Sunday, July 19, 2015

Superhero Activities and Centers

This summer was the first time I have taught ESY in forever.  I knew in January when I decided to teach, that I had to make it fun and engaging for all of us. Historically, the attendance rate has been really low, and I knew my kiddos needed to be there daily. So I decided to go with a Superhero themed classroom and lessons. What do you know, my kids were there pretty much every single day. It's amazing how you can make something exciting and fun and they don't even realize they are learning in the process.

So I started to research and plan for my superheroes in training. Seriously, what did we all do before Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers? I couldn't find enough superhero themed centers to last throughout four and half weeks, so I decided to design my own unit. It ended up being a MEGA unit by the time I was done with summer school. I just kept adding to it as a new need came up.

Here are a few highlights from our superhero themed summer school:

We really focused on Language Arts since that is where the majority of my students struggle. The first day of summer school we talked about our classroom expectations. Of course, summer school is not the same as the regular school year, but it was important to be clear about my expectations for them. We also thought about what areas we needed to improve on and made personal goals and superheroes to go with them. I really felt like my students were more accountable for their work when they really focused on accomplishing their goal.

I was fortunate to have my same students that I have during the school year, with the two kinder kiddos added in. We made some getting to know you capes to practice answering questions and writing. I hung these on the backs of their chairs after they decorated and colored their capes. They turned out super cute!

We read two different picture books during summer school. First was Dex, the Heart of  Hero. Oh my goodness! If you have not read this one, go get it! It is very cute! It's about this little wiener dog who dreams of becoming a super hero. He trains and works hard. Then at the end of the book he saves the neighborhood tom cat and truly does become a hero. It was adorable! I found quite a few resources on TpT for this unit. We worked on spelling, vocabulary and writing related to the book. But this little writing craftivity was my favorite. So cute!

The other book we read was written by a 15 year old girl called, How to Be a Super Villain. We talked about the difference between a superhero and a villain.  The boys got a kick about our villains. They were very into it!  After creating our anchor charts, the kids did a comparison activity using flaps, where they wrote or drew about the difference between superheroes and villains. I had Kinder to 6th grade this summer, so I had to differentiate big time. They are all working from the kinder to early forth grade level in reading and writing.

The bulk of our day was spent doing centers. I made a fun superhero power point with the centers that literally exploded when it was time to rotate. The kids loved it and I did as well. It helped us stay on track and kept the time for us. I am thinking about making one for our Fairview Learning time to use during the regular school year.

During the week the students rotated through several different centers. They read with me, sight words (for the younger kids), word work, sentence building, grammar, writing, ASL, iPad, and computers. Within each of the centers I had to differentiate for their levels. That's why I ended up with such a huge centers unit.

It was so nice to have all of my centers created and ready to go for each week. It meant I was able to walk out the door each day feeling like I could focus on spending time with my own children at home. Such a concept, right?

The students were encouraged to come to summer school each day. At the end of the week, if they completed at least six of the centers they got a little treat on Friday afternoon. That was a big deal to them. Whatever works, right?

But naturally, the iPad center was their favorite. Before summer school I explored quite a few apps and made some tutorials on how to make comic strips to go along with our superhero theme. The kids took pictures on the iPad of them in superhero poses, then they completed the tutorial. They added a cape and mask as well as fun words like Pow! Zap! etc. They really enjoyed this for sure! I need to make more tutorials using new apps for the regular school year. It gives the iPad center a sense of purpose and incorporates following directions all in one. 

At the end of our four and a half weeks, we had a fun superhero party on the last day of school. I bought some fabric and taught the kiddos how to sew a basic bag on the sewing machine. They used their bags to take everything home with them.

I set up a fun laser maze in our library area. They got a kick out of this for sure! It was pretty easy to create. I hung a few pieces of really long red yarn from the ceiling and then strung it back and forth at different levels. We watched Megaminds, made superhero masks, colored star picture frames that had a picture of the class, cleaned up the classroom, and then said goodbye until August.

I was pleasantly surprised with how easy and quick summer school actually was. I might just have to do it again next summer!

Check out my Superheroes Mega Center and Activities Unit. It is jammed packed with centers for Kinder to 2nd grade and a ton of activities for your own little superheroes in your classroom!


  1. I would go to ESY just to hang out in your super hero room! Love all the ideas you came up with!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  2. Love it! Looks like you and your kiddos had lots of fun! Now rest up before the full school year starts :)
    X is for Apple

  3. I can not find that Dex activity. Where did you find that one? OR can you post a link?

    1. Hi there, the Dex the dog craftivity and writing came from here:

      The other Dex unit I used with the superhero faces and writing came from here:

      Hope that helps. -)