End-of-School-Year Activity: Creating a Summer Bucket List

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As eager as your students are for the school year to end, it won’t be long until they are actually bored during their summer break.  Yes, I said “bored.”  Help your students stay focused and creative while they gear-up for that day with this fun and creative classroom activity.

In this blog, I will share an activity that will teach students a valuable lesson as they create their own Summer Bucket List.  The catch is that they will create it while working in small groups.  As always, you can do as much or as little as you like with this idea.  Here’s how to get started.


Lesson and Class Discussion:

First, start the lesson with the whole class by following these steps:

  1. Read aloud and discuss this story, Seven Captive Princesses

  2. Review the definition of the word boredom.  Merriam-Webster defines it as the state of being weary and restless through lack of interest.

  3. Discuss how boredom doesn’t have to be a negative or bad thing in their life.  The state of boredom can be an opportunity to tap into their creativity.  Allow students to share their personal experiences with boredom and their solution for it with the class.

  4.  Ask students if they’ve ever been bored during a vacation.  Ask them to describe what they will do when they get bored over their summer break.  Allow a few students to share their ideas. (Make popsicles, make a DIY costume, plant something, make a movie, etc.)


Group Work: Brainstorming

Next, divide your students into small groups (3-4 students per group).

  1. Allow 10-15 minutes for each group to brainstorm a list of activities they could do when they get bored during the upcoming summer vacation.                  

  2. Instruct them to write their list on a numbered sheet of paper. 

  3. When complete, have each group place their list in the middle of the table where they worked. 

  4. Give groups time to rotate around to each groups’ table. (3-5 minutes per table)

  5. Each group will review and discuss the other group’s ideas amongst themselves.


Then, when the rotations are complete, have students go back to their individual desks.  Explain the meaning of a “Summer Bucket List.”  In this case, you can describe it as a list of things or activities that someone has never done before but would like to do before the summer ends. 


Individual Work: Create a Summer Bucket List

  1. Pass out the “Summer Bucket List” worksheet.  (See Example.)

  2. Ask students to complete their list individually. Add some fun beach music in the background, or enjoy a popsicle treat if you’d like.

  3.  Have students staple their lists on a pre-made and ready to decorate bulletin board. (Be sure students take home their lists on the last day of school.) 


Again, go as big or small as you’d like to create the bulletin board.  It’s up to you! With their Summer Bucket List ready to go, your students will hopefully have a creative summer break!

Oh, and don’t forget about YOU!…what’s on your Summer Bucket List?

Writing Conventions: What is the new norm?

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I saw this sign one day at a place I frequently visit. (See image below.) I strive to use Standard English for published pieces, and I cringe just a little when I see improper English getting published this way. Maybe I am being too critical, but it is hard to ignore how informal, and just plain incorrect language, has wiggled its way into the formal arena.

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It’s about audience. Writers need to consider not only the purpose for writing, but also the audience that will be reading the publication. If there is an intended audience, it should be more formal. I don’t mean to pick on the content; rather, I think we could all use some pointers about audience and formal vs. informal language.

For example, in the sign, the content needs to be handled with formality without sounding stuffy. We can improve tone with this simple fix:  replace the phrase “insure you” with a simpler phrase “be sure to.” That makes the message clearer and sounds less stuffy.

Next, pay attention to homophone pairs, such as your and you’re. Homophones sound exactly the same but have different spellings and meanings. We fuse the words you and are together to make the contraction you’re. We use the apostrophe to show where certain letters from both words have been left out. The word your belongs in this sign, not you’re. People often misuse these words because they sound the same. But if you see an apostrophe, the word is either possessive or it is a contraction. If the word is a contraction, think of the two words used to make it and say them aloud. That will help you hear the difference. In this case, we must use the word your.

There are a few other issues we could address from this example, but to be clear…if a message is important enough to share with others, it is important enough to publish it correctly and to gear it to the right audience.

Now, please don’t misunderstand. There’s plenty of room for informal English in our communication. For instance, informal English will work well enough in personal texts to friends and family. But, stick with Formal English to attract attention to any important message you want to share with an audience.

Classroom Extension:

Informal English is used rampantly nowadays to communicate throughout our society. Why not take a moment and discuss this growing issue with your class? Have your students take pictures of several signs. Encourage your students to find examples that show correct conventions, informal conventions, and incorrect/absent conventions. Then, allow your students to present their examples to the class. Next, host a candid discussion about conventions. Here are a few questions to help get the conversation started:

· What do you think about the unedited format of our informal culture?

· Do you believe the use of the conventions of English, which include: capitalization, punctuation, spelling, correct usage, and grammar, are critical to readability in written communication?

· Where do you think this trend will lead in ten or twenty years?

Comment /Source

Cindy Goeden

Cindy Goeden has enjoyed being involved with Shurley English for the last sixteen of her twenty-six years in the field of education.  Working with various levels of students in elementary, junior, and high schools, in both the private and public arenas, Cindy surely is thankful for the providential day that she was introduced to Shurley English, which changed forever her approach to Language Arts instruction. That has led to her current job of having the joy of sharing about Shurley with other educators.  Her love of learning has prodded her to earn over two hundred and twenty hours, which includes two bachelor degrees in education.


Cindy currently lives with her husband, Donald, in Indianapolis, Indiana, where she enjoys puttering in her flowers, changing up her décor with the seasons, and occasionally getting out and traveling with Donald to either explore a new beach or view historic sights and gardens.