I met them for the first time.
Another classic is having students write letters introducing themselves to their next year’s teacher. Provide guidelines for what to write about, and make this a chance for students to reflect on their strengths, think about what they’re looking forward to, and let you know about worries you might be able to address before the year ends. Have students write these letters while reviewing their portfolios to create a powerful opportunity for reflecting on what they’ve learned.Tags: Last Weeks of School, Summer