Let’s spice up the traditional opening activity “Describe Your Summer Vacation!”
Ask your students to write about their summer breaks, but remix their activities into a new genre or setting. This changes dull reciting of facts into a creative writing assignment based on real events. Review and introduce new genres to your students. Encourage off-the-wall settings and use of existing worlds (perhaps they vacationed at Hogwarts, Mordor, or Tatooine).
Marvel as you read about:
- vacations to space stations
- homebound students staying in the family castle
- buying and raising a new pet minotaur
Write A Summer Song
This year my students rewrote the lyrics to The Beatles’ song Help (here’s another Beatles related assignment). This served to introduce them to a classic piece of music, an important musical group (yes, some were unfamiliar with the Fab Four!), and allowed me to introduce figurative language in an immediately meaningful way.
- Food! (these students even created a band called The Eatles)
As an extension for early finishers, I brought out a pile of empty CD jewel cases and students designed album covers for their hit single.
These tasks are enjoyable for students as well as for me, serve as some nice browsing items at Back To School Night, and give me a peak into my kids’ personalities. Sometimes the classic assignments have a lot of life left in them if we do a slight tweak.
Photo by mdanys (with a couple modifications!)