“I know this must be frustrating for you … Keep your nose clean and everything will be OK … Be careful and don’t do anything rash …”
While most letters are a little less cryptic than this one from Sirius Black to Harry Potter, communication from elders to our youth through letters is a memorable way to pass on knowledge in a personal way.
I few years ago I began writing letters and personal cards to the people I care about most. Generally this happens at Christmas but It also occurs infrequently throughout the year.
Through this practice, I came to find a love of letter writing and communicating through “snail mail”. While I’m a confessed Twitter addict, and love the power of digital communication, there is something rather magical about the power of letter writing, even if Hedwig isn’t delivering the post.
This week, I have decided to share my love of letters with my students. I had been discussing with them my desire to help expose them to as many different perspectives on life as possible, through sharing with them the stories of my various friends throughout the world.
While I had originally focused on bringing in guest speakers and having Skype interviews through my class SmartBoard. While this seemed interesting to the students and many of them were excited about it, something gave me a new idea.
A few weeks ago my friend, photographer Travis Longmore, had a Facebook competition where you could suggest someone for him to send a free framed photograph to. After many suggestions, my classroom was one of the lucky ones to receive a small print.
Travis sent his photograph of an elephant to my classroom along with a note. I had a student read the note aloud and then we shared the photograph around the class.
Through his act of kindness, I was given an idea, what if all of my friends from afar and those interested in sharing stories with my students were to write me a letter with a photograph or postcards and send it to the school? I could share these stories as they arrived and pin them to the wall.
Since having this idea, I have spoken to friends all over the world who are keen to share their story with the students. While some will send them via email, each story will be an opportunity to show students a different path and someone else’s tale. Hopefully at least one of these stories will be interesting to each of my students.
My plan is to then get a student to write back to each of those who have taken the time to write to them, building their communication literacy.
Fingers crossed this takes off! I have already had a few wonderful friends write a letter and tell me it’s on the way. If anyone has any other ideas to add to this project, I would really appreciate it in the comments below. ALSO, if you would like to send my class a letter, please let me know! 🙂
Oh, and if anyone has seen my letter from Hogwarts, feel free to hand it over. I’ve been waiting since I was about 9….