Engaging kids in meaningful writing activities that expand their vocabulary can be a bit of a challenge during the summer months, but this Fourth of July Writing Activity does just that!
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To prep this writing activity, I printed out the vocabulary cards and enough copies of the writing papers for all of my first grade students. Then, I laminated and cut apart the vocabulary cards so they would be more durable and something my kids could take to their work spaces as needed!
I’ve seen teachers hole-punch the corners of their vocabulary cards and put them on a ring, but I opted to just tape them up onto our classroom whiteboard for all to see!
To maximize this activity to the fullest, I invited my students to the carpet and read them the book The Night Before the 4th of July. The book introduced many of the vocabulary words from the cards I had printed out, and it provided a great starting place for the class to talk about everyone’s family traditions.
After making connections to the book, I told my students that we would be writing about what we did on the Fourth of July last year or what we hoped to do this year! I put the vocabulary cards underneath our classroom document camera, and one by one, we read the words and defined them. My students who needed a chance to move, helped me tape them on the board!
Next, I modeled how to write about my Fourth of July experiences. Even though I was writing underneath our document camera so my students could see me putting in “finger spaces” and thinking out loud, I had my paper on a clipboard. I made a big deal saying things like, “hmm… I don’t know how to spell ‘fireworks’… maybe I should leave that out and say ‘I had fun’ instead…” My kiddos yelled out, “It’s on the BOARD!!!” repeatedly so I skipped over to the words and acted silly to really reinforce the idea that we should be including these higher level vocabulary words in our writing!
I repeated this process a few times (or at least until my first graders stopped finding it so funny) and then I sent my kiddos off on their own to write about their family traditions!
All of my students got to work writing about the yummy foods they eat, the family members they get to see, and the fun traditions they participate in on the Fourth of July!
As everyone finished, I prompted them to pair up with a friend and read their work to them to make sure everything sounded right. Then, we came back to the carpet for a little bit of share time!
Lastly, we hung our work up in the hallway with a patriotic banner above it and celebrated as a class with some watermelon outside for snack time!
Although it wasn’t needed for my class, I did make it a point to include a non-holiday version of the writing paper for anyone who may not celebrate the Fourth!
Grab Your Copy
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