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Advice From a Fifth Grader

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Dear Future Fifth-Grader
Advice from a Survivor of Ms. Anonymous's Class

The teacher referred to in the following letter asked to remain anonymous. The letter is one of many written as a final assignment by her students at a school in the Bronx. The 2002-2003 school year was this teacher's first year of teaching, and the letter suggests that she was imaginative and innovative in facing her first few challenges. Readers wishing to communicate with the teacher may write to

Dear Future Fifth-Grader,

I am going to give you some advice about how to do good in Ms. Anonymous's fifth-grade class. The first thing is that you have to read A LOT. Every day you have to do SSR (and if you even make a PEEP, you get in BIG trouble), and Ms. Anonymous reads lots of books to you. She reads out loud everyday after lunch. The best ones are: The Twenty-One Balloons, Holes, Sideways Stories from Wayside School, The Polar Express and Jumanji. The other ones are okay too. Also in reading you have to read in your Literature Circle. That is where you have to talk to other students about a book. It is hard at first but you will get the hang of it!

And if you think you will be tired out after all that reading, just wait, because you have to do Writing Workshop too, and math and science and social studies and current events!! You will be very busy in Ms. Anonymous's class and sometimes it is HARD. You have to keep your Writer's Notebook really neat or Ms. Anonymous will call your parents AND keep you inside during recess. Trust me on that one!

That is the other thing about this class. I am telling you right now, Ms. Anonymous DOES NOT PLAY. We never get away with anything. You have to be good and do ALL your work and ALL your homework, or she will make your life miserable. Like she will call your parents, and make you miss gym and art, and send you to a fourth-grade class to finish your homework, and make you work by yourself instead of working with a group. But if you be good, then she will let you have free time in the afternoon to play a board game with your friends or play on the computer. Or she will let you stay after school to help her with stuff, and that is fun because you can talk to her and she will give you juice and animal crackers. And she will let the class have parties or watch movies sometimes on Fridays.

You can tell Ms. Anonymous likes you a lot if she lets you walk her to the train after school. I get to do that a lot because I have been very good in this class, mostly. Also, she is a good teacher because she will not give up on you even if you are dumb in some things. She will stay after school and help you, and she will never make fun of you. She can be mean, but not mean like saying nasty things or picking on you, just mean like she doesn't let you play around.

Good luck in fifth grade!

Your Friend,

Provided by Ms. Anonymous, the Bronx, NEW YORK

2003 ESL MiniConference Online