Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Keeping Students Engaged During the Last Month of School - It's Possible!!

Students are required to draw and create all of their text features. They are not to print any pictures, graphs, etc. from the internet. 

When I first started teaching, I was in a different school each year for about the first 5 years of my career. I never had a set curriculum and at this point every school year (April/May-ish), my task always was to think of a way to keep my students engaged until June.

This year, I am about to end my third year at the same school (yay!) and have found that my unit which teaches students how to write and create a magazine continues to keep them happy, excited, engaged and working to meet their goals! It also happens to be one of my favorite writing units to teach. It is my own little spin-off of Lucy Calkins mixed with some art and hands-on spacial and visual construction of a magazine. Doesn't that sound fun?!

Launching the Magazine

I save this unit for the end of the school year because students write an Informational, Editorial and Interview article. By this point, I have already taught them how to write an Informational and Editorial essay, so I am able to focus on teaching how to write an Interview article and also spend time on the actual construction of the magazine. They learn about advertisements, text features and entertainment type writing. 
Students first type their articles then cut around them to make it easier to place on the "layout pages".

Throughout the Unit

Throughout this unit, students are writing about a topic that interests them! They are able to choose whatever they want and each article is related to the topic. For example, I have a student making a magazine on dogs and she interviewed a vet, wrote about how to choose a dog and which kind of dog makes the best pet. Another student has a magazine all about Taylor Swift and since she couldn't get Ms. Swift to do an interview, she spoke with a friend who has been to many of her concerts, wrote an article about her life and constructed an editorial about why Taylor Swift is such a wonderful person and entertainer. This unit allows students to get creative and have fun with their writing! I absolutely love it!

End of the Unit

By the time we finish this unit, the school year will almost be over. I plan on having students share these magazines with the 4th graders in hopes of getting those kids excited about next school year! 

I purchase report covers and glossy paper to print the magazines. I think this makes them a little more special and fun for the kids! 
Students practice which text features make sense to use for their articles. 

They practice layout and the importance of visual aesthetics when determining where to place the written article and text features.

Purchase Below from My Teacher Store

More Fun End of the Year Activities!



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