Sunday, June 1, 2014

End of Year Favorite Book Activity

First, let us all take a minute to admire the creativity of this post title!  I am so lame at coming up with post titles. Most of the time I just put up the topic.  So, can you tell that this post is about an end of the year favorite book activity? :-)

As you may know, I teach in a building that was a middle school prior to being an elementary school.  This is why the hallway I teach in is lined with lockers instead of bulletin boards.  The kids use them as cubbies with no locks which is kind of nice because it keeps a lot of coat and book bag clutter out of the classroom itself.  However, it does pose a problem for displaying things.  We are constantly vertically challenged!  Whatever you put out has to fit on a locker, and you can't overlap because the kids need to be able to open them.  I've posted here and here about some different ways I've used vertical displays on the lockers.

The end of the year favorite book part was an idea I had to have our entire hallway do a common display for the end of the year and encourage summer reading.  What if each child in every class told about the most favorite book they read this year?  We would have a long hallway full of book suggestions for summer reading.  I made this big display at one end of the hallway on a bank of lockers that isn't in use.

I designed a sheet where each child could tell a bit about their favorite book and design the cover.

If you want to get lots of teachers involved in a project, make it as little work as possible for them and something they can do easily! I made a class set of copies for each classroom and a quick Power Point that teachers could use to explain the activity.   Teachers could have students do this activity in class or for homework.  I was really happy that almost everyone was on board!

The kids did a great job.  It was an activity that spanned every reading and interest level, so all could participate.

In addition to the activity sheet, I made a quick poster for each teacher to hang outside their room with some summer cut-outs I picked up at the dollar store.  Since this was just for use in our hallway, will be thrown out at the end of June, and are not for sale or anything like that, I just googled different summer reading clip art to make some simple posters. It is a long hallway, so I thought this would help keep it all more cohesive.

When done, each class hung their posters on the lockers and we had a long hallway of book recommendations.  There are 15 classes on this hallway with about 25 kids per a class.  That is a hallway of 375 book recommendations!  The last thing I did was create a quick book list sheet where teachers could take their classes on a book walk to "shop" for books they might like to read this summer based on classmates recommendations.  Give each kid a clipboard and the blank sheet and they can walk around and read the hall to create their own personalized book list.

Finally, that big sun I made for the end of the hallway?  Turned out to be a little easier than I thought.  I projected the image on my Pro Board and hung some yellow fadeless bulletin board paper to trace it on.  

The only problem was, once I traced it I couldn't figure out how to get the blue book, white teeth, and sunglasses.  I thought it would look kind of messy if I colored it in.  Then, I looked over at my science tub and saw a roll of wax paper!  Now, you may already know this trick but when I realized I could trace the shape of the book on wax paper and then use that as a template to cut it out in blue paper, I was delighted.  Once I cut out the blue paper, I just glued it on the yellow paper.  I did the same for the teeth using white paper and the sunglasses using tin foil.  I wish someone had shared this wax paper trick with me years ago!  As I've written before, I'm a teacher just not an art teacher!  

If you would like a copy of the blank book form, you can download it here. It should be printed on 8.5" by 14" paper. The font is a little different than what you see in the photos, but still the same content. Well, except that the only one I saved is the original which says, "The Best Book I Read This Year."  I did revise it to say, "The Best Book I've Read This Year." So, if the I instead of I've will bug you like it did me, don't download it! Sorry, but for some reason I didn't save the revised copy.  So, that is the not-so-cleverly-titled "End of Year Favorite Book Activity."


  1. This is such a fabulous activity and I LOVE that the whole school got involved. I just downloaded my own copy to use for next year. Thanks for sharing!! :)

    The Teaching Thief

    1. Amanda, it went over really well. The feedback I got from the teachers was great. The kids really liked doing it and many left school with a list of books they WANTED to read this summer. Today was our last day of school, and I noticed that a couple of teachers even used it for their back to school bulletin boards for September. They kept the kids papers and put them up on a new bulletin board with a sign that read something about book recommendations from last year's class. They covered them for the summer and are good to go for September. It is a great way to motivate next year's class to get excited about reading.

  2. very very nice blog, thanks for all!

  3. falling in love with your blog look.