This year, teachers all over the country will send their students off to summer vacation, just as they always do. Typically, schools can see an uptick in social-emotional needs as summer vacation draws near. Kids don’t always know how to express their biggest emotions in words. This means that students who are feeling anxious about being at home all summer, for whatever reason, might cry more, get angry more, retreat more, just feel more. After a year of constant questions about what learning looks like, the end of the 2021 school year might even present more of those “mores.”

In years past, I would be sure to provide extra time for kids to complete tasks. I built in more transition time and gave myself a couple of extra days to complete any projects or lessons. But how would you do that if you are still learning virtually? Or working on a hybrid model? Here’s one idea that can help create a real connection between you and your students this summer.

Summer Postcard Project Idea:

Save a couple of days for a “Summer Postcard” project. On this day, you will give each child a postcard-sized piece of paper with two blank sides. (You can make these on your own or purchase premade empty postcards.) Your students will each get to decorate one side of the postcard over two days. On the backside, add your address (home or school, whichever you feel most comfortable with) and a stamp. At some point in the summer, your students can write you a quick note, pop the postcard in a mailbox from anywhere, and send you a letter!

“Real, physical mail from a teacher who cares will make this summer feel a little special to kids who have already had a long year. When kids know you are thinking about them, they feel a connection.”

For your part, make sure you have an updated address for your students. You can design your own postcards or buy a stack of postcards with a design on the back. Over the summer, write a quick little note to each student. It can be something simple like, “Was thinking of you today when I read the funniest line in my book!” or “Can you believe all the rain we have this summer? Hope you are splashing in some puddles!” Be mindful of students whose home situation might warrant a special message or special delivery.

Real, physical mail from a teacher who cares will make this summer feel a little special to kids who have already had a long year. When kids know you are thinking about them, they feel a connection. We know these small gestures can mean a lot to students.

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Megan Howe

Megan Howe

Teacher and Children's Book Aficionado

Note: Fresh Ideas for Teaching blog contributors have been compensated for sharing personal teaching experiences on our blog. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company.

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