This year will be the third year that I’ve had my students write me letters right before I do their final report card. I’ve come to believe that these letters not only help me understand my students better, but they make me a better teacher since I learn what they liked about being a student in my class (i.e., I keep the pen box fully stocked.) and what I could do better (e.g., get rid of the color-coded behavior chart).
Here are the guidelines I used last year when I had my students write me their letters, which takes at least a half hour, if not 45 minutes for kids to do them thoughtfully. I highly recommend doing this, if you’re not on summer vacation yet, since it has truly helped me to become more responsive.
Guide to End of the Year Letters to Ms. S.
Remember: Your paragraphs do not need to follow this exact structure! It’s merely a guideline to help you if you’re stuck.
Paragraph 1: What is your greatest accomplishment since March 2007? Tell me why you’re proud of yourself for this accomplishment.
Paragraph 2: Now that we’re in June, reflect on what’s easy for you (that was challenging for you in September). Elaborate on what made this particular item/area simpler as time passed.
Paragraph 3: What is still challenging for you? What are you going to do to overcome this challenge?
Paragraph 4: What was the best part of being a 5-310 student? What was the worst part of being a 5-310 student? (Elaborate on both responses.)
Paragraph 5: Have you accomplished your Hopes and Dreams this year? If not, then tell me what stood in your way. If you did accomplish them, then have you set new goals for yourself?
Paragraph 6: What have you learned about cooperative group work/partnerships by being in this class?
Paragraph 7: What advice can you give me as a teacher?
Paragraph 8: Anything else you want to tell me.
REMEMBER: Follow a friendly letter format. If you have swirly handwriting, then please skip lines.
I am a literacy consultant who has spent the past dozen years working with teachers to improve the teaching of writing in their classrooms. While I work with teachers and students in grades K-6, I'm a former fourth and fifth-grade teacher so I have a passion for working with upper elementary students.
I'm the author of Craft Moves (Stenhouse Publishers, 2016) and the co-author of Jump Into Writing (Zaner-Bloser, 2021), Welcome to Writing Workshop (Stenhouse Publishers, 2019), and Day By Day (Stenhouse, 2010).