Can you tell it is May? Are your students acting as crazy as mine? Don’t worry, the end is near. We just need to get them to hang on for a couple more weeks!
Throughout the year I have students keep all of their work in binders within my classroom and at the end of each unit we empty most of the material out. What remains in the binder for the entire school year are the maps from each unit and a vocab log that my students have kept through the year as a resource when common vocabulary words are addressed in multiple units. As I was working to wrap-up my content and start emptying student supplies out of my classroom, I wanted to come up with a way to check student vocab logs without having to go through and grade each individual binder (80 students x 50+ words, no thanks!).
So, I had my students write a letter to the 6th graders that I will have next year as 7th graders, using the words from their vocab log to explain what the 6th graders would be learning in my class.
These letters were to be organized in a way that vocabulary words were grouped together and used correctly in a sentence. For example, words such as map, globe, latitude, and longitude tie together so they were included in the same sentence or paragraph. I told my students not to include definitions in their letter when writing the words in a sentence.
Instead of writing “A map is a two-dimensional, flat representation of Earth,” students would write “You can use a map to locate where you are in the world.” Since the words that students have added to their vocab log throughout the school year applied to more than one unit, the students were able to use the vocabulary words to link the content from the entire school year together.
My students were very excited about this assignment and wanted to know if 6th graders would actually get to read their letters and which 6th grader would read theirs. This will also be a great introductory activity for me at the beginning of next year as my new students can read these letters and complete a KWL worksheet to keep in their vocab log and check words off as we work through the school year.