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May 28, 2018

Cruising Around the World: An End-of-Year Activity

By Juan Gonzalez
Grades 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

    Ahoy, teachers! For the last six years in my classroom, I have ended the school year with an adventure my colleagues and I call, The Discovery Cruise! The classroom becomes a boat and we spend the final days of school visiting different countries to learn about their history and culture.

    The cruise has looked different every year in my classroom because of scheduling. Some years I cruised for the entire last week of school, this year I was only able to cruise for three days. The adjustment is mainly based on how many countries I can include. In this post, I want to share the fundamentals needed to get your cruise going and the various activities I have used in each country. Hopefully, my class will see you out at sea one day.

    Why create an end-of-year cruise?

    The end of the school year is challenging! This is why I shake up our routine in the classroom with the cruise. The new routine refreshes our classroom and keeps structure in place. The best part is that we spend the final days of school learning about our world and making memories that will last a lifetime.

    Step 1: Send Home Information About the Cruise

    Students bring in bags/luggage from home to cruise the open sea.

    I enjoy sending the cruise letter home just as much as the classroom experience. The information goes out to families a week before our first day "onboard." This gives students enough time to review the letter and itinerary with their parents.

    Click on the image above to download a copy of the editable letter.

    Step 2: Prepare for Travel  

    A day before our first time at sea, the students are asked to complete a paper passport application. I use the official United States document and guide them through completing the main portion of the application. Once it’s turned in, I review their work and approve their applications. Upon approval, the students are given a "passport kit" (I created using clip art from Scholastic Teachables) to put together as their own travel documents.

    Click on the image above to download student passports.

    I talk to the students about the importance of keeping up with the document and what could possibly happen if it’s misplaced. This is a great opportunity to teach my students real life lessons and the reality of international travel.

    Students in line and ready to enter France!  

     

    When we arrive at each country, the students repack their bags, grab their passport, and wait in a line outside of the classroom. I then greet each student into the classroom with a passport stamp. As they arrive at their destination, the students go to their desks and prepare to learn about the new country.

    Step 3: Create Experiences

    When putting together lessons, I make sure each country has the following:

    • a read-aloud
    • reading time
    • an art project (souvenir)
    • a virtual tour
    • share time

    This is the basic outline I use to create each experience during our travels. Rather than simply sharing my lesson plans, I've listed possible countries to visit, along with read-aloud suggestions, and activities. This will allow you to create something that best fits your classroom and give you the freedom to add your own creative spin.

    Teacher Tips: 

    Use Scholastic Teachables!

    Pick a country and type it into the search bar on Scholastic Teachables. You’ll quickly find informational readings, maps, and other activities to support your teaching for the cruise. Download this fill-in poster called Cool Country Report, which allows students to create their own travel brochures.

    Use YouTube for Virtual Tours and More!

    YouTube is an amazing resource for creating sounds, cruise scenes, and for virtual tours. There are many kid-friendly videos that will take students on a tour of tourist hot spots.

    Mexico

    While in Mexico we visited San Pablito and learned about the process of making amate paper through a YouTube video. We then explored amate paintings and made our own creations.

    Read-Alouds

    France

    We arrived in Paris, France and traveled straight to the Eiffel Tower. We went on a virtual tour, read in a café, and constructed the Eiffel Tower using toothpicks and glue.

    I display various images on the whiteboard for the students to snap photo of themselves and friends.

    Read-Alouds

    Italy

    Activity Ideas

    • Pizza-making classes
    • Learn about grape stomping and stomp water balloons
    • Paint like Michelangelo and create an art piece by taping paper to the bottom of a desk. Have the students use markers to draw while on their back.

    Read-Alouds

    U.S. — Hawaii

    On the last day of the cruise, we return to the U.S. and dock in Hawaii where we celebrate our final day together with games, food, and reflecting on the year we had together. This is also the day that the students take home their luggage and souvenirs (art projects).

    Activities

    • Paint a sunset
    • Read on the beach
    • Learn how to hula
    • Virtually explore volcanoes  

    Read-Alouds to Close the School Year

    Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I hope that it has inspired some new ideas on how to close out your school year with a bon voyage. Happy cruising!

