Every teacher has to send papers home. It’s just part of life. But what’s the most effective way to do it? Many schools designate one day of the week when the office sends home school newsletters, fliers, etc. so the parents aren’t bombarded daily with papers. Some teachers choose to only send papers home on this same day. Here are some thoughts about only sending papers home once a week:
- It doesn’t overwhelm parents
- you don’t have to worry about it everyday before the kids go home
- You have to plan ahead; last minute notes home might go unseen if they’re not sent on the designated day
- You have to have an organized place where papers can sit in your classroom until they are to be sent home
Personally, I sent things home everyday (when I taught 6th grade). My policy was that I would return to the students any papers that got a grade. That way, they could check the papers against the progress reports I sent home and make sure that they got credit for the work they had done. It was super easy for me: I would put graded papers (things that weren’t super important) in a yellow mailbox, and students would help me deliver the papers to mailboxes at the back of the room when they were done with their work. The mailboxes were cardboard magazine boxes with a student-decorated name tag on the front. One of the classroom jobs was mailman. This person was allowed to deliver papers during read aloud and was responsible for making sure the mailboxes got emptied at the end of the day.
Regardless of when you choose to send home papers, it’s important to have an effective system that doesn’t take too much time and effort for you. One teacher used a crate with files for each student. She would select only the most important work to be sent home, as well as anything from the office. Here’s what her crate looked like:
I also heard a cool idea from a fellow teacher that I might also add: Proud Book. In the beginning of the year, have a book bound with blank construction paper for each week of the school year for each student. Then each week, students pick their assignment they are most proud of to glue into the book. They write a couple of sentences on the opposite page about why they are proud of it.