Spring Fever Management Ideas for Upper Elementary

Spring Fever Management and Ideas for Upper Elementary

Every teacher knows that spring fever is a real thing! And it always seems to show its face as soon as the calendar flips to March, and gets stronger and stronger until the end of the school year! 

How can you cure spring fever in the upper elementary classroom? It's a simple equation to solve. Engage students with high interestest projects while also allowing them to have choice and independence. At this time of the year, kids are already excited for the next grade level. By giving them opportunities to shine with independent activities students are not only thankful but work harder to prove that they can do it...all on their own!

Wondering how to get started? I can help! Here are 5 tried and true ways to get spring fever under control and increase learning and critical thinking in your upper elementary classroom.

1. Head Outside to Learn

Grab these FREE reading, writing, and math spring activities to bring independent learning outside as the weather gets warmer.

With the arrival of spring comes the arrival of warm weather.

Nothing helps to beat spring fever than heading outside to learn. When the weather gets warmer, I invite students to bring in either a towel or a yoga mat from home so that they have something to sit on when we head outside for lessons. I also have a class set of clipboards, along with a bucket of pencils, that we bring outdoors. Not every task or activity can be completed outside, but many are perfect for outdoor learning. Remember to ask your building administrator if it is ok to head outside before you go! That way they know where you and the class are in case they need you.

Below are some ways to easily get in some outdoor time when spring rolls around.

  • Silent reading and reading review activities

  • Nature walks, seasonal observations, science activities

  • Peer editing and revising during writing time or writing tasks

  • Math practice/skill review and problem solving tasks

  • Use chalk for math practice and spelling practice

  • Anything that can be done on a clipboard with a pencil

2. Embrace the Season

If you have followed me for any time, you know that I truly believe that celebrating the seasons is a great way to engage students in authentic learning. So when spring rolls around, embrace the change of seasons and align it to the lessons you already have to teach for an easy way to increase student engagement. When you combine spring topics with longer projects, students become invested and look forward to working on the project each day or every week.


Here are some ways that I love to bring the seasons into lessons that we already have to complete:


Brainstorm with your students what topics they are currently interested in and build a project around their spring interests. This is a sure-fire way to increase student engagement in authentic learning.

3. Start a Project

national parks research project for upper elementary kids

Kids love projects! Projects are a great way to provide students with choice within a structure assignment. When kids have choice there is buy in and they take ownership in their learning. The spring is a great time to start a high interest project that lasts for days or weeks, depending on how much time you have to devote to it.

One project that I love to do with students during the spring season is a research project focused on National Parks. After we read about different parks found in our area, we branch out and read about other famous National Parks. The National Parks website is a wealth of knowledge that kids love exploring.

Once our reading and discussions are done, the students complete a research project on a National Park of their choice. They love to select a park that they have either been to and know a lot about, or that they want to visit. I especially love this project because it provides students with choice, independence, and ties together reading and writing in an authentic way.

Other research projects that are perfect for spring:

4. Kindness Challenge

spring kindness challenge for kids

With spring fever sometimes comes unwanted behavior in the classroom. 

It can sometimes be hard to manage students during the spring when they are excited about the change of season and all that lies ahead of them. During this time, there can be disagreement, arguments, and negative attitudes that sometimes surface when families are together for long periods of time. Since our class community becomes our families, it is no wonder this begins to happen.  

I love to give students an extra kindness challenge to combat this behavior. This challenge gives them a chance to show how kind they can be and helps strengthen our classroom community even during spring fever. Simply come up with a number of kind deeds that you think your students can do each day and challenge them to do it in authentic, meaningful ways. You can keep track with marbles in a jar, on the whiteboard with tally marks, or you can hold students accountable by having their own kindness form. This simple challenge truly works wonders in helping students fight spring fever and work together as a class.

Love this idea? Head to this blog post to read more ways that you can bring kindness into your classroom to fight spring fever or any time!

5. Kick-off Summer Reading

summer reading ideas for the classroom

It is never too early to start talking with students about summer reading, especially when you present it in a fun and surprising way!

I love to kick off summer reading two to three months before the school year ends, which is just about when spring fever is beginning. This summer reading kickoff is simple and a great way to get students excited about books they have not read before. All you have to do is create a schedule that includes one open 20-minute block a week. Then invite parents to come in during that 20-minute block to read the first two chapters of a children's chapter book of their choice.

