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Sunday, November 1, 2015

Friday Letters - Easy Parent Communication

I'm always trying to think of new ways to keep parents and families in the loop about what's going on in our classroom.  I use lots of different ways to meet different parents needs -- paper newsletters, e-mails, the Remind App, but I've decided on my favorite...FRIDAY LETTERS!


I still use the communication methods listed above, but Friday Letters have become one of my absolute favorite parts of our classroom routine. The process has evolved over the years, but the way it looks now is every Friday, my kids take out their Friday Letter notebook and write a letter to their parents about what they've learned in school that week, challenges they've faced, successes they've had, and just life in general. ("Can we please have pizza this weekend???") Then, and I think this is the coolest part, over the weekend, parents sit down and write a letter back to their child.  It honestly warms my heart seeing the letters that are written back and forth on a weekly basis.  Kids are telling their parents cool facts they've learned, what they are reading in class, that they are having a hard time getting the hang of multiplication, or that they've made a new friend in class.  The letters back from parents are encouraging, full of advice, pride, and love.  And sometimes reminders about sloppy handwriting! :)

Writing about the books she read this week.
Friday Letters serve a few important purposes:
  • Kids are keeping their parents in the loop about what is going on in the classroom.
  • Students are practicing their writing with an authentic purpose.
  • Parents are able to model good writing for their students. 
  • They further build the relationship between parents and students. 
  • These notebooks serve as a chronicle of a (school)year in the life of a child.  Parents and/or students can hang on to these for years!
Telling his mom what he learned from Time for Kids.

On Mondays, I do a quick check to see if Friday Letters have been completed.  We keep track with a chart on the back cover and a sticker every Monday each time a letter is written.  For every 5 stickers the kids get a small reward.  In a perfect world, every student would have a letter back from their parents every week, but I know life gets in the way sometimes! I'll send home reminders, and for most families that is effective. The student forgot to show their mom and dad, or it  was just one of those weekends.  No big deal.  We put forth every possible effort to get students' family members to write to them, but as a last resort, I will have our principal, assistant principal, or another adult at school write back to them.  


I HIGHLY recommend starting Friday Letters in your classroom, even if it's the middle of the school year.  You'll love seeing the connection and communication between students and their parents!

UPDATED:  You can grab a copy of the cover page and parent letter (HERE}