Friday Flashback: Judge Madden Presides

While I know many of you are already lounging poolside, we are wrapping up our last FULL week!  Next week we will have one full day, three half days, and a teacher workday.  The end is so close. ;)

Speaking of the end, if you didn't snatch up our Week 1 Freebie, click here to grab it!  Sunday will be the last day to get it for free...but no worries, we'll be putting our next freebie up!

We have pretty much kicked into survival mode at school.  That's right, Rachel, it's not always cuppy cakes around here! ;)

However, I'm giving it my best to keep the little ones engaged until the very end.  One of my very favorite end-of-the-year activities is to have my kids write persuasive letters to me telling why they are ready to move on up to 3rd grade!

I swear, I get some of the best writing from them.  They really want to convince me, so they provide lots of details! :)  I tell them that they will read their letter to a JUDGE and the judge will decide if they are indeed ready for 3rd grade.

They asked me ALL week long when the judge was coming.  Then, on Thursday, I had another teacher walk them back from PE.  I was sitting in the front of the room in my judge attire (old graduation gown), glasses down my nose, hair up in a bun.  As soon as the first student saw me, a trickle started to go through the line, "The judge is here, the judge is here!"
They were so stinkin' excited that there was a loud murmur spreading throughout the room.  I banged my gavel (an old hammer the hubs painted black for me) and demanded silence in the classroom.  They giggled.  I banged my gavel again and said, "There will be no giggling in this courtroom."

Silence.  Crickets.  Seriousness.

Until I cracked.  Then we were all rolling in laughter.  I finally pulled myself together and we carried on.  I called one student at a time up and had them read their persuasive letters.

They were nervous.  Sweaty palms.  The unknown.

They were supposed to tell me ways that they had become smarter and more responsible this year.  If they failed to provide details, I questioned them.  If they said they kept their desk clean, I may have went to inspect it.

Once I was satisfied, I banged the gavel and "sentenced" them to 3rd grade.  The court room would then explode in applause and cheers!

Of course, there were some students who I knew would love the humor in this, so I might have made them sweat a little more.  Sometimes I took a page from American Idol and worried them just a bit - "Joe, I'm so sorry *long pause* but I'm not going to see you every day next year.  You are sentenced to 3rd grade!" or "You are sentenced to come back to this classroom next year *long pause* and visit often because I will miss you.  You are sentenced to 3rd grade!"

I couldn't do that with all of the kids...some of them would have been in tears, but these took a dramatic swipe of the forehead, let out a huge sigh of relief and said "you had me sweating bullets!" or "whoa! I was worried for a minute!"

They loved it.  Obviously, we still have a few days of school left, so I let them know that just because the judge had sentenced them to 3rd grade didn't mean it was official.  They still needed to be on their A-game because the judge could always "revoke" the sentence.  I let them know that it's not official until they get their final report card in the mail with the judge's signature!

Once everyone has been sentenced to 3rd grade, we usually take a "field trip" to visit 3rd grade.  Last year, we went to one class and the teacher told them a bit about it and then my students partnered with her students and asked questions they had about 3rd grade.  This year, we're just going to stroll down the 3rd grade hall and make observations.  What can I say?  The end is near!

You can find a couple of resources I use for this activity at Teacher's Clubhouse (Movin' on Up and A Trip to the Future), if you're interested.

What have you been up to??


  1. Oh my goodness this is SO FAB!!!! I am so, so, SO busy next week, but I MUST squeeze this in! Thanks for the idea!

    Angela :)
    Hippo Hooray for Second Grade!

  2. Such a CUTE idea! It's a topic most kids should be able to write something about :)


    Adventures in Third Grade

  3. That is seriously so cute. What a fantastic idea! I'm so glad I kept my graduation gown also!

    Teaching in the Tongass

  4. This is such a cute idea! I love it! It's a great way to reinforce persuasive writing but in a fun and exciting way that relates to all the students. I'm your newest follower! :)

    Adventures in Room 204

  5. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!!! This is so great! What a great idea and what lucky kids to have such a creative and fun teacher!!

    The Bender Bunch

  6. hahaha! What a CUTE idea! I have first graders so they're writing is probably not up to par with second grade, but it would be cute to see what they write about. :)


  7. I love this idea, Judge Amanda! ALMOST makes me wish I taught an older grade..I wonder if my firsties would really enjoy the drama? So funny!

  8. This is the cutest darn idea!!! Love it! Thanks for hosting Flashback! :)
    ideas by jivey

  9. I'm smiling and laughing now. That is a great idea and I love that you dressed up like a judge.

  10. This seriously has to be the cutest end of the year activity I've seen!! I wish I were back in a classroom to do this, but I pinned it anyway so I don't forget just in case. Enjoy your last few days!

    Don't Let the Teacher Stay Up Late

  11. Such a great idea and pulled off with such fun! They'll remember that forever!
    Whimsy Workshop 

  12. Great story, great idea. That costume is cool, I should use it with some of my kids.

    Digital: Divide & Conquer

  13. This is the cutest idea! How fun!!

  14. You're too cute Amanda! I've used the judge idea for writing to "prove" they've elaborated! I love the idea of using to show they're reading to be promoted! Thanks for hosting!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  15. I LOVED your photo on instagram so much that I had to come read more about it! LOVE!!!

    The Eager Teacher

  16. OH MY GOODNESS...that is so cute! I dress up as a talk show host and question the characters after I read and they love it! I am going to have to try the jude...if I can just dig out that 15 year old graduation gown! I am excited to follow you!
    Two Friends In First

  17. Me again :) I LOVE this freebie!!!!!!

    Two Friends In First

  18. HA! You do not have me convinced that your days aren't perfect yet! I am so doing this. I love it! So I guess I can't retain any next year?!

  19. Loved reading your post! The robe becomes you! What great writing...

    Sarah @ Hoots N Hollers


Thanks for visiting my blog and sharing ideas! I love to read your comments. I like to reply back by email, so make sure you have that option enabled so we can chat! :)

Back to Top