Monday, March 11, 2013

You've Got Mail!

As a child I loved getting things in the mail. I dutifully checked the mailbox every day, hoping to find something for me waiting inside. On the rare occasions that I actually did get something, I was thrilled! Getting real mail made me feel special. I still have a card that my first grade teacher sent me for my birthday.

I try to communicate with my kids in various ways, whether it's a pat on the back or a comment left on a post-it in their notebooks. Another way I like to communicate with my kids is by sending postcards. Our society is increasingly text and email oriented, and I want the kids to experience that same thrill I did as a kid when I actually got real mail. I don't tell the kids I am sending the postcards, I simply put the cards in our outgoing mail basket in the office and wait for them to arrive. The kids get a kick out of them! I always know the cards have been received because the kids will ask "Did you send me mail?" or a few will bring the card in to show me for proof.

I send cards for various reasons. I typically will send one at the end of each writing unit. One year I sent each child a card praising their effort on our state tests. I've also sent cards to welcome new students to our class or to praise a specific child for something I've seen them do in the classroom.

It can be hard for me to remember who I've mailed cards to and who I haven't. I try to keep it fair and mail one to each student before mailing a second one out. To help me keep track I address an entire class set. That way after I mail one or two out, I still know who I have left to mail cards to because their card is still in my stack. When I run out of addressed cards then I can start again.

Here is one type of cards that I send out. These are provided by our school. Usually we are required to complete one of these as exit slips at faculty meetings or other events. The front of the card says "I Noticed..." and the back has room for a message. I'll use these kinds of cards for messages like "I noticed you working hard today during writing time" or "I noticed you making good choices during independent reading today." The kids love these.

I also send out these cards. I had these made at They say "Good News" on the front and "Mrs. Hamilton is proud of me!" on the back. I used the card style on the right at the beginning of the year. The style on the left is what I am using now. I found these templates at Vistaprint by searching "kids" for the right style and "dots" for the left style. I changed the font faces and the text boxes to make the cards say what I wanted. I use these cards for positive feedback ("I loved reading your poetry anthology!") or other comments for the kids.

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