“I haven’t received my ‘welcome back’ letter yet.”
With many weeks remaining before the official start of school, my young friend was worried about not receiving her official back-to-school letter. Her words made me realize the power simple letters/notes have in building a positive home-school connection. Students look forward to mail personally addressed to them, and the “official” letter builds excitement for the new year.
Here are four ways to create a sense of classroom community before the first day of school.
- Update the “old-fashioned” letter with a QR code. Make the letter talk with an audio QR code of you reading the letter. Add back-to-school tips, fun information about you, and a reminder to keep reading before the first day. I recorded in Audacity, saved the audio link in Dropbox, and created the QR code with QR Code Generator.
- Hold a welcome back team-based Twitter chat session. Share books each teacher read over the summer, school news, and what to expect in the upcoming year. Email transcripts of the sessions to families that don’t use Twitter.
- Post a 10-day countdown on your school’s website. Each day, post a “get ready for school” tip. For example, “There are only ten day until school starts. How many books have you read this summer? If you read one each remaining day, you’ll have read ten books this summer. Wow!”
- Leverage the popularity of webcomics, graphic novels and comics with a back-to-school comic strip. Canva’s comic strip maker is easy to use and has free images, templates, and quick tutorials. It’s a great way to introduce yourself and make your students laugh. Post the comic strip on your school/classroom website, email it to families, or mail it in the form of a comic strip postcard: