That age-old writing topic: “What I did this summer”

Summer travel

It’s nice to get away from the daily routine of the classroom, especially if that get away involves a trip. Going to new places or perhaps revisiting old ones gives a person a fresh perspective on life. A trip, no matter how far or near from home, provides a teacher with material for any course content. Meeting new people or getting together with family members during that time off is an excellent source for conversation on the first day of class.

That first day of class when students are still in sleep mode, teachers have a difficult task in getting them to stay awake while they review what they expect from them for the new school year. Writing about what they did during those two months? That’s even tougher!

Okay, so you’re not ready to impart your wisdom that day either. But you have got to get those brain cells working again. So we’ll stick to tradition but with a twist.

Rather than using the worn-out “what I did last summer” as a topic, why not use one of the following as a conversation starter?

  1. Traveling with small children: Do’s and Don’ts

  2. What happened to airplane food?

  3. What to do when you’ve outstayed your welcome at grandma’s place

  4. A road trip gone wrong

  5. Summer school –or what not to do next summer!

  6. The perils of theme parks

  7. Pets should travel, too!

To make things a bit more interesting, have students pair up and then retell the partner’s story. If they have their cell phones or tablets with pictures, why not share those, too?

No matter what the topic, you can be sure that students will come up with some unusual experiences that they’ll want to share in writing or conversationally. It’s just a matter of getting them started. Once they do, it makes for entertaining reading and listening!

I’ll be sharing my experiences, also. My trip to the lovely state of Georgia was both fun and insightful. Students must see their teachers as people! Check out some shots I took at

I want my students to know that growth, both physical and intellectual, occurs  all year round! No matter if at home or abroad, on vacation or at work, learning is a lifetime affair!


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