Farewell Letter to Students #sol

June 25th is the last day of school. Final grades, report cards, literacy profiles, organizing, and packing up the room are some of the essential "to-do's." As I embark on starting and completing these tasks, I don't want to lose sight of bringing a sense of joyful closure to my community of third graders. I want them to feel good about our year and our work together and I want to leave them with the lasting idea that they are all important and special.

I have gifts for them. I asked each student to come up with a positive word or trait to describe each classmate. Then, I compiled the words to make a special word cloud for each student, using Tagxedo to create different shapes. I bought frames to finish the project. (Thanks to Pinterest for the inspiration)

I also purchased a book for each student as a gift. Deb Pilutti, author of Ten Rules of Being a Superhero, was kind enough to donate awesome Superhero bookmarks, which I will wrap with each book. 

So all that is left is....my farewell letter:

Dear Third Graders in Room 215,

Thank you for an unforgettable year of learning together.  You have helped me make the transition from being a kindergarten teacher to a third grade teacher, showing me how kids your age think, question, read, write, and problem solve. You are a very special group of students and I will always remember you and our time together. 

There have been so many things to celebrate this year- Skyping with our friends in California, tweeting our class events, turkey diaries, Mangoes field trip, Mexico stations project, research projects and Google slides, writing our persuasive speeches, our field trip to the Bronx Zoo, racing around the track at Field Day, and getting our DOJO paychecks. All special moments.  But the times I will treasure the most are the ones where we sat together on the green carpet and shared stories.  

Thinking about some of the memorable stories we shared, I have some hopes for you as you leave third grade and continue your journey in school and life!

 From The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane:  I hope you deeply love all the special people and places in your life and remember that loving and being loved is always the point of the journey.  I hope you are willing to help a friend, like when Bryce  gave up the chance to keep Edward so he could be restored by the doll mender.  I hope you have exciting adventures but always come back home to the ones who love you most.  I hope you realize it is okay to cry when a book touches your soul. 

 From The One and Only Ivan: I hope you realize that no matter what your circumstances, it is never too late to try to change things that leave you feeling trapped.  I hope you can be courageous when it comes to helping someone who needs you.  Ivan's gift was his art, but we all have gifts.  I hope you discover yours and use it to make the world better. 

From James and the Giant Peach: I hope you look for the magic in life! Being kind, even to people who are terrible to you, will leave you stronger and better.  Friends come in all different shapes and sizes, so don't overlook someone just because they might not appear to be the friend you expected.  Keep dreaming! 

From The Hundred Dresses: I hope you understand that everything you do and say, or not say, matters.  In life, there will be moments when people are mean to you and moments when people are mean to others.  I truly hope that there will NOT be moments where you are mean to someone.  This book reminds us of the power of our words and actions.  When we see someone being mistreated, it is important to take action to make that stop.  Every person matters and every person deserves respect. 

From The Terrible Two: Cows are unique animals (haha!).  I hope this book reminds you that great stories can make you smile and laugh and how fun it is to share that with friends.  I hope that someday, you too might get invited to Cody Burr-Tyler's birthday party. If you one day become a principal, I hope you remember Principal Barkin's inspiration and write your own "Principal Power Speech" from the custodian's closet. (Somewhere in the distance, a cow mooed.)

 From Love That Dog: Everyone can write poetry and poems are found in the everyday moments and stuff of our lives.  Let what you read inspire you to write, like Jack was inspired by Mr. Walter Dean Myers. Take chances with your writing.  Sign your name to your writing and be proud of your work! Notice the amazing things around you and the small details and write about them so you'll always remember. 

As you leave third grade, I hope you will carry Edward and Ivan in your heart,   remember Wanda Petronski and her hidden talents, don't forget James and his magic or Miles and Niles and their pranks, or Jack and his courage to write about Sky.  And I hope that you know how much YOU matter and how smart, capable, kind, and important you are.  

