I LOVE writing summer introduction letters to my students! At first I was so overwhelmed by all of the possibilities. I wondered… Should my letter be addressed to the student, the parents, both? Should I spend time writing about my background as a teacher? Should I include anything about my family?
Now more than ever there are questions like: Should I send the letter digitally, or in the mail (in my experience kids REALLY REALLY love getting mail).
One thing is for certain building those school-home relationships is invaluable and you’ll want and need families as your partners in best serving their children! The truth is, regardless of how you’re teaching (in person, online, both) your students and families can’t wait to “meet you!”
After writing these a few years in a row here’s what I learned worked best:
1.Address the letter to your students- By name!
I used to this in Open Office Presentation (comparable to Powerpoint), but now I also use Google Slides which is nice to use especially if you are using Google Classroom and you plan to share your letter digitally.
I create the page just how I like it, then I duplicate the page and just change the student name on each page.
2.Write a little bit about you
I usually include two- three sentences and that’s it! I write to tell what I like to do, how many children I have, and of course, my pet. They LOVE to hear about pets! I don’t include a resume like list of my accomplishments and past experiences
3.Write to excite them
Share a few fun things that they will do in first grade! I like to share “You will become an author as you learn to write and illustrate your very own stories” for example. They don’t need a curriculum outline.
4.Give them 3 (ish) small details about the first day
I include Where and When to come to school- what to bring- and a little teaser about something fun that will happen on the first day.
5.Sign it with your name AND A PICTURE!
This is by far, in my opinion, the most important part of the letter. I have heard from countless students and parents how much they appreciated seeing my face before the school year so they knew what to expect!
Here’s a sample of a letter:
I have never sent home a letter directly to parents, but if you felt the need to, I would address it to “first grade family” and do it as a separate page. This might be especially helpful if you find that there will be a lot of changes in your school environment in the coming year.
Not only will this letter help your students seem reassured, it shows how much you care about their child already by writing a personal and welcoming message! They’ll need this especially when times seem uncertain!
This year I’ve revamped my template to be a little more friendly and I’m ready to share that with you too!
If you wouldn’t mind taking a couple minutes to answer the 5 questions as well, that would really help me out!
(This post was updated July 14, 2020)