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As I wrap up another school year, I think about how it went for my students—both their struggles and their triumphs. We bonded throughout the time we spent together, and we became a classroom family. In true family fashion, we end by celebrating our achievements and offering words of wisdom to future students.
Letters to Future Students
Call me crazy, but as the school year is winding down, I am already thinking ahead to the next one. For many students, a friendly letter is a great way to dispel first-day-of-school butterflies, and it also serves as an engaging vehicle for establishing classroom policies and procedures.
My end-of-year students write friendly letters to my future sixth graders, sharing their personal experiences and offering tips for surviving and thriving in middle school. Then, in the fall, my new students read the letters and identify the most important tips for academic and social success. Through whole-class discussions, we then use this information to make anchor charts titled “Tips for Success in Middle School”! My new students enthusiastically engage in this memorable approach that empowers them to create a list of classroom rules and expectations.
3 Kid-to-Kid Tips
My departing students have come up with some wonderful advice. Here are three of my favorite tips they’ve passed on to incoming students:
- Hand your homework in on time.
- Don’t be afraid to ask a teacher for help, especially if you’ve been absent.
- The best way to make friends is to be kind to others.
Positive Desk Notes
Despite my students’ varying abilities, I want them to walk away with a good feeling, so I write each of my sixth graders a positive note, a couple of sentences that capture the student’s unique essence as a person. As a fun twist, I write it directly on their desks using dry-erase markers! On the last day of school, students are greeted with these heartfelt messages. Then, at the end of the day, we wash our desks, but the words are not gone. They go with my students in their hearts and into their futures.
Photos: Courtesy of Mary Blow