"If this world makes you crazy and you've taken all you can bear, 
Just call me up- cause you know I'll be there!
And I see you true colors shining through.
I see your true colors and that's why I love you.
So don't be afraid to let them show-
Your true colors, true colors
Are beautiful like a rainbow."

Always here for you, always proud of you! 
Now go on with your amazing selves and enjoy the summer!

Mrs. Sokolowski


  1. WOW! I find your kindness and generous final sharing with your students so inspiring. They are so lucky to learn with you and from you during their 3rd grade year. Know your letter also helped me. I will be leaving one school as the 5th grade writing teacher, to join another school to become a 3rd grade teacher. I already had planned to introduce the 3rd graders to Jack but you shared so many other great read-alouds for me to revisit this summer as I prepare for my new classroom of 3rd graders. Thanks. Here's my final letter to my 5th graders: http://mywritingstoriesbysally.blogspot.com/2015/05/end-of-year-letter-to-my-5th-grade.html

  2. Thank you Sally! Your letter was so fabulous and one of the ones that inspired my thinking. I never even thought to do a farewell letter before Tara's post and I've been teaching since 2001! I loved all my read alouds this year! Edward Tulane was an incredibly powerful and emotional read as was The One and Only Ivan. The Terrible Two was my choice to try to hook more boy readers and it is so well done and hysterically funny! Hoping we can connect and share ideas as third grade colleagues!

  3. I loved your letter! Tara's post inspired me to write an end of year poem for my kids. We read many of the same books to our third graders this year- great choices! Enjoy your last days!

  4. I loved your letter! Tara's post inspired me to write an end of year poem for my kids. We read many of the same books to our third graders this year- great choices! Enjoy your last days!

  5. Oh how I LOVE your letter!! And your gifts!! I miss being able to give gifts...with 100 students it's not practical. I am struggling with goodbyes this year, so I couldn't seem to sit down and compose a goodbye letter. Your letter is perfect! I love how you include your read alouds and lessons and memories from them. I wish I was a student in your 3rd grade classroom!!! :)

  6. I love your word clouds. I, too, gave books and bookmarks. I relate so much to how you have loved these students. I am never ashamed at how unabashedly I love my students. They love to hear it too. Happy summer friend.

  7. I love those word clouds! What a special gift for each of your students. Your goodbye letter is so heartfelt. I wish I had you for a third grade teacher! As I scrolled through your read alouds, I realized that we read many of the same books to our classes. Edward Tulane is always my favorite. Enjoy your last days!

  8. Just so beautiful. I am writing down the list of books to read with my class as some of them we have not seen before. Have a wonderful summer:)

  9. The word clouds are just an awesome thing, Kathleen, and the book, special for each, is, too. And the letter I imagine will be treasured for long years to come. Those books are treasured memories of your year together, and to place them in the letter would make the authors proud, too. I'm glad you shared. Have a wonderful final two weeks!

  10. You are leaving your students with so many gifts- tangible and intangible. Amazing.

  11. You are leaving your students with so many gifts- tangible and intangible. Amazing.

  12. What a first class way to end your year. What kid will forget you?
    Digital Bonnie

  13. What a beautiful, beautiful way to end a year of learning. Your kids will always treasure this year and their memories of you. Now - hooray for the fact that your summer has begun!

  14. What a beautiful, beautiful way to end a year of learning. Your kids will always treasure this year and their memories of you. Now - hooray for the fact that your summer has begun!

  15. Your blog has become a go-to place for me and I am always inspired by your words. I love the idea of the word clouds! What beautiful gifts for your students!

  16. I used to write end-of-year letters to my ESL students before I retired, so ready your post tonight made me feel a bit nostalgic. I am not surprised at how kind and loving your words are, nor am I surprised at the generous gifts you give to your students. But I am absolutely sure that the best gift of all was that they got to spend the year with you!

  17. Those word clouds are going to be gifts they were treasure. What a nifty end-of-the-school year idea!

  18. I love those word clouds as gifts - what a great idea - and the letter too! We had almost the same exact read alouds this year! Great minds think alike!


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