School breaks can be times of anxiety when routines change, excitement for those who have planned travel or activities, and time for relaxation and rest after the frantic build up to the break. This post is deliberately planned to give you a few days to consider how you want to frame goals for the time in between school attendance in 2019 and 2020.
Last week during a Zoom meeting with some teachers, I asked what folks were planning to encourage literacy over the winter break. This had come up as a question in some buildings recently. So here are some of the ideas that we brainstormed!
Thanks, Elementary Book Love friends!
What this is not:
- An encouragement for packets
- Assigned reading tasks
- A calendar of activities to do over break every day
- A requirement for a grade or for extra credit
Instead consider the literacy habits of your students:
- What are their current reading habits?
- What are their current writing habits?
- What encouragement would give them some practice time?
- Where might this practice occur?
- What might get in the way of this practice?
- What are their current literacy goals?
What might be your focus?
- Access How many books or texts do your students need on average? How can you put that number in their hands? How can you increase access to meet the needs of the families represented in your classroom?
- Choice How can students choose some books from the classroom library to read over break? How can you provide some ideas about writing over the break? Is there a book or an activity you would do with siblings? Cousins? Neighbors?
- Agency What if you give the students a calendar to look at and then ask if there are days that might more naturally fit into some reading or writing time? (Travel time? Days when family members are working? Days with relatives?) Students can identify some days and or times that might work.
- Student Goals Based on the time they see available, knowing that weather, etc. can change plans, what might be a reasonable goal?
- Fun What about choosing a book or genre that is fresh/new? Joke book? Poetry? Or even reread an old favorite? Or rewrite a piece from a different view?
Approximately 10 – 15 minutes each day during the next week might just provide the time that your students will need in order to make sure they have access, choice, agency, their own goals, and some fun planned for their winter break.
This may need a bit of planning on your part if you need to organize a quick book tasting or a gallery walk to show “possibilities” for writing. Chat with a friend and generate ideas that meet the needs of your students! Please remember to share your own plan for the break!
However, if this is totally different from past practices you may want to send a quick note home so families have a heads up before the break begins!