Friday Letters Connect Parents to Your Classroom
Every parent wants to know what their child is learning and how they are doing in school. One fun and informative way to keep your parents connected to your classroom is through Friday letters. Every Friday my students write a letter home telling their parents and families all about their week at school.
Students return the letters to school where we file and save them. At the end of the year, I bind all of their letters into keepsake books for students to take home.
A Simple, Yet Powerful Tool
Friday Letters. Writing a letter every Friday to Mom and Dad. It’s such a simple little thing, but a powerful one. Besides cultivating a consistent connection between my students’ homes and my classroom, I learn a lot from these letters. They give me weekly insight into my students’ thoughts and feelings, excitements and anxieties, about school, their friends, what happens at home, and even how they feel about the food in the cafeteria.
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.
Each hanging file has a student number and a file folder (their writing portfolio) inside. The Friday letters go behind the file folder. At the end of the year I even have my students go through their own letters to make sure they’re set and organized before binding. If you don’t have access to a comb binder a heavy duty stapler works great too.
Flip Your Friday Letters
I’ve gotten many questions over the years about what to do when parents don’t write back to their child. I resolve that issue in two ways.
- I ask my student if they would like to write their letters and keep them all in their file, without sending them home, so they still have a keepsake book at the end of the year.
- I flip the Friday Letters and have students write to me. I write them back and they file the letters for their keepsake book. they have a book of letters to their teacher instead of to parents.
Flipping your Friday letters during school closures or school breaks is a wonderful way to stay connected to your students. Instead of writing to parents, students write weekly letters to their teacher. The free starter kit below includes a book cover that says, “Weekly letters to my teacher” if you need it.
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!
Get a Free Friday Letters Starter Kit
Inside the starter kit:
- Ready to use parent letters
- Editable parent letters
- 6 Book covers-For letters written to parents/caregivers and letters written to the teacher.
- 3 Styles of book covers for younger and older students
- 6 Stationary pages in 2 line styles
- Graphic organizers
Where To Get Stationary
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