My favorite End of the Year Writing Activity

Try this SWEET writing assignment.


Memorial Day and student brains (No that is NOT an oxymoron…) will soon switch to SUMMER if they haven’t already. (Don’t you love the fan mail I just got from Greenhills Elementary? But I digress..)

The end of school is SO CLOSE they can almost taste it–which is why I love this FUN How To assignment–adaptable for grades 2-12–that even your unmotivated writers will try!

“But I can’t have fun with only ____(fill in the blank) more weeks to cover the (evil laughter muoo-ah-ha-ha) Standards,” you lament.

Fear not! This activity covers Sequence of events, Clarity/word choice, main idea/details, public speaking/narration, FOOD, and if you plan it right, you won’t have papers to correct! So what are you waiting for?

Day 1: Supplies needed:

  1. Bring in 2-3 boxes of easy-to-prepare food from your pantry shelves. Something with a recipe or directions on the back. (Note–You’re not gonna make it. You just have to read the directions aloud.) Ex: Cake mixes, Cereal, or Mac cheese.
  2. 1 bag of individually wrapped bubble gum.
  3. 1 bubble mix with bubble wand

Day 1 Lesson: HOW TO  intro: Have students read directions on box(es) aloud.

HOW TO  model (in pairs or small groups): Have students write simple How To directions, choosing from How To Tie Your Shoe (no Velcro smarties or sandals allowed.) or How To Blow A Bubble.

Collect and ask for a volunteer to demo one of the HOW TOs. Volunteer selects a HOW TO at random and its author must read it aloud as volunteer attempts to follow the directions.

Writing Assignment (in class or homework): At the end of the HOW To models, instruct each student to now write HOW TO directions, choosing How To MaKe an Ice Cream Sundae  OR How to Make a P,B,& J sandwich. (Unless of course you have peanut allergies in class!)

YES, they will ask if they get to eat them. YES, you will answer, THOSE WHO COMPLETE THE ASSIGNMENT WILL GET TO EAT THE END RESULT. ; ) 

Day 2: (Suggest doing this next part outside or in the cafeteria.) I guarantee your students will complete this assignment and the results are always fun. Bring in whatever supplies (within reason–and budget. Ha–did I just say the B word? Like we have one? But this isn’t the first time you’ve paid for supplies out of your own pocket, is it?)

The catch? Pick volunteer and select a random HOW TO as before. HOWEVER, if the author does not specify, “Open jar of Peanut butter/carton of ice cream” then the volunteer must proceed without opening the jar/carton. Follow the directions only.

Volunteer and Author get to share the end results–if they want! Send me photos if you have them!

RE Correcting Papers: If you really feel the need to give them a grade–Authors get 10 points each for (10) completing assignment, (10) reading it aloud, and (10) if end result is edible. Add ’em up and you’re done!


7 Responses to “My favorite End of the Year Writing Activity”

  1. Trudy Norton

    We love to do this every year. It is so much fun. Of course we take pictures with the paper and product for display at our end of the year program.

  2. Erin

    Thank you so much Karen! Wow–I need an editor for my posts! As a teacher, incorrect spelling bugs me too, so I’m very thankful you pointed it out!


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