It is the end of the unit. We wrapped yesterday and had a celebration! During our 100 minute class periods we played the finished games of the students and I ran a slideshow of all the pictures I'd taken throughout the unit.
During lunch, my husband went and picked up some Hot n' Ready pizzas and the students brought in chips and drinks and we had a lunchtime party. We ran a slideshow of all of our pictures from the unit on the board. Students showed off some of their games.
I was also able to share feedback that had been left for them on BoardGameGeek. (PLEASE give thumbs and leave feedback. You have no idea how excited the kids are to see what people think about their games.)
Celebrating with the students is something that Lucy Calkins really promotes. The more you encourage and praise their successes, the more success they want to achieve. After each unit this year we always took time to celebrate the amazing job they did becoming writings. Our focus this year had been to build their writing stamina so that they could actually write without getting bogged down in the idea of "I've written 5 sentences. . . can't I be done?"
Plus, as we've told the kids, they just created something amazing, that is also very difficult for even adults to do.
I also had the students sign a "thank you" for my husband for coming and helping them. I laminated them and gave them to him in front of each class. The kids really appreciated him coming in and working with them. At this time of year it's sometimes good to get other people in the classroom to help, because the kids are sick of listening to you. Sad, but true. They're kids afterall. I always feel it's important, though, for them to always write or sign a thank you when we have people in the classroom. This year's class was clearly, truly thankful for his help. It did my heart proud.