A New Way To Connect With Students
You might be asking yourself, what IS a Friday Letter? Well, each week I have my students write a letter to me about their week. I always keep a generic list on the board of things that they can write about. This way, it is clear and consistent each week. However, I also often add different topics that I want them to write about. At the beginning of the year, it’s often “tell me about your family” or “tell me a story about you and your best friend.” But, by the end of the year, we talk about deeper things, like “tell me how you can make the world a better place” or “what are you hopes and dreams for second grade” or I base it off of what I have been told in my letters. You would be surprised at what students will put in writing that they will be too scared to say aloud. I often get “I am lonely and don’t have many friends” which provides me with the knowledge to watch out for that student, the ability to connect that student with similar students, and the ability for me to write advice for that student on ways he or she may be able to solve that problem.
It seems like a lot of time, but for my class it is SO worth it. It is a great way to get to know the kids, to see what kids like and don’t like about school, and to learn new things that you would never know about kids. Some kids always want to write about football and superheroes, while other kids just want to ask all of the questions in the world. Either way, it is so fun and funny to read what they have to say!
My students will sometimes plan all week for what they write in their letters by making a list of things that come to mind throughout the week, and then using that list to write a well thought out letter. This is a great way to get students excited about writing, building writing stamina and motivated to write for an audience. Other teachers in my building have also used this system for students to write to parents rather than teachers, and then the parents write back in a notebook all year long. I think this is great for goal setting and to keep parents connected with what is happening in a classroom. I could also see this working well with a fifth grade buddy classroom, or other peers.
Snag this Friday Letter Anchor Chart for free from my Teachers Pay Teachers store here.
This idea was modified from some fantastic colleagues at my school who have students write to their parents every week! (Johanna Freund and Kristin Holmquist from Holmquist’s Homeroom, to name a few.) It has been a fantastic way for me to connect with my students, and I hope you can take some of these tips and embed them into your own classroom community.
I hope that you found this blog post helpful for your classroom! Please feel free to leave feedback below, and follow my blog for more tips and tricks. There will be one new post every Monday throughout 2018! Enjoy :).