As the year winds down, I want my students to remain engaged, yet give them a chance to have a little fun while they spend their last few weeks with me in elementary school. Now, I use the term "fun" loosely here. ;) It isn't like we are going to be hooting and hollering. I just want them to relax and enjoy themselves, while still keeping things standards based.
One thing I did this year with my students is have them respond to the Read Alouds we have been doing using a Story Wheel. This wheel is something I got from the book entitled 35 Ready-To-Go Ways to Publish Students' Research and Writing (Grades 4-8) It is an awesome book! I have been using it for YEARS (literally) as there are just so many different simple templates in it to get your kids writing without thinking they are.
Anyway, back to the Story Wheel. Basically, there are 6 sections on the wheel that asks the students to respond to the reading they did. They must talk about the main character and list character traits, draw and describe the setting, discuss the character traits of the antagonist, write about both the problem and solution, as well as discuss the author's motivation and purpose for writing the story. (which actually also lends itself well to the theme of the piece.)
For each section, I upped the rigor just a bit by having the students provide text evidence from the read alouds to accompany what they put on the wheel.
Then, I stapled 3 or 4 of them together to hang from the ceiling as a mobile. Done and done.
Seriously, this was such a simple way to keep them engaged and make them feel like they were having a little fun (since they did get to draw after all ;) )
What is some way you have had the kids respond to literature in these last few weeks?