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Reading & Literacy Opinion

The Last Days of School

By Phylis Hoffman — June 07, 2015 3 min read
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Here’s a rough countdown of my last 18 days in the school year.

School Days Left: 18- Realistic Fiction, series books. I decided for writing our last unit of study would be on realistic fiction. My students had been reading books in a series i.e. Horrible Harry, Ricky Ricotta, Nate the Great, Cam Jansen, etc. So when told they were going to create their own series books based on one main character they were very excited. I showed them an old box holder for a set of Flat Stanley books I found at a library sale. I had another box that holds a set of board books by Kevin Henkes, Box of Treats, which is home to some of my favorite short stories of all time: “Sheila Rae’s Peppermint Stick”, “Lilly’s Chocolate Heart”, and “Wemberly’s Ice Cream Star”. I told them they would design a book box out of an empty cereal box.

School Days Left: 9- Jogathon. Since our school is K-8 span school the district installed a track in our field. It takes about 7 laps around our track to make a mile. My second graders were given 20 minutes to “jog” around the track. They all started running the second they heard on your mark get set go! We had parent volunteers who checked off laps on the lap cards pinned to their shoulders. Our Creating Opportunities for Physical Activity (COPA) lead instructor, Ms. G. was hooked up to the speaker system, giving shout outs to students and teachers for completing laps. Everyone moved faster when they got close to Ms. G. Two of my students completed thirteen laps, almost two miles in twenty minutes. Pretty good for short legs! Students who raised $20 dollars got a commemorative t-shirt designed by one of our eighth graders.

School Days Left: 7- Rehearsal in the breezeway. We gathered all the second grade classes for a musical version of Aesop’s Fables. The play is published by Bad Wolf Press and comes with music and a simple play (1 - 3 characters, short talking parts). On this day we had to start practicing as a group because we were only 3 days away from our live performance! We could not get in the auditorium because the 8th graders were still finishing the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) tests.

School Days Left: 6- Finally, rehearsal in the auditorium! We got to rehearse this afternoon in the auditorium. We ended up making a simple set of five trees (large cardboard tubes, round green lollipop tree heads) and a faux bridge over water.

School Days Left: 5- Field Day. We began our field day by first going over to the local library to get the kids signed up for the library’s annual summer reading program. This year’s theme, “Read to the Rhythm.” Then we checked out books and headed to the park for our very own second grade COPA field day. The students rotated through stations organized around our COPA curriculum where the goal is to get as many kids moving as possible.

School Days Left: 4-Final Rehearsal for Aesop’s Fables. It actually was a pretty simple musical to produce. The students wore their own clothes for costumes. My class did the fable, “The Dog and Its Reflection”, so I made “dog ears” out felt and attached them to elastic headbands. I colored their noses with a large brown circle and ta-da, the dog pack. The “dog” happened to have an old Dalmatian dog costume, so she stood out from the pack.

School Days Left: 3-Playing Before a Live Audience. We did 3 performances this day, one for parents, one for kindergarten, and one for first grade. We got rave reviews and a standing ovation! Don’t forget about those cereal boxes! They had been working on their books for 3 weeks when the last days of school were upon us. So after performing we spent the rest of the school day crafting our boxes and our stories.

Last Day of School- I really enjoyed this group of students this year. They were very kind hearted and positive. Although at times they were a noisy ball of energy, they rarely complained. Here’s an excerpt from a letter one of my students wrote me, “You taugt (sic) me reading so much I’m an ‘N/O’. You taugt me math so much I got a math award and I’m on times tables. You taugt me sorting so much I’m in the highest group. You taugt me writing so much I’m good at writing books. You taugt me art so much I am good at art. I thank you for everything.”

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