Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Back to School Series: First Day Letter

Welcome back for day 2 of the "Back to School Series" posts. Today's entry is going to be on...

The first day of school is always a hectic one. You can't wait to meet your students. Your students can't wait to meet you. And of course, the parents can't wait to meet you too. 

Besides spending a day (or half day in my case this year) with your new students, you probably also receive a packet of stuff to send home from the school. That packet of stuff is very important, but the one thing that most parents are probably looking forward to reading the most is your first day letter. It's not only your first piece of communication with the families of your students, it also gives the parents an idea of what to expect for the upcoming school year. This is a very important piece of document, my friend. It must be thought out well!

Here are some of the things I include in my first day letter:
*Introduce Myself
*School Schedule
*Necessary Supplies (and Wishlist)
*Food Allergies
*Class Website
*Upcoming Important Dates
*Contact Information

I also include a mini permission slip that allows me to post student pictures and videos on my class website, and a quick volunteering survey for parents to fill out so that I can get an idea of what my volunteer pool will be like when I decide on my volunteer roles for the year.

I know it's all really logistics and stuff, but what you include in your first day letter shows the parents what is most important to you in order to make the year a successful year. Sure, a lot of it is in a parent or school handbook, but when the teacher puts it in his/her own letter, it just emphasizes how important those topics really are and how much the parents should pay attention to them.

The nice thing about the first day letter is that once you create one, you are pretty much set for every year as long as you don't change schools. And this is also a piece of document that you can have done in the summer before the school year even starts. You will probably have to change small tidbits in your letter every year, but you don't have to create from scratch again. In fact, what I end up changing the most every year are the images I use in my letter so that it matches with my classroom theme. 

Unfortunately for me, I am at a new school this year, so there are still pieces of my letter that are not done yet since I need to wait to find out what the school policies are. But I am sharing my first day letter from 2012 below for you to download and use as a reference to help you get started on your own. Click the screenshot below to see it!

Hope this information was helpful! 
Do you include the same topics in your first day letter?
Do you think there are any other topics that should be included in the letter?
I would love to hear your thoughts! :)

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Pam, I am so glad I found your blog in hanging Around in Primary. I'll be following! I like blogs like yours that provide tips and ideas. We can all use new ideas, right!
    This year for my welcome letter, I'm trying a brochure. In the brochure I included contact information for all the teachers involved with my class (music, art, library, the deans, and the front office). I'm also including resource schedule, lunch time, our classroom rules and expectations, and dismissal procedures. I teach Kindergarten, so parents need a lot of information since some of them are first timers in a "big" school. We have separate forms for school supplies and wish list. We'll see how that goes.
    Anyway, have fun blogging!!
    Tweets From Kindergarten