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Innovation: Writing Personal Letters to Students

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This week's Carnival of Education has a post by ELL teacher and blogger Larry Ferlazzo on how he's recently tried writing personal letters to some of his students.

In the letter that he posts, which he says he handed to the student in a sealed envelope with his name on it, Ferlazzo tells the youth why he hopes he will stay in school. Ferlazzo says he'd be sorry if the young man wouldn't use all the "smarts" that he has. The letter contains some tough love.

This is such a simple way for teachers to establish a connection with their students, but I've actually never heard of any teacher doing it.

5 Comments

Mary Ann,

Sometimes we don't think of doing the simplest things, and are surprised (as I was) by the effect doing them has on others.

Larry

Really?...You've never heard of someone actually doing this? How sad!! During my student teaching experience, my cooperating teacher shared with me something that she did at the start of every year: "Our Letters Journaling". Each day for the first month of school, the students were asked to write a response to a chosen question, and each day, she wrote back an individual response to each student. By the end of the month, so much was known on both sides by both teacher and students. Trust was built; relationships forged. She would always save the letter journals until the end of the year, at which point she would write a very special last letter in each one before giving them back to the kids to keep. I've been teaching for 13 years now and have never started a school year without these letter journals...with all kids...from primary to middle school. Time consuming? Yes! Worth every second of it? ABSOLUTELY!!!

I write reader's letters to each student (29 this year) each week in a notebook that goes back and forth all year long. Usually one a page long, we chat about books and life in general. It's one of the hardest things I do, but one of the most important. We build relationships as readers and as people, too. It takes many hours, but I'd give up a lot of things before I gave up my readers letters.

Very nice idea.

I am a pre k teacher and I have 2 1/2 yrs to 3yrs old I am teaching since last 7 years .. my students enjoy journal, sometimes i give them topic and they draw most cutest drawing you can imagine.

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