As the year comes to a close, it’s the perfect time to review important skills. During the last month of school, I use these end-of-year writing activities to review the writing genres we covered throughout the year.
Now, these have to be fun, because kids’ attention spans and effort are often at an all-time low! So here are my favorite ideas to engage your students with end of year writing activities for each of the three main genres: Narrative, Informational, Opinion.
The best part is, you can do these whole-group once, to review the genre, then place them at a writing center for kids to continue practicing!
There are different types of informative writing, but in kindergarten and first grade, we usually cover How-to and All About books (books to teach all about a topic). Here are some fun activities to review these two genres.
If you haven’t tried how-to kits yet, definitely do! These are easy to make, perfect to include oral language and hands-on learning, and they are always a hit with kids. Students use the objects to talk about and act out the steps before doing the writing.
You can read more ideas for How-to Writing here, but when you’re reviewing the genre at the end of the year, these little kits are the perfect activity for centers.
If you don’t have time/ resources/ or desire to make them, though, I also have these How-to writing pages. Kids cut out and use the pieces to act out the steps before writing. These are also a lot of fun and a great way to review this genre.
To review informative writing, I love to do a unit on ocean animals at the end of the year. Kids love learning about them and we can cover science skills as well. Since diagrams are an important text feature, here is an engaging activity to have at an end of year writing center.
RESEARCH: Place books at a center, have them go on a website like Pebble Go, Brainpop Jr. or Epic books to learn about an ocean animal. Then, have them draw and label a diagram, and write about the animal. You can just give them blank paper or you can use the pages from my Ocean Animals Draw, Label & Write pack.
It’s fun to teach students text features like “zoom-in” or “closeup” circles to show a detail. I love Jerry Palotta’s Who Would Win? series for modeling text features.
My Draw & Label Ocean Animals pack has differentiated pages for 9 ocean animals, plus a cover to make a book after learning about a few!
Here are some ideas for reviewing personal narratives, as well as fiction narratives.
We usually cover personal narrative early in the year so the end of the year is a great time to revisit this genre. And, you can review personal narrative writing with something you probably do already. . . MEMORY BOOKS!
I use my Yearlong Scrapbook, which has themed pages for activities we do throughout the year. I just print a class picture and students glue it into their book and write.
This takes modeling early in the year so if you haven’t done this all year, I suggest doing whole-group before placing at a writing center. We think about the event and tell about it first, then students write their personal narratives.
TIP: Write some key words on the board for spelling reference.
I like to use pictures of events we had throughout the year, but you can also have students draw their own pictures. Some of my Memory Book pages are also great for writing about a small moment in the classroom. (The memory book is included in the yearlong scrapbook).
Read more tips for a Personal Narrative Writing Unit here.
And if you own my Kindergarten Writing Unit 3: Personal Narrative Writing, it’s also full of activities you can use for centers!
Narrative: Realistic or Fantasy Fiction
Whether your kids are writing sentences, or full-fledged stories, they LOVE to make stuff up! So fiction narrative writing should definitely be on your end of year writing activities list!
As a class, you can brainstorm story elements, like characters, settings, problems, and solutions. Write these on a chart and have your students select one from each category to write a sentence or short story.
Or if you prefer, you can use my already-made cards at your writing center. I have THREE activities that are great for this.
#1. These Build-a-Sentence cards are perfect to build a sentence. . .
I have them for ocean animals and also for year-round themes here.
#2. POCKET DICE CARDS
Add dice to anything and it magically doubles engagement!
In this center, kids roll for a main character, setting, and problem. Then, they write a story with their own solution. These are part of my Pocket Dice Cards bundle, in the Writing Dice Cards pack.
#3. Wordless Books! You can grab some from your local library and have students write the story for the pictures. I also have a Wordless Book recommended list in my Amazon storefront.
My wordless books are also great for writing centers and I have How-to books, and Simple Story books. Since the pictures are already in the books, students just add details and write the words.
I’m sure you know by now that kids love to share their opinions! Review the opinion genre with these fun activities:
Would You Rather?
Have kids stand in the middle of the room. Ask a question with 2 options (ex: Would you rather have an ice cream sundae or ice pop?) Designate a room spot for each choice, for example Ice Cream Sundae to the left and Ice Pops to the right.
Write the sentence frame on the board: I prefer ________ because ________.
Have students share orally. *BONUS CHALLENGE: If you have about an equal number of kids on both sides, have them pair up with an opposing opinion and debate it out!
Of course, this post is about writing activities, so you can have kids write their opinion after, and add a few reasons to support it.
Tie opinion writing to literature by having your students write a book review! You can give them a template or sentence starter if you like. We loved putting our book reviews inside the books and kept them in our class library.
We also made these reading projects with their favorite books. They wrote a summary about their book and “where the book took them”.
As you review each genre, make a class chart of characteristics for it. This will help to reinforce the genres and remind kids what to include when writing.
Reteach editing and revising! After students have completed at least one of each writing piece, take a day to reread and edit, add adjectives, reword, etc.
I hope these ideas provide inspiration for end-of-year writing activities. Implementing these enjoyable mini-units can help maintain high levels of student engagement and motivation during the final weeks of the year!
If you enjoy these concepts, kindly save and share this article! Tell me in the comments which idea you prefer the most!
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