    Stay connected with me on Instagram!

    Ahoy, teachers! For the last six years in my classroom, I have ended the school year with an adventure my colleagues and I call, The Discovery Cruise! The classroom becomes a boat and we spend the final days of school visiting different countries to learn about their history and culture.

    The cruise has looked different every year in my classroom because of scheduling. Some years I cruised for the entire last week of school, this year I was only able to cruise for three days. The adjustment is mainly based on how many countries I can include. In this post, I want to share the fundamentals needed to get your cruise going and the various activities I have used in each country. Hopefully, my class will see you out at sea one day.

    Why create an end-of-year cruise?

    The end of the school year is challenging! This is why I shake up our routine in the classroom with the cruise. The new routine refreshes our classroom and keeps structure in place. The best part is that we spend the final days of school learning about our world and making memories that will last a lifetime.

    Step 1: Send Home Information About the Cruise

    Students bring in bags/luggage from home to cruise the open sea.

    I enjoy sending the cruise letter home just as much as the classroom experience. The information goes out to families a week before our first day "onboard." This gives students enough time to review the letter and itinerary with their parents.

    Click on the image above to download a copy of the editable letter.

    Step 2: Prepare for Travel  

    A day before our first time at sea, the students are asked to complete a paper passport application. I use the official United States document and guide them through completing the main portion of the application. Once it’s turned in, I review their work and approve their applications. Upon approval, the students are given a "passport kit" (I created using clip art from Scholastic Teachables) to put together as their own travel documents.

    Click on the image above to download student passports.

    I talk to the students about the importance of keeping up with the document and what could possibly happen if it’s misplaced. This is a great opportunity to teach my students real life lessons and the reality of international travel.

    Students in line and ready to enter France!  

     

    When we arrive at each country, the students repack their bags, grab their passport, and wait in a line outside of the classroom. I then greet each student into the classroom with a passport stamp. As they arrive at their destination, the students go to their desks and prepare to learn about the new country.

    Step 3: Create Experiences

    When putting together lessons, I make sure each country has the following:

    • a read-aloud
    • reading time
    • an art project (souvenir)
    • a virtual tour
    • share time

    This is the basic outline I use to create each experience during our travels. Rather than simply sharing my lesson plans, I've listed possible countries to visit, along with read-aloud suggestions, and activities. This will allow you to create something that best fits your classroom and give you the freedom to add your own creative spin.

    Teacher Tips: 

    Use Scholastic Teachables!

    Pick a country and type it into the search bar on Scholastic Teachables. You’ll quickly find informational readings, maps, and other activities to support your teaching for the cruise. Download this fill-in poster called Cool Country Report, which allows students to create their own travel brochures.

    Use YouTube for Virtual Tours and More!

    YouTube is an amazing resource for creating sounds, cruise scenes, and for virtual tours. There are many kid-friendly videos that will take students on a tour of tourist hot spots.

    Mexico

    While in Mexico we visited San Pablito and learned about the process of making amate paper through a YouTube video. We then explored amate paintings and made our own creations.

    Read-Alouds

    France

    We arrived in Paris, France and traveled straight to the Eiffel Tower. We went on a virtual tour, read in a café, and constructed the Eiffel Tower using toothpicks and glue.

    I display various images on the whiteboard for the students to snap photo of themselves and friends.

    Read-Alouds

    Italy

    Activity Ideas

    • Pizza-making classes
    • Learn about grape stomping and stomp water balloons
    • Paint like Michelangelo and create an art piece by taping paper to the bottom of a desk. Have the students use markers to draw while on their back.

    Read-Alouds

    U.S. — Hawaii

    On the last day of the cruise, we return to the U.S. and dock in Hawaii where we celebrate our final day together with games, food, and reflecting on the year we had together. This is also the day that the students take home their luggage and souvenirs (art projects).

    Activities

    • Paint a sunset
    • Read on the beach
    • Learn how to hula
    • Virtually explore volcanoes  

    Read-Alouds to Close the School Year

    Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I hope that it has inspired some new ideas on how to close out your school year with a bon voyage. Happy cruising!

    Stay connected with me on Instagram!

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Susan Cheyney

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