Tuesday, May 26, 2015

End of Year Letter to my 5th grade Writers

June, 2015
Dear Janney 5th Grade Writing Friends,
As we end our year together, we just want to take a moment to reflect on a few things we learned with you this year. Our favorite part of being your writing teachers was the many genres we were able to write – personal narrative, realistic fiction, essay, nonfiction history, nonfiction science, memoir and poetry. We will never forget the following moments that helped us to be better writers:
·      Using these mentor texts to inspire our writing:

·      Watching these videos to inspire our writing:
o   Video of Lucy Calkins - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WO29k1-RvsA
§  We learned that we must honor our writing by reading it like it is gold and listening to it because it can change the world.
§  We learned that the word choices we make in our writing can change the way people react to our writing.
o   Scene from Apollo 13 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgHYGw9OL7c
§  We learned the importance of following a checklist to make our writing soar, just like the Apollo 13 crew followed their checklist to get the rocket to soar into space.
o   Scene from The Wizard of Oz https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6D8PAGelN8
§  We learned that writing can make us feel like Dorothy, “...not in Kansas anymore”!
·      Meeting these professional writers who inspired us to keep writing:
o   George O’Connor http://www.olympiansrule.com/
o   Gail Carson Levine https://gailcarsonlevine.com/
·      Using these tools when writing:
o   Our writing notebook and computer
o   Orally rehearsing our writing ideas
o   The Slice of Life writing challenge in March

As this 5th grade school year ends, know that we are so proud of you. We saw you grow as a writer, while also growing as readers, mathematicians, scientists, historians and as kind friends in our community. Enjoy your summer. Take some time to read and write! Be sure to complete the writing process - immersion, generate ideas, draft, revise, edit and publish - often; this summer, next year in Middle School, in High School, in College and in your life-work. Through writing, we come to understand our thinking and when we make our writing public, WE CAN CHANGE THE WORLD!

Mrs. Donnelly and Ms. Osterman

PS – Do stay in touch ...especially in 7 years, we’d love to hear where you are heading after finishing High School - sally.donnelly11@gmail.com and feel free to send me your school’s pennant to add to my wall collection! 

CLICK HERE to view letter I sent last year to my 4th graders.


  1. Sigh- I still want to write a letter to my third graders from this year- a very special group. 7 1/2 school days means it better be this weekend! I like the way your letter included links!

    1. YOU can!! I'll be teaching 3rd grade next year!! I see that you blogged with your students. I plan to learned from your blogs! Thanks for connecting to me.

  2. I want to write letters to my second graders How special. Thank you for the great resources too. :-)

  3. I wish I had had a fifth grade writing year like this, and my teacher would have sent such a letter. Very special. Thank you for sharing.

    1. I don't know why but I LOVE that you took time to read my post and live in all the way in Estonia!! I will be teaching 3rd grade next year and plan to study your classroom blog this summer for ideas. Thanks for connecting with me. I think you will be teaching me LOTS! Sally from Arlington, VA, USA

  4. I never thought about writing a letter! I love this idea. When in I was Deaf Ed one year I only had two students. I made my students a scrapbook. They loved it.

  5. What a wonderful letter! It sounds like you and your students had an amazing year of learning. I'm looking forward to watching the videos links you shared. Enjoy your summer, Sally!

  6. Your letter is a rich resource for me as I plan for a writing camp this summer. And I love that you collect school pendants!

  7. Your letter is a rich resource for me as I plan for a writing camp this summer. And I love that you collect school pendants!

  8. Looks and sounds like it was a fantastic year, Sally!

  9. "We can change the world...." I love how you chose to include those words in your end-of-year letter to your students to inspire them to do great things. Fifth graders are such a funny combination of know-it-alls and insecurity mixed into one package, but they are all looking for acceptance and guidance whether they know it or not. I am sure they will treasure your very thoughtful letter.