Teacher Reflections on Final Letter Assignment

Copyright 2011 Jocelyn Segal

Students were asked to write a letter to their future teacher describing what they want their classroom teaching and learning community to be like next year, based on the Jewish value texts they studied in third grade.

The student example demonstrates her applying what she learned in the Jewish values curriculum to the type of learning environment she wants for the future. She includes ideas such as the need for students to work together, listen to each other as well as challenge each other's ideas and include each other. This letter articulates the student's wishes for a working environment that is cooperative, demanding and inclusive.

The letter assignment also serves a pedagogic function, helping students see an application of the value texts beyond the immediate classroom in which they studied them. It plants the seed of the idea that the values they learn each year can be applied in different classrooms from year to year, and that students themselves have the power to shape the classroom community.