Advice to Help You Shine Next Year is a fun, easy end-of-year writing craftivity that students will love to create and your class next year will love getting to read. The craftivity includes a graphic organizer for planning and all the pieces to create the sunshine writing display. Easy and meaningful, this craftivity makes a great bulletin board display.
One of my favorite ways to end the school year is to give my students the opportunity to write to next year's class. I encourage them to share information with about classroom expectations, favorite lessons and activities, special memories, or advice for how to help the new students adjust to my classroom.
Getting Started Together – Brainstorming All the Ideas
This activity begins with a discussion about how they felt at the beginning of the school year. This helps trigger memories of the nervousness or excitement that came along with the first day of school, and now that I have done this a few years, most classes also remember the letters they received the first day.
Once we've gotten ourselves back into the mindset of the first day, I have students think about the things they wish they had known. This is when I explain to them that it is THEIR turn to write a letter to the students who will share this classroom next year to help get them excited for the year.
Using chart paper, we create a web of thing we might want them to know. We brainstorm special activities, classroom expectations, and even some things about me that a new student might wonder about.
It is always funny and sweet to see the things they come up with.
The goal of this group time is to help trigger memories and get students thinking about what they may want to include in their letter.
Getting Organized to Write
Once we've got a good start to our list and I can tell students are ready to be independent, I give them their graphic organizer and ask them to identify 1-2 ideas under each heading.
Once they are complete, I partner them up to share their ideas. Sometimes this leads to adjustments or changes, but it also gives them a great opportunity to reminisce and chat together. I find providing structured opportunities to chat stops some of the out of control end of the year chattiness.
Bringing it All Together
As students finish up their brainstorming, we come together to quickly review the parts of a letter. We discuss what an appropriate greeting might be since we don't know who the new students will be yet. We also discuss how they can use the ideas they wrote on their organizer to structure paragraphs.
Once we are done with this, I give the students their sun template.
Students then write a friendly letter to next year's class. They use their graphic organizer to help add details to their writing.
Younger learners may need modeling of how to construct the letter and reminders of the expected components. They may also benefit from sentences stems such as:
- One of my favorite memories from this class is…
- You'll love when you get to…
- Always remember…
- Be sure (not) to…
I often work in a small group with my struggling writers to generate a draft of the letter together. We discuss how they can make modifications to our group writing to make it their own.
When students finish writing, they color and cut their sun out. They then glue the round cover piece to the top of their writing and the rays to the back of the writing template. This creates the displayable final product.
Multiple Formats Included
The great thing about this craft is that there are multiple formats included so you can use it for any grade level. I've also included a fillable template so you can personalize it with your name.
The following wordings are included in this craft:
- Advice to Help You Shine in ____ Grade
- Tips to Help You Shine in ____ Grade
- Advice to help you shine in __________'s class
- Tips to help you shine in ___________'s class
Get this End of Year Writing Craft for Your Classroom
This Advice to Help You Shine Writing Craft is available in my TPT Store.
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