I am writing this blog post with a little over 3 weeks left of the 2015 school year. I will be sad to see this group of students move on to high school, but I really need my summer to rest up. I have joined up with some great English Language Arts bloggers to help you plan now for next year’s start up.
Tip #1: Use the Photocopier Before You Leave
I try to never leave at the end of the school year without having my first day photocopies completed or at least easily accessible in a folder. Basic items like Student Information and Interest Forms, Reading and Writing Surveys and Back to School Bingo. These are items I use every year and I know will be useful for the first day as I am trying to get to know my students.
Tip #2: Reduce Prep by Using Long Term Assignments
I love year-long assignments that students can get familiar with the routine and format, so they develop more independence as learners. Two of my favourite teaching resources that I use every year in my classroom is my Genre Based Independent Reading Assignments and Article of the Week Differentiated Lesson Bundle.
If you are looking for a structured independent reading program read this detailed blog post about how I use 12 Genre Book Reports. Each month students must read a certain genre. By the end of the school year, students have been exposed to more than just their “go to” genre.
Article of the Week is one of my favorite literacy strategies/assignments. I discovered this concept last year from the English teacher-guru Kelly Gallagher.
The basic concept is for teachers to assign students a non-fiction article each week to read and provide time for students to develop a well-written response. Each article needs at least two critical thinking response questions. This provides students with a choice on which question they want to write a response for. In my ten years of teaching, this was the best strategy that I consistently saw growth from my students in their reading, writing, and oral discussion skills. This strategy helps students develop their own opinions after reading the text and examining the issues presented. I outlined my Article of the Week program in this blog post.