We are on the last stretch now teachers! We are almost at the finish line! Yes! The end of the school year is so near you can almost reach it! This is also the best time for some meaningful activities such as a good end of year read aloud. We’ve worked so hard for the entire school year, it’s only right to end the year strong.
I’ve always taught upper elementary and I love reading picture books aloud to the kiddos. A lot of upper elementary teachers or new teachers that are jumping on the upper elementary bandwagon tend to shy away from picture books.
I guarantee you that upper elementary students love picture books as much as the little ones! Even the kids who would sign when you announce it’s read aloud time. Usually, they are the closest listeners and have the most to say.
So during the last two weeks of school, I typically schedule in 5 read alouds with activities to end the school year. In this blog post, I will be sharing the last book in my read aloud schedule and why I save this for last. This book is called, “Wherever You Go” by Pat Zietlow Miller.
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What is this end of year read aloud book about?
“Wherever You Go” by Pat Zietlow Miller talks about how in our lives we will be traveling onto different roads. Some roads are easy, some are far and difficult and you might also encounter others while traveling. You might travel together, you might separate and go on different roads. However, wherever you go, you will always come back home.
This book seriously reminds me of the song “Home” from Michael Buble! If you don’t know the song, please youtube and listen to it. It’s so beautiful!
I save this book for last because I want my students to think about the new journey, new road that they will now walk on after the school year. We have reflected on the school year, we have said our goodbyes, we understood that no matter what we are connected and now it’s time to look forward into the near future.
This book reassures the kiddos that even though things will change and that might not be easy, no matter what they will always have the road to take them home. It reminds them that they do have a safety net to fall on and there’s nothing to be scared about. It’s such a sweet book that I do think everyone should read to their students at the end of the school year.
Now, let me share with you what activity I did with the students and how I conduct the read aloud in my classroom.
Wherever You Go Read Aloud Lesson Plan for End of Year:
To feel safe and ready for the journey to the near future! (to the new grade level)
Use Turn and Talk strategy to get students curious and start thinking about the read aloud book. Turn and Talk is such a great strategy that allows all students to express their opinions. I usually ask 3 students to share after every Turn and Talk and sometimes I asked the kids to share what their partner said.
Questions for Turn & Talk discussion:
- The title of the book is “Wherever You Go,” what do you think the message of this book is going to be about?
I would stop pretty early on to talk about the symbolism of “roads.” This would ensure that all the students understood that “road” meant something deeper than just the roads cars would travel on. I also stopped after the section of “roads…bend” and “roads….merge.” I felt that these are the two important points that I wanted students to really think about. Remember that you are not limited to stopping at just these two points. You know your students best and what you want them to think about. The symbolism of the word “road” can also be a little challenging for the little ones to understand as well so be sure to spend time discussing that before the post reading activity.
Questions for Turn & Talk discussion:
- What do you think “roads” symbolize?
- Have you ever had to take a “detour” in your journey?
- Have you ever had your road merged with someone else?
After this end of year read aloud, we did another Turn and Talk. I wanted students to make a connection with their experience in the classroom and also think about the new journey they are about to take. Sometimes when I feel the students have a difficult time coming up with ideas, I model by sharing my thoughts. I only do this when they have trouble understanding the question or feel nervous about being wrong because I do not want to imprint my own thoughts onto theirs. I told the students about how excited I was for Thailand (my home country) to open its door after being closed due to the pandemic. I was looking forward to taking a journey (road) home after not being able to visit for 2 years.
Questions for Turn & Talk/Class discussion:
- How does the message from the book connect to our experience in the classroom?
- What new road are you looking forward to taking?
End Of Year Read Aloud Activity: My New Journey Pointillism
After our last question from the class discussion:
What new road are you looking forward to taking?
I asked the students to express their answer through drawing out their new journey. To change things up a bit, we did it in Pointillism style, where the artwork was created using little dots!
The task was to…
“Use Pointillism to create an artwork showing yourself stepping onto a road to a new journey.”
I did not force or limit students to only focus on the road to the next grade level. Some students drew themselves taking the road to 5th grade, some drew themselves standing and waiting for the road to the summer, while some actually drew themselves crossing the road to a new house. This allowed the students to truly express themselves and what was on their mind.
Some considered the next grade level to be a new journey to take one while some students were taking on other journeys in their personal lives. I had a student who drew himself crossing the road to a basketball court because he was excited to join a new basketball team.
I love this end of year read aloud and the activity. They are perfect to end the school year. It just feels like they have completed a journey and now it’s on to the next. Feeling safe and excited for the new road ahead are only for students but for teachers as well.
We are ending the year, resetting and then starting a new one.
Whatever road you will take next year, whether it’s coming back to teach the same grade level, moving grade level, moving school, moving to a new role or other, I wish you the very best of luck. Remember that whatever road you will take, you can always come back home.
Need to save this for later?
Pin this Blog Post or Wherever You Go Read Aloud Lesson Plan for later use!
Need more last week of school ideas? Check out my other end of year read alouds below:
End of Year Read Aloud: Book #1 – I Wish You More
End of Year Read Aloud: Book #2 – Say Something
End of Year Read Aloud: Book #3 – In A Jar
End of Year Read Aloud: Book #4 – The Invisible Web
I hope that this post has been helpful to you, gave you some ideas that you could implement or inspired you to try reading aloud in your classroom.
Are you thinking about adding “Wherever You Go” to your end of year read aloud list? Or do you have your own MUST read for the end of the school year?
Wherever You Go Read Aloud Lesson Plan:
Do you like the format of the quick read aloud lesson plan? Pin it or comment to let me know!
Wait! Don’t forget about your student gifts! I love giving meaningful student gifts at the end of the year. I just love gift giving, maybe because it’s also my love language. What are some gifts that you like to give your students at the end of the school year?
Need End Of Year Gift Ideas for Students? Check out these posts below:
DIY End-Of-Year Scratch-Off Cards and DIY Student Word Art Self-Portrait.
Thank you for reading!
Comment or connect with me through Instagram! I would love to see your end of year read aloud list or if you do decide to implement the activity from this blog post.
Prima from LittleYellowStar
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