A Letter to Next Year's Class

19 May 2014
I know this isn't a new idea, but I wanted to share another idea we did in my class at the end of last year.  Last year we wrote letters to next year's class, but I added a little twist.  Even though these letters were written to students in the grade below us, I can't begin to tell you how much these letters meant to me.  Reading them brought a tear to my eye, as I reflected on all the activities we had done together, the fun we had, and the growth we accomplished.

This class was special because last year was the first time our grade sixes would be leaving the school.  Up until last year, we had been a K-8 school.  With a new intermediate school built in our area last year, our school because a K-6 school, and my students would be moving on at the end of the year.  I had had most of my grade 6 students for two years, and I couldn't imagine not seeing them in the hallways next year.  Definitely bitter sweet, but I also knew they would love and excel in their new surroundings.

OK - back to the letter.  For our little twist on the end of the year letters, I had students come up with One Little Word that summed up their year.  They wrote this word on their whiteboards, and many of them decorated their whiteboards, as well.  I took a picture of them holding their whiteboards in front of a blank bulletin board.  (The little happy faces  on the students are just there for privacy reasons).

I have this awesome little photo printer in my classroom - Epson PictureMate Charm Photo Printer.  The school had purchased one for the primary grades for all the photo documentation they have do, but as soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted my own, so I bought one.  I absolutely LOVE it.  You can instantly print pictures from your digital camera by putting the memory card right into the printer, or plugging the camera into the printer.  I use it a lot in the classroom.  I just leave my little digital camera at school so I have it whenever I need it.  When not in school, I tend to take pics on my phone or my SLR camera.

I made a quick anchor chart for my students to reference while writing their letters.  They needed to include their One Little Word in each paragraph they wrote.  They also needed to include at least 3 paragraphs in their letter, written in friendly letter format.  When finished, students published their letters on the computer, adjusting their font size so that their letter only took up half the page.  We photocopied their letters onto fancy paper, and glued their pictures underneath.  I then laminated them and posted them all on a bulletin board for next year's class to read (their classroom was next door to ours).


  1. Does making students rewrite sentences 10 times actually reduce the amount of those errors like forgotten capital letters and periods?
    Cause if it works, I'm going to implement it!

    1. LOL - just a little something I resorted to in my end of the year frustration before testing. I only did it with a small group of my high (but sometimes lazy) writers. :)

  2. I love how you incorporate the one little word in to each paragraph. Adding the picture of the student who the letter is from with their word written on it is genius! Makes for a great display while also giving them some authentic letter writing practice.

    The Math Maniac

  3. I love this! I will be doing this with my students this week!

  4. This is a great idea! I love how your incorporate one word in each paragraph AND in the picture!

  5. What an awesome idea! I especially love the personal touch each student added to their letter! I bet they were so proud! I also agree that no matter how hard a year it may have been, my students always surprise me, and I am ALWAYS brought to tears over their departure! Thank you for sharing! :)

  6. I love this new spin on an old idea! I've got two weeks left of the school year and this is definitely going to be one of the activities! I love the one word addition to the letter!
    Fifth Grade Wit and

  7. I love your letters! I taught 2nd grade this last year and they wrote out three words of wisdom (sentences) for my class that I would have next year. It was so cute what they came up with. My next classroom will be a 4th grade group so hopefully they will get the hint when some of these words of wisdom are repeated 15 times throughout the letters. Thanks for sharing your idea.

    Mrs. Flickinger's Butterfly Oasis

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  9. I told my class they would be partner collaborating, editing, and proofreading, but each one having a unique letter. The real kicker was letting them know this is a private letter from them to next year's 5th graders. I would not read it first and it would not be graded. The concept of privacy needs to be fostered as kids grow up.