Good for: quarter/semester/year-end check-ins. Could be altered to be used for unit or chapter reflection as well.
You are going to write a love letter (or break-up letter, as the case may be) to Spanish class. The purpose of this is for me to gather information about how both you and I are doing in class. Please answer or complete at least four of the following seven questions/comments. Be honest. No solid relationship is built on lies.
When I take a good, hard look at our relationship I see…
What have you done for me lately?
I’m going to offer you this advice…
If I could have changed something I did in our relationship, it would be…
What have been the good times? The bad?
From you, I need…
Here’s where I see our relationship going…
What I really need you to know about me is…
- Note, please, that I intentionally made the love letters to Spanish class and not to me. That would be all kinds of awkward. And illegal. I also explicitly explained this to students. Just something to consider, should you want to steal the idea.
- Use as a closure activity. Give the kids around 10 minutes to write and encourage them to find creative ways to say whatever they want. They’ll leave class both reflective and entertained by your bizarre request.
- My questions were reasonably broad as I was using this for a semester check-in. Tightening up or altering the questions can give you more specific feedback. (ie. The last month that we have been dating has been…If I had to describe the one activity this week that most benefited our relationship…)
These are a few of the letters I received. I do not recommend showing sample letters to students before they write their own, as that will result in a lot of similar letters and style formats. Force the kids to make it up as they go. I did want to post a few of the ones I have received in the past, however, as an idea of what kind of feedback you might get.
#1: Dear Spanish Class,
When I take a good, hard look at our relationship, I can see that we are doing so well. I love spending time with you. You have given me so much, but I just haven’t put in the effort that is necessary. I’ve been spending too much time with my mistress, who has obviously had an impact on my evenings and nights. This mistress is AP Government, and our love child is the Policy Paper. I’m so sorry I had to tell you this now, but later is better than never. I need a slower-paced quarter to get to the end of the semester. What you really need to know about me, Spanish class, is I think we will be together forever.
P.S. Sorry about being unloyal.
#2: Dear Spanish Class,
When I think about our relationship, I see that you’ve become a little wrong for me. You just wanna have some sorta deal with some perfect speaking, but guess what…I’m not perfect. I’ve put in hard work, girl, I’m stepping my game up. I’ve been taking notes and doing my homework. But I didn’t really appreciate all those times when I had to play those games with you – especially those online vocabulary ones. So tricky. You always switched up those verbs. But you ain’t pulling that 3-hour stuff on me again. I didn’t enjoy speaking to you orally neither. What I really need to tell you is that I’m kind of in this relationship with English class…and she really knows how to talk.
#3: Dear Spanish Class,
When I look at our relationship, I see unicorns riding dolphins. I’m just confused. I think the hints you give about yourself sometimes come off too strong. I am not eager to please you, and according to my grade, neither are you. I am not giving the relationship all I can because once I have my graduation requirements…well…I’ll put it this way.
Roses are red
Violets are blue
Trash gets dumped
And so do you.
Be prepared to either touch base with students one-on-one or respond to letters. Responding to everyone one isn’t necessary, but I had several students request in a P.S. that they would like a letter in return. I also followed up with brief notes to any student expressing struggles or frustration. The response was huge – I immediately saw an attitude change in a couple of students, and had a number come by my room for extra help simply because I had offered it in a note signed “I believe we can fix this. Sincerely, Spanish Class.” By verbally touching base with kids, I found they were willing to share even more information with me once they saw I had cared enough to actually read what they wrote and follow up with them on it afterwards.
Please share any good ones you receive!