One of my favorite weekly activities we do is called Letters to the Teacher. I got the idea from a coworker and I absolutely LOVE it!
We started it during writing class when we talked about writing letters. Their last assignment was to write me a letter. The next week, I had letters to them that I wrote in response to the letters they wrote me the previous week. This cycle continues every week. Monday-Thursday, my students have a morning work packet they work on which is currently math facts and reading passages with questions to practice underlining the answers in the text. On Friday, each student has a letter from me on their desk.
One of the reasons I love Letters to the Teacher is because students are writing authentically and their writing has real life application. Whether you type it or write it, put it in an envelop or send it electronically- people write letters.
I also love that I am having regular conversations with EACH one of my students and each one of them is unique and individual.
In the beginning, almost all of the letters looked the same. They were full of ‘I love you! and You’re the best teacher ever!’ While I admit that it was nice to hear every week, that wasn’t what I wanted the letters to be. I wanted to interact with each child individually and connect with them.
To help students move beyond “I love you!”, I started reading them ‘letters’ I had gotten. In reality, no one wrote those letters, I made them up. I would read it to the class AND model how I would answer it.
I also make sure that I ask my students questions that will lead to discussion.
Anyone else write letters to their students?