I returned home from running errands about 30 minutes ago and found a thick, manila envelope in my mailbox. It was from Ruth. What could she be sending me? I wondered. I turned the envelope over and found the words HAPPY MAIL! emblazoned on the back. I smiled immediately. I like getting mail that’s not bills, junk mail, or catalogs. I opened the envelope and found a magazine all about Slice of Life Scrapbooking inside, along with a couple of cards. It made my day to receive this from Ruth since:
- It deals with a Challenge we hold here every Tuesday.
- It wasn’t a catalog, piece of junk mail, or a bill I had to pay.
- It showed me that she was thinking of me.
The third item in my list is the most important. When we show others we’re thinking of them, it helps them feel special and needed in this world. Adults need this, but so do kids.
Have you ever left a hand-written note in a student’s classroom mailbox to say, “I noticed what you did earlier today and thought that was very kind. You should be so proud of yourself.” OR “I thought you might want to read this article. I know you’re interested in this topic. Let me know what you think when you finish it.”? If not, try it. Watch their face light up. Often times, the child will save that piece of mail from you. Why? Because it’s happy mail!!! They don’t have to show it to a parent. It was given to them because something made you think of them. It was only addressed to them.
Try giving each of your students a piece of happy mail at least once a month. It will improve a student’s morale. Most certainly, it will show your students that you care about them as people.
I am a literacy consultant who has spent the past dozen years working with teachers to improve the teaching of writing in their classrooms. While I work with teachers and students in grades K-6, I'm a former fourth and fifth-grade teacher so I have a passion for working with upper elementary students.
I'm the author of Craft Moves (Stenhouse Publishers, 2016) and the co-author of Jump Into Writing (Zaner-Bloser, 2021), Welcome to Writing Workshop (Stenhouse Publishers, 2019), and Day By Day (Stenhouse, 2010).