Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Let This Year's Students Help You Transition Next Year's Students

Near the end of my latest second grade long-term position, I received an all-school email from the counselor. She wanted each teacher to choose one girl and one boy to come speak to a class of the next lowest grade level to help with the transition. I chose two of my least shy, most outspoken students. They were instructed to come to the counseling room at a designated time and to bring a copy of all the second grade textbooks. They spent that time talking to a first grade class about what it takes to be a second grader. My students loved being the "big kids" giving advice, and the first graders loved hearing from those big kids. I thought it was a very clever idea.

Then I remembered that I had done something on a smaller scale with first graders a few years back. My very first long-term sub job was in first grade and went all the way through the end of the year. So I had the pleasure of coming up with educational, creative ways to spend some of the last days of school. I created an End-of-the-Year Advice Book for my students to leave for next year's students. The students got very excited playing the role of expert and telling the littler ones how it should be done.

So I updated that rudimentary file I made years ago and am offering it to you as a freebie. All you need to do is make copies of the book for each student, fill in the current grade level, and let students complete the book with words and pictures. The book is intended for lower elementary grades, but I am sure even some third and fourth graders could get a kick over giving advice on how to survive their grade.

As far as distributing the advice to next year's students, it's really up to you. You could give the books to a class of students, spread them out through all the classes, save them for your own class next year, or send students to each class to present their books.

Anyway you do it, I guarantee that the students will have fun, and you will learn a lot from their perspective. It might even open your eyes a little, leading to some reflections about what to change for next year.


  1. Such a great idea!! I have taken videos and pictures of my students talking to the new students and this would be a wonderful addition to that lesson!!

    Jessica Stanford
    I'm having my first linky and would love for you to join!

    1. You are right! That would be a great addition.

  2. This is a great idea. I was thinking about doing a bulletin board with advice from my students.


  3. I usually have my third graders write letters to the new incoming students. These are put in in a "Beginning of the Year activity" bag for each student and are waiting for them on their desk. Since writing a friendly letter is an outcome for Grade 3, I'm able to use this as an assessment piece near the end of the year as well. The students love doing this.

    I do like the structure your booklet has though. It's great for students who struggle with how to get started or what to write.

    Thanks for making it available.


    1. I love you letter idea! Maybe in that case this book could even be used as a sort of graphic organizer to help students plan their letter.

  4. Super cute. I mentioned your activity in my blog post tonight. I also created an end of the year activity. It is a "School Year Survival Guide." Please check it out.

    ~April @ ideabackpack.blogspot.com

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Great ideas! Thanks for the help.

  7. Hiya Rachel,

    I love this book. I'm going to use it with my class this year. Thank you so much for sharing it!

    I gave this post a shout out over on my own blog. Hop over here if you fancy checking it out.

    All the best,



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...