As a third consequence of your classroom management plan, I recommend a letter home to parents.
But probably not for the reasons you may think.
I can’t emphasize enough that consequences for misbehavior are only a small part of classroom management.
By themselves, they cannot deter students from misbehaving.
No set of consequences is strong enough on its own.
It’s all the other stuff—what this site is about—that makes for foolproof classroom management.
As Effective As Possible
And when combined with the right classroom management strategies, techniques, and procedures, you can create the class you really want—no matter who is on your roster or where you teach.
How To Send A Letter Home
Sending a letter home can be remarkably effective when done the right way.
1. Use a form letter.
A form letter—official looking and impersonal—strikes the right tone in communicating the seriousness of breaking rules and interrupting learning.
Click the link below to download a sample letter. Please take a look at it before reading the rest of the article. Also, feel free to use the letter or change it in any way you wish.
2. Hand it to the student immediately.
As soon as a student breaks a rule for the third time in one day, fill out the letter and hand it to him or her immediately.
3. Get the letter back.
If you don’t get the letter back the next day, simply follow up with a phone call. Chances are you’re being tested. Once you prove that you always follow through, however, you’ll rarely be tested again.
4. No surprises for parents.
Your classroom management plan and a sample of the letter should be included in the parent information packet you send home to be reviewed and signed during the first week of school.
5. No surprises for students.
Because you’ve taught your classroom management plan thoroughly, your students, too, shouldn’t be surprised when handed a letter. They should know the process of receiving consequences backwards and forwards.
Why A Letter Home
There are three reasons why you should send a letter home as a third consequence.
1. Parents have a right to know.
If a child breaks your classroom rules three times in one day, his or her parents have a right to know. One of the most common complaints parents have is that they’re not adequately informed of problems and concerns. A third-consequence letter ensures that they are.
2. It’s a responsibility.
The act of bringing the letter home and handing it to parents is a high level of responsibility.
3. It forces full-scale accountability.
A letter home forces students to be accountable to those affected by their misbehavior.
They’re accountable to you because they must get the letter signed and returned—honoring and respecting your authority. They’re accountable to their parents because they’re required to personally inform them of their misbehavior.
And they’re accountable to themselves—understanding that there are consequences for the choices they make.
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