Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Dear future 8th graders...

I know everyone is busy posting all of their beginning of school stuff so this may be a little out of the blue, but I wanted to talk about this because it's one of my favorite things.  This is an end of the year activity.  It's easy to spend the last week of school doing nothing, especially with 8th graders since they have tons of graduation related stuff going on.  I'll admit that I've always taken the easy way out and spent the last week signing yearbooks and just enjoying their company.  

A couple years ago I decided that I wanted to have them do something a little more worthwhile and things to remember them by so I came up with a number of different small "sum up the year" type activities.  One of them was this.

Each kid got one of these and just wrote a letter to future students of mine.  I told them they could say whatever they want..they could be funny or serious or whatever they were feeling.

This is on a half sheet of paper.
The idea is not really original and it's so simple but it just ended up being one of my favorite things.  Every so often I will come across their letters (which I made into a book) and I can't help to stop and read through it.  Without fail, it always makes me smile and laugh.  I love this so much largely because each one is so reflective of the kid that wrote it and it really makes me think of them.  Some kids wrote genuine letters, some wrote letters to scare future kids, some were really sweet and some of them were just silly.  Many of them included little inside jokes we had in our classes which make me smile.

There were tons of kids that wrote not to hesitate to ask for help because Ms. Rubin will always make time to help you.  I love that they feel this way because this is exactly how I want them to feel.  A lot of them wrote not to be mean or rude to me.  They wrote that I'm really nice and not to take advantage of that.  I almost feel like they're trying to watch out for me and warn future students not to mess with their teacher and it's sweet.  

When I was done with them I wanted to be sure that they wouldn't just get shoved in a closet somewhere so I made them into a little book.  I punched holes in the pages, laminated the covers and just used a piece of string to hold it together.  It was also really fun this year because when I needed soemthing to occupy kids in a pinch it was fun to pull out.  The kids this year definitely got a kick out of it looking through what they had to say.

On activities like this I always make adding a name optional.  Some wanted to sign their names and some chose not to sign it which was completely ok.  Little do they know, however, by the end of the year I know all their handwriting so I have no problem figuring out who is who.  Even I'm a little impressed that I can still put names on the ones from two years ago.  

I guess this isn't completely out of the blue because I find that while I'm always anxious for the start of a new year I also usually find myself thinking about my past students around this time of year.  I know that I'll have plenty of good and special times with my new kids, but part of my always secretly wishes that it would be awesome if my old students could come back for another year.  :)

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