My Class Letters to the Future 3rd Grade Students

Awhile ago my boys and girls wrote letters to the rising, future third graders. I plan to put these into a book and have them on the new student's desks in August. I also did it to share with my buddies, the amazing 4th grade teachers at my school, to give them an idea of what wonderful writers my co-teacher and I are sending them!
We started first with a Thinking Map {which is new to our school & I love!} it was a tree map and they had to pick three things they loved about 3rd grade and three things that were "challenging" to them, but that they overcame as the year progressed. This would help them write two full paragraphs with at least 5 sentences each in the body of the letter. The next day they wrote the letters with very little help. It was also easy to differentiate the lesson for my ESE students because I typed out a template and then they just filled in the blanks of what they loved, etc. I would have had them type them one day in one of our labs, but with co-teaching I'm just not there that many days and did not want to take time away from my co-teacher's really cool end-of-the-year yearbook. So I typed them, but next year the class will do it themselves. I sent home parent permission to publish student work to our classroom blog and posted only the letters with permission. Click here to see most of them...
It was interesting to see what they loved and what they found challenging, here was one of my favorites.

Dear Third Grader
You are going to love 3rd grade. What I loved about 3rd grade is reading, coloring and science. You will like Science because on Fridays you get to do cool stuff. You will like Reading because you get to picture anything in your head. You will like coloring because you get to color cool pictures.
Some things you might find challenging are the FCAT, Math and Spelling. I thought that the FCAT would be difficult at first and I was worried. But a few weeks later I took the FCAT and it really wasn’t that hard. Also, Math is really hard because you have to count, add, subtract and all the other hard stuff. Spelling is so hard, that I can’t even spell very well and I just want to tell you that nobody’s perfect.
I hope you like your new teacher.

But this one was also a favorite because her twist was to make everything she loved, also everything that was challenging! For a 3rd grader, that takes some higher level thinking skills! :)

Dear Third Grader,
You are going to love 3rd grade. What I loved about 3rd grade is FCAT, Reading and Writing. You will like the FCAT because at the beginning you are worried, but by the end of the test, you will think it is as easy as a 1st grade Reading test. You will love Reading because we do the Daily Five and take AR tests on the computer. You will like writing because Mrs. Merrilees and Mrs. Smith are good writers. So when you write with them, you are going to be amazed after you are doing writing.
Some things you might find challenging are the FCAT, Reading and Writing also! I found the FCAT to be difficult because I never took it. I found Reading to be difficult because it was easy, then it was lovely. I found Writing was going to be difficult because I thought it was going to be boring but it was FUN!
I hope you have a wonderful year too!

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