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Back to School: Classroom Welcome Letters

Posted by in The English Classroom | 2 comments

The first days back to school always entail a flurry of documents that students and parents alike must read, sign, and return. Like many teachers, you probably spend the first day of class going over the rules and expectations of your classroom. It’s important to start the year with the right tone, and a great classroom welcome letter can really help.

Free kindle books, girl reading

You can view an example of the ENG 9 Qtr 1 Welcome Letter  that I sent home with my English 9 students. Feel free to use the document as a template to format your own letter. I’m happy to be of assistance! It’s possible to photocopy the following details on double-sided sheet of paper. A thorough back to school letter should contain the following:

  1. Contact Information
  2. Teacher Biography
  3. Course Purpose
  4. Course of Study
  5. Supplemental Materials
  6. Student Responsibilities
  7. Needed Supplies
  8. Organization Pointers
  9. Website Address
  10. Code of Conduct
  11. Discipline Policy
  12. Homework Policy
  13. Missing Class
  14. Late Work
  15. Handbook Policies
  16. Assessment Measures
  17. Extra Credit
  18. Portfolio, Labs, etc.
  19. Signatures

We all know that introducing classroom rules and expectations can be pretty boring for both teacher and student, but you should only be limited by your imagination over how to introduce the concepts in your back to school letter to your students. The worst thing you can do is just to read it to them! UGH. 

What unique approaches have you tried to communicate such information to your students?

Photo credit: rachel sian / Foter / CC BY-NC

Article by Jeri Walker-Bickett aka JeriWB

Jeri Walker-Bickett
JeriWB writes short stories, creative nonfiction, and psychological suspense. The rough Idaho mining town she grew up in populates her literary landscape. She also works as a freelance editor.
Jeri Walker-Bickett

@JeriWB

Author of short stories, creative nonfiction, and psychological suspense. Blogger of writing tips and lit chat. Freelance editor. http://t.co/sfCsmQ5hyM
5 Lessons from Michael Hauge's 'Story Mastery' Workshop http://t.co/YqxUKc2iNX via @LitCentralOC - 28 mins ago
Jeri Walker-Bickett
Jeri Walker-Bickett
Jeri Walker-Bickett
I offer a variety of freelance editing services. Previously, I served as an editorial assistant with The Idaho Review, Boise State's literary journal.

2 Comments

  1. I have only been a substitute teacher. Ironically, I’ve taught 9th graders. I have a question for you. Would the students pay closer attention to your welcome letter if it was written as a more personal one? I’m thinking particularly about where you write about yourself, the teacher. Instead of writing about yourself in 3rd person, they may respond better if you made it 1st person so that they can get to know your personality.

    Just a suggestion.

    • Glynia, I keep the letter short and to the point because there’s so much to cover in the first few meetings. Most years, I started off with a PowerPoint set to music that incorporates pictures from my returning students who are now sophomores. For the freshmen, I do a variety of getting to know you activities depending on what feels appropriate. So the letter is really just a jumping off point that is part of many other activities that work to build a sense of community and respect.

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