Our students are getting anxious, and they can tell the end of the school year is near. We decided that it was time to have some organized and academic fun. As soon as state testing ended, we packed our bags and took these kiddos to Hawaii.
We began by reading Junie B., First Grader: Aloha-ha-ha! In this story, Junie B. is taking a trip to Hawaii with her parents. When she leaves for her trip, her teacher gives her a photo journal and assigns her some homework. The first couple of chapters in this book are an excellent way to kick off the unit.
Prior to boarding the plane, students were given a suitcase template and asked to draw and label pictures of the items they would pack if they were going to Hawaii. While some students packed their bags, others visited the Room 13 Travel Agency to purchase their plane tickets with Aloha Airlines.
To board the flight, students were taken to our multipurpose room, where rows of chairs were set up in front of a large video screen. During the flight, the lovely flight attendants served drinks and pretzels from a rolling cart while students watched a video about Hawaii that we found on the Hawaii Tourism Authority site.
We contacted the Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau and asked for pamphlets, flyers, or any other information that they could send us. These came in very handy when the children were recording facts about the islands.
Each student was given a travel journal, which they used to record information about each of the islands, the state’s wildlife, and plant life. Each day we visited a different island, where we would learn a few facts about the island and then peek at things you can do for fun on the island.
Each student made their own beautiful lei with straws and paper flowers. The students wore their leis throughout the week. This was a fun, easy activity even our 1st graders could handle.
Through various resources, we were able to gather information on the state quarter, flower, flag, and bird. We put together a packet with worksheets about each of these. Toward the end of the trip, students made a travel brochure. In this brochure they used the information they had learned about the state to encourage others to want to visit there.
At the end of our Hawaii studies, students were invited to our class luau. They wore Hawaiian attire, sunglasses, and leis as they gathered on their beach towels to enjoy the festivities.
A few parents helped us to run games at the luau. We could not have done this without the help of our parents.
Our travels to Hawaii were an excellent way for us to keep the kids motivated and focused during these last few days of the school year. What are some creative ways that you have managed to do the same?