Both of the Big Kids are officially on summer break. After 5 seconds of Evan’s summer, it was clear we were going to need to have a focus this summer. Hello, summer writing!
For the past week, our summer writing activities have been focused on giving me time to bond with the Big Kids and keep them learning over the summer break. Because I used to be a small groups reading, writing, and math teacher, I’m used to juggling their different learning styles and abilities. Secretly? I love this.
What are we doing?
The kids have two composition notebooks and a pack of markers for their summer writing tools. In the morning, they get out their summer writing notebook. The summer journal comes out in the afternoon, just before nap.
The notebooks are for two different activities – one focused, one not. Summer writing is a themed writing activity. Summer journal time is free writing for the kids to document their summer vacation.
What are we writing about?
In the summer writing journal, the kids are writing to a theme. I put together a list of topics and they write one a day (via a random draw from the list). I write on our chalkboard the theme and give them any “big words” they might need to go along with it. We also have sight word cards based on other topics we’ve written and words (Evan has) learned. Arianna, a rising first grader, writes two to three sentences to the theme. I ask Evan to write the theme and a word or two about it. Both then draw something that goes along with the theme.
For instance, here’s how our first day went:
Theme: “Outside, I like…”
New sight words: I, like (these now hang on the whiteboard)
Arianna: “Outside, I like to play. I like to ride my bike.” (She then drew a bike.)
Evan: “Outside, I like my house.” (He then drew their play house with the two of them inside it, barfing – I can’t make this stuff up.)
Adult writing: When they are happy with their work, I look at it and help them fix any words they didn’t know how to spell and write it below the word so one day they’ll remember.
How can you do this at home?
It’s really simple. You just need notebooks, writing utensils, and prompts! I searched Pinterest for ideas and then made a list. Below are ones that were available for our first week.
Outside, I like…
My favorite book
What I read yesterday
What makes me cry
What is love?
Hopefully the kids will give me permission to share their work as posts this summer. That’s another rule. They have to show it to me in order to be excused from the table, but they don’t have to share it with anyone else. And the journal? Even more private. Only show me if you want to. (So far, they are really proud of their work and are sharing.)
In a future post, I’ll have to tell you more about other ways we are keeping the learning alive this summer. Now’s your chance! Share with me how you are learning with your kids while they are out of school.