The end of the school year can be filled with all sorts of emotions for children: excitement, worry, sadness, joy. These students have been with each other all year and now it's time to move on into the summer. For some grade levels, the end of the year marks the end of an era for them. Those moving from elementary to middle school, middle to high school and high school and beyond can have an even greater range of emotions. Sometimes we can help transition students out of their final days with carefully chosen activities.
Poetry can serve as a nice activity for students. Here are a a few fun and meaningful poetry activities that can be used for the end of the year.
Name Acrostics - You may know about acrostics, but stick with me for the twist on this one. Instead of having students write an acrostic for their own name, have them do it in a group for each other. Arrange your students in a circle. Ask them to write their name in large letters down the left side of a piece of paper. Once everyone is set, have them all hand their papers to the person on their right. This person needs to think of the student whose name is on the paper and come up with something positive to write about that student on their paper. Whatever they write, it has to start with the letter of the student's first name. Once everyone is done, ask students to pass their papers to the right again and repeat the process until everyone's names are completed.
Of course not everyone's name is the same length and you probably have more students than they have letters in their names. Plan ahead for this as a class. You can have students sit quietly, passing papers along until the end or you could ask students to continue writing something nice to the student whose paper they have in their hand.
Once all is finished, allow your students to get their poems and read what others wrote about them. It should bring a smile to everyone's face!
Write About a Classmate - Like the title suggests, for this activity, students write about each other. To make the process more special have students pick a person from a hat and keep it a secret until the poem is read. When everyone is finished reading their poems (you can choose the style or formula for the poem or keep it free choice), ask them to read the poems one at a time to the class. You can even have students guess the person to whom the poem is written. As a final fun moment, you can ask the poets to present their poems to the student.
You can decide if you want the poems to be polished and in final form or if you would like to have students just do a cold write in the moment. Either way, it is a special piece of paper for every student.
I Remember and Someday - As a way to reminisce on the good times that were had all year, ask students to write a poem where each line begins with "I remember." Encourage students have good word choice as they try to make their memories come alive. In an contrasting manner, students can start each line with "Someday" and ponder what lays ahead for them.
Word Splash - For this activity, even students who are weary of poetry will do well. Have them brainstorm all kinds of words and phrases that they think of when they think back on the school year. They can then pick and choose the words they want to use for their poem and then draw them in interesting ways on a piece of blank paper. Let students get creative so that each word really stands out and reflects that memory. The results will be attractive, poetic and memorable for years to come!
Poetry is an art form that can encapsulate moments, feelings and memories. Using poetry in this way will help your students to appreciate all they have accomplished and gained throughout the year in a constructive and creative way.