I like to do these a few times a year. “Letters to Mr. Little (LTML)” are free writes that share some information about students that I don’t get through class. It’s also a good way to build rapport with students, something that’s often overlooked in he learning process.
it is easy to see how rapport-building contributes to creating a context for establishing a positive emotional classroom atmosphere and helping students learn. After all, most students view their courses as much more than mere intellectual exercises. They often develop strong feelings about their courses and their teachers, which may be positive or negative, depending on whether those teachers take steps to build rapport or to alienate them. By not actively seeking to build rapport, we may unwittingly alienate our students.
Naturally, I don’t want to alienate anyone! But conversely – we want all students to feel welcome in my classroom, to feel like they have a voice, and I want to build my lessons in a way that reflects their interests and the way they learn. Building rapport and learning about them in letters like this is a major part of any success we have this year in the learning process.
For your LTML, I need the following 3 paragraphs:
- (Optional, since we just did the Student Inventory Sheet) What do you like or dislike about school? How do you learn? What kinds of things do you enjoy doing in school?
- Tell me about yourself! What’s your family like? What kind of activities are you involved in? What adventures can you share? How would your parents describe you?
- (Pick one of these) What quote or line from a song describes you? (or) What is your absolute favorite thing to do in the world?
Can’t wait to see what students write tomorrow!