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Thinking Ahead to Next Year

end-of-year graphic




  • Arts & Humanities
    Language Arts
  • Educational Technology


  • K-2
  • 3-5
  • 6-8
  • 9-12

Brief Description

Students leave advice for those who will follow in their footsteps, or write informative letters to the teachers who will teach them next year.



  • write letters or create handbooks or a video offering advice to those students who will follow in their footsteps.
  • write letters to themselves for the teacher to mail to them a year or more later.
  • write letters to the teachers who will have them in class next year.


letter, writing, video, advice, back to school, end-of-year

Materials Needed

Most activities below require only paper and pencils. If students put their advice in video form, then a video-recording device and some set decoration will be required.

Lesson Plan

The end of the school year is a time to look back and reflect (See Create a Class Yearbook) and a time to think ahead. The activities below involve students in sharing information that will be helpful to the students who follow in their footsteps or the teachers they will have next year.

  • Have students write letters to students who will follow in their footsteps. The letters might include favorite memories of the class or grade, advice about how to be successful in the grade, things to do and not to do, and so on. Emphasize to students that letters should be positive, designed to help calm the jitters students often feel during the first days of a new school year. (If you did this activity the previous year, remind students of how they felt when they read the letters left behind by the previous year's students.) Store student letters in a safe place until the first day of the next school year. Then post a selection of the letters on a bulletin board, place a single letter on each student's desk, or read aloud a selection of the letters.
  • Instead of writing letters, current students might create a handbook full of advice for the next group of students. They might contribute pages to a single handbook, or brainstorm a list of helpful tips and information and then create enough mini handbooks for each incoming student.
  • Students could reinforce their technology skills by creating PowerPoint presentations of advice for students who will follow.
  • Students might create a video introduction to new students. Individual students could read aloud on tape the letters they have written, or groups of students might get together and create scripts for skits, an advice column, poems, and other ways of introducing students to the new grade or class. Students might offer video advice using a news-broadcast format.
  • Taking a class in Web page design over the summer? Why not use the letters your students have written to next year's class to create a Web page to share with your new students in the fall.
  • Instead of having students write letters to next year's students, have them write letters to themselves! The letters will tell what they are like at their current age, what they like, who their friends are, and so on. (Students can brainstorm the kinds of information they will include in their letters.) Ask students to provide a self-addressed, stamped envelope and promise to mail the letters sometime in the future (perhaps when they graduate from middle school or high school).
  • One more alternative: Have students write letters introducing themselves to the teachers they will have next year. Student letters might include information about themselves, their families, their hobbies and interests, their strengths and weaknesses in school, and so on. That way, teachers can start the new school year knowing a little something about their new students.


Students create a product or products they are proud of.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Gary Hopkins


Return to Making the Most of the Dreaded End-of-School Days.

Looking for more end-of-the-year ideas? Check out Wind Up Learning as the Year Winds Down: Activities for the Last Days of School.


Last updated 05/19/2017