meeting new teachers: hello, teacher notes!
Today we spent a few minutes doing one of our favorite back-to-school activities–one that gives my kiddos a chance to say a little ‘hello’ to their teachers even before they meet them at the Open House.
A while after breakfast and after we all enjoyed some much-needed end-of-summer downtime, I printed out Hello, Teacher Notes for Maddy, Owen, and Cora.
It was a gorgeous morning, so I thought it would be perfect for a slow walk up to the school to deliver the notes before we crammed in a front-yard, clean-out-the-fridge picnic and an afternoon pool trip.
Here’s the note-writing skinny:
- Meeting New Teachers with Hello Teacher Notes: We sat down at the dining room table, sharpened pencils in hand, and we got rolling.
Owen and Cora used the same template, the Hello Teacher Note. It has a spot for kiddos to add a tiny picture of themselves and to write their name and birthday (because kids need to know their birthdates!).
The Hello Teacher Note also have spaces for kids to write their favorite food, sport, animal, book, holiday, and activity.
He’d think for a minute or so and give me his answer, and I’d say, ‘Hot dogs’ are your favorite food. What sound do you hear at the beginning of ‘hot dog’? (He’d tell me.) You got it. And what letter makes the ‘hhhh’ sound? Right–’h’. So we spell ‘hot dog’ with an ‘h’, then an ‘o’, and what sound do you hear at the end of ‘hot’? Yes, my friend. ‘Tttt’ and ‘t’ makes the ‘tttt’ sound. Hot is spelled, ‘h-o-t’.
We walked through the Hello Teacher Note with this kind of shared writing, with me writing the words on a sheet above his and giving him the difficult sounds. My focus was to have him isolate and identify the beginning and ending sounds of the words.
With Cora’s note, I really just had her write her name, and I wrote as she dictated. She was happy to be able to write her name on her own while we talked about her favorites.
I really was glad that she has reached a point where she’s comfortable–and confident–writing her name. Woo-hoo!
Maddy’s finished Hello Teacher Note–my soon-to-be second grader!
I made Maddy’s note a little bit different, since she’s heading to grade two–the bigger leagues. I wanted Maddy to have more ownership of the note and to respect the fact that she is becoming a stronger writer and more creative thinker.
The Hello Teacher Note, grade two has a spot for a photo and a place for the child and teacher’s name, but instead of a quick favorites fill-in, it has lines for a short note. Maddy wrote something along the lines of,
Dear [teacher's name],
My favorite things are [favorite food], [favorite sport], [favorite animal], and [favorite holiday]. I am excited for school to start!
She used the fill-in’s on Owen and Cora’s notes as a guide, which was fine with me. I didn’t have her do a rough draft and a final, but I did have her re-check the spelling of some of her words before she put it into an envelope.
And really, she didn’t stretch her brain like I’d hoped, but she did write the note without complaint, which really, is all I can ask for some days.
When everyone was finished, they folded their notes and put them in envelopes, writing the teacher’s name on the front. I wrote the address to Cora’s preschool on her envelope, added a stamp, and she sent it on its way.
We walked up to the school to put Maddy and Owen’s notes in their teachers’ mailboxes, and we headed back to the homefront for one of our last lazy days of summer.
And that’s it–a little bit of sneaky learning, happy back-to-school style!