This was an activity I did in high school that I remember fondly. We wrote a letter to ourselves at the end of freshman year and got to read it right before we graduated. I decided to try it out last year with the first graders, and this year, I changed it a little so the students had a template to follow (otherwise you’ll get students who write great letters and then ones who scribble down one illegible sentence and hand it in).
The left side is for first grade. Make sure they write their full names on the bottom in case there are multiple students with the same first or last names.
The right side is for second grade. I returned the letters at the end of the previous lesson, so students had time to check their mistakes from last year and I could see how many extra copies to prepare for students who never submitted it.
This shouldn’t take the entire class period. It’s great for a final class with the ALT because you can review a lot from the year. I paired this with a quick game after based on whatever the JTE wanted to review. I assigned it as homework for the students who didn’t finish and had them submit it to the JTE.
P.S. Correcting them during deskwarming season is a great way to pass time!
First grade example sentences:
1. How are you? I’m good.
2. My first year of junior high school was great.
3. I joined the baseball team. / I enjoyed talking with my friends.
4. How was the second grade? Did you make new friends?
5. Next year, I want to get good test scores.
For 1 and 2, I explained how certain words were okay to use for both but not all of them (such as saying the year was “happy”).
For 3, I wanted the students to practice past tense with or without gerunds by writing about their best memories.
For 4 and 5, I asked the students to think about their goals for the new year. It is okay to use the same goal for both sentences if they can’t think of a second one.
Second grade example sentences:
1. How are you? I’m good.
2. My second year of junior high school was great.
3. My best memory was when I went on the camping trip.
4. How was the third grade? Did you make new friends?
5. Next year, I want to win the baseball tournament.
6. If I practice every day, I can win.
For 3, I wanted the students to practice using “when.”
For 6, I told the students to write one original sentence using any grammar they learned that year. Most students connected it to their goal in the previous sentence.
I was just about sit down and create something very similar for my last 1年生 classes. Now I don't have to, thank you! Great work.