How to Keep Students Writing in the Summer
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Summer is filled with beach days in our house. It’s filled with watermelon, balloon fights, pool trips, and all the fun things that help make summer memories. However, the teacher and writer in me cringes at the thought of letting them get away the whole summer without doing any writing. It doesn’t have to be sitting at the table or the desk in their room where they are bored to tears either. In fact, I strongly discourage this! Get creative with writing this summer and allow them to have fun! Here are some things I do over the summer to keep my children writing. I also suggest these things to my parents/students at the end of each school year!
Write beach observations of rocks/shells.
My kids LOVE to do this. We always walk along the beach and collect different types of shells/rocks. When we get home, it’s the perfect time to write about what they look like. Descriptive/sensory detail writing is so good for them to learn at a young age. While my daughter is still learning to write words and mostly drawing pictures, I encourage drawing and labeling at this stage. Whereas I ask my son ( who is almost a second grader) to make sure he is adding his descriptive details using strong sentence structure. Either way, it’s writing!
Write about a Science Experiment
One of my favorite books for summertime is 50 Science Things to Make and Do. It has a ton of fun science experiments that use things you typically have lying around the house. We find so many different fun experiments to do and spread them out throughout the summer. It makes for the PERFECT observation writing. I introduce to them the basic steps of a science experiment. We form a hypothesis, discuss variables, etc. Even though my daughter is only four, she loves to draw pictures and orally discuss with me what she saw. You can find the book by clicking here.
Attend a fun library program.
Last summer my library had the most amazing programs. They were fun to sneak there for an hour or two even if it was nice out to break up the day! One day they brought in some animals for the children to learn about and pet. There were not many children there that day, so mine got to pet and learn about each one. We have so many fun memories from that day!
Bring a Journal to the Zoo
We love visiting the zoo or aquarium during the summer. One way to get your kiddos writing is to bring a fun animal printed journal with them. Have your children draw their favorite animals and depending on ability level, write some information about what they saw!
Journal in a cozy corner…especially on a rainy day!
One of the reasons I use flexible seating in my room is because I teach writing all day. Students produce much better writing when they are comfortable. I try to do the same for my kids. I tell them to find a quiet place where they will be most comfortable to relax and get in some great writing. Below is a picture of a favorite spot my students like to write in my classroom.
Write a movie review.
As much as we would love every day in the summer to be warm and sunny, we will inevitably get those cold, yucky, rainy days. These are the perfect days to either go see a movie, or stay home and set up a little movie theatre at home. We get some popcorn, candy, and dig into a movie that they’ve agreed on. Afterward, it’s the perfect time to do a little movie review. What was the best part? What did they like/not like about it? Did they feel the ending was satisfying?
Draw a map of your favorite amusement park/zoo.
We finally have a zoo pass this year! Yay! So we will be spending more time there than usual. The fun thing about the zoo near us is they always have special programs and events for kids. The last time we went, for some reason my son was obsessed with reading the map and locating where everything was. We had to follow his lead the entire time. When we got home, he insisted he recreate the map from his mind. I was so happy he was doing some functional writing that I let him get right to it!
Make bug observations.
Kids love bugs. I’m not quite sure what the obsession is, but there definitely is one there. My kids love to make observations also. We did an awesome experiment from our science book last year where we had to make some bug observations. Basically, we set up plastic water bottles and put some soil on top. You can pretty much use any bottle but I found these bottles to work best. The goal was to watch the bugs shy away from the lamp and eventually you can find what types of bugs are living in your garden soil. It made for some grade observation drawing/writing.
These are just a few simple ways to keep students writing in the summer! Take the time to find your own creative opportunities to keep their literacy skills strong while enjoying summer break 🙂