Writing Our Way to Goodbye

just keep writing

A student’s decorated summer notebook

 

Today is my last day of school! My third grade students and I have been writing our way towards goodbye over the last few weeks. Here are some things we’ve done:

  • Created QR Code Summer Notebooks, which I wrote about here.  Students personalized their notebooks and then I held onto them.  I wrote a goodbye letter to the class, personalizing it for each student. I put the letter inside each student’s notebook and presented their notebooks to them, one at a time, wishing them a summer full of writing and catching moments. I reminded them that I would love to see their notebooks in September and have them come and talk with my new third graders about being a writer.
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One student wrote, “I am a girl who loves writing…it makes me happy. This is my summer journal.”

  • #IWishMyTeacherKnew: I saw this hashtag on Twitter and thought it would be a good idea for my students to write to their new fourth grade teacher, letting him/her know things that might be hard to say. Students wrote their letters and I put them in their Literacy Portfolio, which will be delivered to their new teachers.

 

  • A final personal narrative: In September, students wrote a personal narrative “on demand” piece. I asked them to write a personal narrative again towards the end of the year and attached it to their first piece in third grade. Things I noticed about the end of the year pieces: Students tried creative leads, attempted dialogue, used paragraphs, used sensory language, and wrote with more stamina! (Yay!)

Layla

  • Tagxedo word clouds: When I made this for last year’s class, one of my students suggested it become my “signature” and I do it each year. Great advice deserves to be followed, and so I did! The first step was to create a paper with each student’s name on it and a blank line next to it. We brainstormed character traits our friends might have and emphasized we would only write kind and positive things. Each student picked a word to describe all the other students in the class. Next, I went to the site Tagxedo, which makes word clouds but allows you to pick different shapes for the cloud. For each student, I compiled a list of all the traits their classmates named and then selected a shape and color scheme that fit each student’s personality. I printed them and bought document frames from the Dollar Tree. Each Tagxedo was framed and wrapped, along with a book I selected for the student. When my class opened them, many students wanted to learn how to use Tagxedo. I showed them how to use the site, and students went Tagxedo-crazy, making many different word clouds for their family members, teachers, administrators, and even pets! tagxedo
  • Final Blog Reflections: Students were asked to reflect upon their blogging experience. I asked them if blogging helped them to be better writers and if they thought they would continue blogging, since I’m leaving their blogs available during the summer. Most students wrote positively about blogging and some said they would continue! You can see their posts here.

Today, my students will walk out of my third grade classroom, step into summer, and inch closer to being fourth graders. I hope our year together has shown them the power that writing can have in their lives. I hope they remember “writers are brave” and “everyone’s story matters.” How did you send your students off to summer?

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