You’ve Got Mail! (Using Letters to Connect with Students)

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by Kelli Lewis

Who doesn’t like getting mail? We all get that junk mail that we dread having to go through, but who doesn’t like getting personal letters in the mailbox for a nice surprise? I think it’d be safe to say that most of us wish we got them more.

Classroom Application:

Why not be that person and write your students daily letters? You may say you don’t have time to write each of your students everyday, and you don’t have to. What about typing up a few sentences to your class each day? I’ve seen this used by a teacher in a first grade classroom, and the students loved it.

What to Write:

The teacher simply wrote the students a letter for them to read each morning when they came into the classroom. This letter could include: something specific you did after school the day before, something specific that happened to you this morning, something specific someone in your family (or your pet) did, something specific you’re doing after school that day, any special school events happening for the day (ie. ceremonies, picture day, assembly, performance, etc.), lunch choices, what ‘special’ they are attending for that day (music, art, P.E., learning lab, etc.), a classmate’s birthday, etc.

Incorporate Grammar Practice:

Here’s the catch… don’t write the letter without any mistakes. Depending on what you are teaching in grammar/language at that point in the year, make specific mistakes to correlate with those standards. “Forget” to do a few things they should be able to catch.

For instance, you could “forget” to capitalize a sentence or proper noun, spell a word correctly, use the correct punctuation, etc. Make mistakes depending on what you expect your students to know. Start out making very few mistakes, to allow your students to get a feel on how this new letter idea is going to work. Then, progressively make mistakes more often.

You may also want to add in a mistake or two that isn’t something you have discussed quite yet. This could serve as a bonus, to see if anyone picks up on it. It would also be a great way to introduce a new concept you are going to be working on soon.

Morning Work:

Let this be your students’ morning work–for them to read the letter waiting on their desks, and then rewrite it the correct way. Get creative, make it interesting, and have fun with it! I have a feeling your students will like it. You could even ask your students to write letters back to you… or even to each other!

Kelli Lewis is an Early Childhood Education graduate student at the University of Georgia who often shares her wonderful ideas on A Learning Experience. (Lucky us!)

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1 Comment

Filed under Academic Success, Behavior Management, Classroom Community, grammar, Spelling, Writing

One response to “You’ve Got Mail! (Using Letters to Connect with Students)

  1. Rachel

    I have seen classroom mailboxes used several times, and I really like them because it helps to build communication between teachers and their students. I have used a mailbox where students were able to write me, as the teacher, notes and I would respond to them within a few days. Sometimes I would get letters about completely random topics, but sometimes I would get letters about why children are having bad days and students’ hopes and dreams! I think mailboxes are simple and rewarding!