I like to use engaging, small group activities toward the end of the year as opposed to individual work. Let's face it - the students have ants in their pants and engaging socially in a worthwhile activity can settle things down. Here's an activity that I can't take credit for creating, but have been using for a few years. I've found it several places on the internet, and I can't nail down the original creator, so if you know who it is (or if it's you!) please let me know so I can give credit. It's become a favorite, and I look forward to it every year.
The exercise is meant to help students understand that although we may all read the same text, we all react differently, based on our experience, culture, perceptions, emotions etc...Pass out Pablo Neruda's "Ode to My Socks" (link here), divide the students into groups of three or four, and pass out paper and markers. Have the group read the poem, and then create an artistic rendition of the socks. Post each piece of art on the board and have the groups explain why they made the decisions they made and which images spoke to them. A great discussion generator!
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