Remember a period in time when we used to use paper to communicate? Getting a handwritten note is a novelty nowadays, and it means a lot.
How about we offer handwritten notes for our students to encourage them and stay on top of things?
Here are a few simple templates I’ve used that help me communicate with students to either encourage them or keep them on top of their work.
I keep a stack of these below on paper. When I hear a student play in a concert, take a role in a performance, or just do something awesome, I slip one of these notes in their personal mailboxes in my classroom. Verbal praise is one thing; taking time ahead of class to create a piece of written praise can go along way.
Missing homework check-in
You’ve told Johnny many times that he’s missed assignments in your class and that he is falling behind. You don’t seem to be getting across to him though. Why not loop in his Study Hall or Advisory teacher? Fill out a slip like this below requesting Johnny’s Study Hall teacher to do a grade check-in with him and take advantage of the study hour to catch up.
Lack of comprehension:
Don’t just grade homework and give it back to students with their grade. Make them do it until they show comprehension. Give it back to them with a pre-prepared note saying that they did not show comprehension and that they need to do it again. Or, for students who need a bit more support, give it to their homeroom or Study Hall teacher for follow-up. You might be more apt to do that if you have a stack of templates like this sitting at arm’s length.
This is a bit off-topic, but I have found the use of students having personal mailboxes to be quite useful. What notes, hand-outs, readings, and articles will we go over today? Students pick it up in their mailbox when they walk into class. Graded work to hand back? I no longer spend time walking around to students handing them their work. I put it in their mailbox ahead of time. Is a student absent? If you put class activities and graded work in their mailbox, they are sure to get it when they return.
What templates do you keep to encourage your high school students and/or keep your classroom running?