Reading the first two chapters aloud makes the students hooked and always want to finish the book over the summer. It is a great way to tease a new book that they will want to finish over the summer. If you hold spring conferences, use that time to sign parents up to read during a 20-minute slot. I love using the last 20 minutes of Friday afternoon to have parents come in and read for this program. It helps us end the day and the week in a calm, reading-focused way!

Love this idea? Head to this blog post to read more to put this summer reading kickoff program into action in your classroom and fight spring fever!

6. Get Coloring!

spring coloring pages upper elementary

I love that the kids I work with love to color! We use a lot of color-by-code and Doodle Thinker activities throughout the year for brain breaks, morning work, and fast finishers! There are so many more ways to bring coloring activities into the classroom when they are connected to important skills like color by code and Doodle Thinkers! Add these activities to centers and stations, independent work folders, sub plans, or any way you want!

New to the world of Doodle Thinkers?
Your students will complete three ELA activities with intentional doodling images after coloring! Images were hand-selected to help students brainstorm ideas and build vocabulary...all to help them successfully do the word work activities and writing tasks included!

Get started with these coloring packs that kids love!

7. Whole Class Management System

Spring Fever in the Classroom Tips

Get spring fever under control in your upper elementary classroom with this tool that truly has students working together to earn a common goal!

I love creating a positive classroom community built on positive behavior and teamwork! While students are responsible for their behavior and choices as individuals, they make better choices when they work as a team towards a common goal or class reward.

I created and use this super simple color challenge behavior system as a quick, easy, and visual way to keep track of student behavior as a class. The kids love it, and I love how simple it is to use - just print and grab a crayon.

It is as easy as 1-2-3!

1. Set up expectations students work towards. (suggestions included)

2. Decide on a whole class reward. (suggestions included)

3. Print the coloring page and color!

Each time students display one of the expectations you decided, color in a piece. Once the whole coloring page has been colored in, the class earns the reward.

Remember, don't fight or ignore spring fever in your classroom this spring! Embrace it and make the most of the final few weeks you have with your students with these ideas and tips. With fun projects, a little reading, and a whole lot of kindness, you will definitely cure spring fever this school year!

You might be interested in reading:

Looking for meaningful spring activities that kids LOVE, like this color poem activity? Click HERE.

spring writing activity for upper elementary

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Spring ideas and activities for upper elementary students


8 Best Biography Picture Books for Upper Elementary

8 Biography Picture Books for Upper Elementary

One of the most exciting times of the school year is when we dive into biographies!

Not only do the kids love biography project time, but so do I! Why? Here are some of the reasons why I just LOVE biography project time:

  • students are engaged and actively reading nonfiction
  • students are applying a wide range of reading strategies as they read this form of nonfiction
  • students learn from one another as they are reading about different people
  • biography reports and projects ties together reading and writing in an authentic way

Sounds great, right? It is true! SO much goodness comes from completing biography projects. On top of all of that, students work independently on the project and feel a huge sense of accomplishment and pride when they are done.

But before all of this goodness can happen, we start small. We kick off our biography unit and project by reading high-quality picture books that truly illustrate the elements that are found in biographies, like these. 

This list of 8 picture books includes titles that are must adds to your upper elementary classroom. And bonus, grab the FREE organizer and activity to use with any of these books to help you kick off biographies in your classroom!

Shark Lady written by Jess Keating

8 Biography Picture Books for Upper Elementary

The only thing more engaging than reading about sharks is reading about the woman who just swam with the sharks. This biography tells the story of Eugenie Clark. I love this picture book biography because it begins the story of Eugenie's life with her as a young girl. The reader goes on a journey learning about her life and her actions to make her dream of becoming a marine biologist a reality. I especially love the book's last pages that include informational paragraphs about sharks, the timeline of Eugenie Clark's life, and the author's note. 

Dinosaur Lady written by Linda Skeers

8 Biography Picture Books for Upper Elementary

One of the reasons why this book makes my list of top biography picture books is because there are so many examples that help students discover the character traits of Mary Anning, like being determined, brave, and curious. This biography book is a great choice to read during a biography unit and a character trait unit. This exciting story will shock some of your students as they learn that Mary Anning discovered dinosaur fossils and bones before the word dinosaur was even invented! With all the goodies at the end of this book, too, your students will love to read and reread this book. The last pages include informational paragraphs about fossils, Mary Anning's life timeline, and the author's note. This highly engaging story is a must-read in your class.

