Friday Letters Connect Parents to Your Classroom
A Simple, Yet Powerful Tool
Friday letters give me a window into things that my students may not tell me, but tell their parents. They afford me opportunities to see where I can quietly intervene or partner with parents to help a child socially, support them more emotionally, or even to celebrate accomplishments outside of school that I may not otherwise know about.
Skills At A Glance
is mastering and applying a variety of skills:
- writing conventions
- correct use of punctuation
- complete sentences
- writing the date
- use of transition words
- compound sentences
- vocabulary knowledge
Review The Format Of A Friendly Letter
At the beginning of the year, we review the format of, and how to write, a friendly letter. This is something our first graders learn, but I always spend time reteaching the purpose, the parts and the punctuation of a friendly letter. My goal is to get them started towards writing these letters independently.
What Can I Write About?
For the first few weeks, we brainstorm whole group and list on the board all of the things we learned and did during the week they could write about in their letters. Sometimes we make a big bubble map and sometimes we make a list. Sometimes we even make a tree map with the days of the week as the categories. These are quick teachable moments to talk about the purpose of different graphic organizers and how they can help us plan our writing. Later, they will do this on their own in their writing journals. The one thing we always do the same every.single.week is to end our letters with a question. This gives the recipient a start to writing back.
Make Friday Letters Manage Themselves
This routine will manage itself after a few weeks of practicing the procedure. I train my class to file their letters all going the same way, behind their previous letter. They can do this when they first arrive or at the end of the day. I found this filing cart at a garage sale years ago and it’s been perfect for storing and saving students’ writing portfolios. A crate would work well also.
But the Year Has Already Started
It’s easy to get started writing Friday letters with your class. You don’t have to start at the beginning of the year, you can start anytime. Just send home this parent letter explaining how it works and start writing!
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Visit this post to see how I teach students to manage their data folders themselves.