Last year I tried something new and I will be doing it again this year. I wrote a letter to my students and in return they wrote back to me. It was great for a few reasons. They got to know about me (I'm an actual person!) and I, in turn, got to know about them. Additionally, I got a writing sample from them. While I am not a writing teacher, I do expect my students to write in my class. The last bonus, it was a grade in the gradebook.
This is the sample that I am writing this year. I x'ed out the locations here on the blog. In the classroom I will have the actual place names there. I may take out the "Favorite World History Teacher" part out. I like to joke about things like that but usually wait to see which classes I can do that with and which ones I cannot.
Thursday, August 15, 2013
Dear 8th Grader:
Hello and welcome to World History I! I want to take a few minutes and tell you about myself and ask something in return.
As you know, my name is Mrs. Fxxxxx. This is my 5th year here at FMS. I taught some of you last year in 7th grade. I look forward to getting to know you over the school year.
I live in Mxxxxx, which is near Sxxxx Mxxxxx Lake. My husband and I will be married for 14 years this year. My husband works in Rxxxx. We have two boys: a 6th grader here at FMS and a 4th grader at Mxxxxx Elementary School. We have three pets: a dog named Charlie Brown and two frogs.
In my spare time I enjoy spending time at Smith Mountain Lake on our boat or dock, reading (I read # books this summer), visiting with my family and playing cards with friends.
This summer we went on a Western Caribbean cruise and I was able to visit places I have never been before: Haiti, Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Mexico. Mexico was my favorite as I got to visit the ancient Mayan ruins of Tulum, which we will talk about later this school year. I also spent time on the lake, visited with family in Georgia and took a few day trips around Virginia.
Okay, now it’s your turn. I want you to get out a sheet of paper and write me a letter. You need to introduce yourself (your first and last name) and your age. Tell me where you live (the area is fine: Fxxxx, Gxxxx, Bxxxxx, Lxxxxx) and who lives in your house (people and animals). Also, tell me about your summer. Telling me it was awesome or boring will not suffice. You need to give me descriptions. Then tell me about your favorite class or subject and one goal you have for this school year.
This assignment is your first grade for the new school year. Do you best and I look forward to reading your letter.
Your favorite World History Teacher (because I'm your only World History Teacher!),