Creating a connection between home and school has such a huge impact on a student’s education. One way that I go about this is having students share with their families what we are learning in the classroom through a series of hand-written letters.
The students then write a letter, detailing a few of the ideas that we brainstormed. Most students choose to write to a parent, but I allow them to write to an adult (or older sibling) that they will see over the weekend. In a few cases, I’ve had students write to a teacher or other staff member, if I know that there might not be a lot of support at home.
The students then bring their notebook home on Friday afternoon and I ask that the parents respond to their child’s letter. It’s a great remedy for the question, “what did you do in school today?” I also love seeing the interaction between the student and the parent. I make sure to put a note to the parents at the beginning of the notebook so that they know what to expect.
At the beginning of the year, my second-graders start off writing just 3 sentences and asking a question.
We eventually move on to writing multiple paragraphs! It’s a wonderful way to see their writing grow and develop.
If the students bring their journal back on Monday with a parent response (or at least a signature), they receive a sticker for the cover of their journal. By the end of the year, it has a nice decorative look and the parents have a special keepsake!
It is great practice writing letters and it is a great review of what we have learned together. You can grab the letter template for free here. I shared more info on Friday Journals in my Facebook Live video, which you can watch here.