Lauren Hodson | November 2017

Building Relationships Through Letter Writing

It happens to the best of us: I was having a rough day.

You know what I mean… I was running late to school, forgot my lunch at home, had a discipline issue the first period of the day, a student rolled their eyes at me while I was trying to help them, I was second guessing throughout all my lessons, and questioning my value as a teacher… so I was feeling pretty darn low.

Before leaving for the day, I dragged my feet to my mailbox and inside was a folded piece of paper. “Oh great, what now?” I thought to myself. I was taken aback by what was inside. The moment I opened that paper, my day improved. It was a handwritten note from a student who was moving onto high school the following year.

Letters from students to teachers and administrators are incredibly valuable in building relationships but did you ever stop to think that they could also address standards in visual arts and ELA simply by creating some kindness cards to share within the school?

Artistic Processes: Use these techniques to create unique, thoughtful, and creative cards of appreciation.

Printmaking:

  • Design images with the theme of thanks, kindness, and appreciation
  • Foam, Linocut (with older students), or Monoprints

Drawing/Painting:

  • Make mini masterpieces. Small drawings or Paintings that can be made into cards or be glued to folded paper.

Technology/Media Arts:

  • Digital works of art can be created using a range of online platforms. Print the images and add to cards.
  • You may also be able to format documents into a card shape.

Teacher Participation:

  • During this process, jump on board! Write a letter to a student giving them some positive feedback about their perseverance or effort.
  • Think about writing some letters to faculty or staff of your own. They can be anonymous. Make a smile contagious.

Benefits:

  • It feels good to do good things
  • Models kindness to students and school community
  • Improves letter writing skills, spelling, grammar, and penmanship.

Helpful Links:

  • Printmaking Ideas For Kids by The Artful Parent:  HERE
  • 25 So Cool Printmaking Ideas by Art for Kids and Robots HERE
  • 40 Homemade Cards for Kids to Make by Tinker Lab HERE

Writing these letters can not only boost the spirit of a teacher, it can also benefit the students. The impacts that these notes have, especially if they’re a surprise, are far-reaching and provide the perfect boost to a teacher (or student!) that might be having a rough day, like I was.

Try spreading some kindness today!

About the Author

Lauren Hodson is a middle school visual and computer art educator in Plymouth, Massachusetts. As a mentor teacher and professional development presenter, Lauren is passionate about creativity and making art accessible for everyone. Her passions in STEAM and Arts Integration are at the root of her goal to collaborate with classroom teachers everywhere.