WHOOSH! written by Chris Barton

8 Biography Picture Books for Upper Elementary

This story of Lonnie Johnson and his super soaking invention was recently recommended to me, and I instantly fell in love with it! This book begins with Lonnie Johnson as a young child who enjoys making things work and being challenged. Students will easily relate to Lonnie and his failures with some of his inventions. The reader follows Lonnie through his young adult life, his adult life, and all of his ups and downs. This book is filled with amazing illustrations and diagrams that kids love to check out. The author’s note at the end will certainly encourage students to dream big and come up with the next best invention.

Breaking the Ice written by Angie Bullaro

8 Biography Picture Books for Upper Elementary

You don't have to be a hockey lover or even a sports fanatic to love the story of Manon Rheaume, the first woman to play in the National Hockey League. This picture book is the perfect match for upper elementary students. It is filled with important dates, figurative language, dialogue, and excellent word choice. Manon's story Remind students that working hard and failure go hand in hand with trying to achieve your goal. As with the other picture books included in this list, the afterword, real photographs, and timeline at the end of the book truly bring to life for the students that this story is a true story.

King of Ragtime written by Stephen Costanza

8 Biography Picture Books for Upper Elementary

The King of Ragtime tells the story of the talented Scott Joplin. This biography is another perfect read-aloud for upper elementary students. The author gives great detail about all elements of Scott's life beginning in his childhood, while the illustrator supports the vivid story with beautiful pictures on each page. With rich vocabulary, onomatopoeia, and an easy-to-follow sequential telling of Scott's life, Students will be engaged and learn how important it is to follow their dreams. I especially love that this book allows you to bring music into your classroom, which is sure to catch the attention of your musically talented students.

Helen's Big World written by Doreen Rapport

Helen Keller read aloud for kids

Helen's Big World not only makes my list of top biographies to read with your class, but it also holds a spot on my Women's History Month Picture Book List, too. That is because I always look forward to reading this book year after year. I may be a little biased because I have driven by her beautiful home in Connecticut on my way to teach each morning for many years. See her Connecticut home here. Her story is one of pure inspiration for both students and adults alike. The author of this book does a fantastic job of bringing the story of Helen Keller to life through rich text and beautiful illustrations. I especially love the powerful quotes throughout the book, the focus on both the struggles and accomplishments of Helen Keller's life and the sign language chart included in the book. Definitely a must-read!

Looking for a kid-friendly article about Helen Keller's life? Try this one.

Martin's Big Words written by Doreen Rapport

Martin Luther King Jr read aloud for kids

This biography is part of Doreen Rappaport's biography series. All of the books in this series are just right for upper elementary students, include powerful quotes and illustrations, and get students critically thinking about the focus person of the book. This one, about Martin Luther King, Jr, is no exception. While many students may have heard a story or two about Dr. King, the powerful quotes woven throughout the book will leave students with a lasting impression about the accomplishments, struggles, and determination of Martin Luther King, Jr. No matter what other book you have read about Dr. King, read this one during your biography unit. 

KIDSTORY: Anthology of 50 Children and Young People Who Shook Up the World written by Tom Adams

biography anthology read aloud for kids

I love having anthologies in the classroom, like this biography anthology. They are perfect for when you do not have a lot of time to read aloud to your students. This one tells the story of 50 exceptional children and young people who left their mark on the world. I especially love this book because the contents page categorizes the biographies by topic, with ten amazing children for each subject. For example, one topic is “Create and Dream.” This category has ten mini-biographies about children like Louis Braille and Shirley Temple. Each biography in the book is only two pages long, making it the perfect quick read for each day of your biography unit. From Emma Watson to Pocahontas, this anthology has a wide range of children and young adults to read and learn about each time you pick it up. With a beautiful mix of photographs, illustrations, and quotes, your students will enjoy reading as they put their nonfiction reading skills to the test. This book is one that you will love to visit each day and that your students will love to borrow again and again.

While there are so many biography picture books that you can share with students, these make my list because of their unique stories. These are books that your students probably have not heard...yet! Add them to your own stack of read-aloud books and watch student engagement soar as you read each of these powerful biography stories.

Grab the FREE resource mentioned in this post:

You might be interested in reading:

Getting ready to start a biography project? Click HERE.

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8 Biography Picture Books for Upper Elementary

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