The Debate: Have Students Copy a Behavior Letter to Parents or Send Generic One Home?

July 7, 2007 at 10:38 am | Posted in behavior, best practices, second grade, teachers | 4 Comments

The Situation

Every conscientious teacher should notify parents about the behavior expectations in the classroom.  I am planning my letter right now.

The Debate

Should I have my second grade students copy a letter to their parents or should I just send home a typewritten letter?

If the Students Copy

If the students copy the letter, it’s in their own handwriting.  They take more ownership of the behavior expectations.  The parents will feel thrilled at reading a letter from their child, even it it’s merely a copy, thus I’m building a sense of connection to the classroom for the parents.  However, some students won’t be able to copy this letter (I have two in particular I’ll post about later).  It will take time and I’m learning that second graders have VERY short attention span.  It will have to be a two session project or a very short letter, which is fine.

If the Teacher Sends a Copy

If I send a copy, then the students don’t take ownership, the parents may or may not read the letter, and while there is a home to school connection, it isn’t nearly as strong (I feel).  It’s quicker and easier though.

The Decision

I will have the students copy the letter, just because the benefits outweigh the hassle to my mind.  I will however have two typewritten copy prepared for my two students who won’t be able to copy.

Why did I bother to blog about this?  It helps me work through my tangled thoughts in my mind 🙂  I also like to blather.



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  1. I’m in favor of having students write their own letter if they CAN write their own letter (e.g. later in the year).

    If they can’t write on their own then they might not really be taking ownership of it if in their minds they’re just copying down lines and circles, particularly if they’re not able to read it. It may also negatively affect their attitude toward writing.

    But I don’t know any of the particulars like the students or what they did.

  2. Yeah, that’s part of my dilemma, I don’t fully know the students yet. I know two specific students can’t do it yet. I feel that I have many that can do this easily and can become very excited at sharing their classroom rules and consequences with their parents. There are plenty of students that I haven’t observed closely yet in the two days I had them. So, I guess the debate continues!

  3. I think its good to have the students write it. But why not combine the two features for students who can’t write or don’t write well. I have a behavior contract that is designed that way. Its a form that students fill out. Basically where they tell their side of the story, I tell mine andwe resolve to fix it. Would that kind of thing help. If it does, I’ll send you mine. It’s very “high schoolish,” but I’m sure that you could modify it or use it to get ideas to modify you own letter.

    P.s. I see that you are using word press, how are you notified of comments. . . are they emailed to you. How do I do that? With blogger, it emailed my comments and I was sure never to miss them and could respond to people. You can email me or respond here. I’ll be back in few days to check.

  4. I am teaching summer school beginning on Monday July 9th. At least for my students I will have them copy the rules. I was reviewing them this morning. For me, it is a combination of behavior expectations (rules), consequences, and rewards. I do have a typed copy that I’ll sent out as a home copy. The copy the students write out and returned signed, I will keep as a school copy. If you have a chance join us on Monday July 9th at 4:00p.m. for our first Webcast; It’s Elemenatary. Our first topic is on classroom blogs in the elementary.

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