Letter to Colleagues

Dear <Name and Title of your Host Teacher/Co-Teacher/Teacher Friend/Principal/>:

<Recently/This summer/Last month/This weekend/Over the break…>, I participated in a profession learning experience with <Name the sponsoring organization or program: e.g. LUTE-STEM/Noyce-STEM/Scratch in Practice/Facing History/The Danielson Group/The New York City Writing Project/Stem4All…> at <Name the institution the organization or program is associated with: e.g. Lehman College/MIT…>. I learned a lot about <Make a list of the educational theories and practices that you were introduced to in these workshops.> 

There was a lot to think about and to consider how to apply in the classroom, and in this letter I’d like to focus on <choose one topic, theory, approach, or idea that you think is important> because <Write a few sentences to explain why you have chosen this. What makes it urgent to try out? What was your own experience in learning this? What do you want students to learn? What is it about your students that makes this particularly apt?  Why do you think this will be effective?> 

I would like to propose that we <Describe the learning activity that you want to do with the students. Write this brief overview of the task in one or two sentences. This should be an activity conducted in a school setting with one or more students. It should take between 15 and 60 minutes to complete.>

To do this we will need <Make a list of the materials you will need. Your activity can be unplugged or computer/tablet based activity/task. If computer/tablet-based, indicate types of tech tools/platforms students will use. For example: Presentation Software, Voice Recording App or Web Site, Image Library, Video Recording App or Web Site.>

The students will be making <Be specific about the modes and media you will have available for student to use. What choices will they be able to make? What media do you expect students to use in this activity?>

When the students complete this activity they will have made progress on these <two/three/four> standards from <Be specific about where you are copying these standards from, and use standards recognized as important in your school>

  • <Standard 1>
  • <Standard 2>
  • <Standard 3>
  • <Standard 4>

Here’s how I think we might introduce this activity. We could give these directions to the students:
<Write the step-by-step directions you will be giving the students. Be sure to write this section to the students: e.g. First, you should… After that, you will see that… Tell the students when they will be expected to work alone and when they will need to work with other students.>

I would also propose that the students give each other feedback on their work. They could use this checklist to self-assess and to give each other feedback:

  • I can <describe what the student is expected to be able to do at each step.>
  • I can …
  • I can …
  • I can …

This activity should take at least <add the number of minutes it will take here> to complete, which should allow time for productive struggle. To encourage persistence, I think we might <Describe how you might encourage students and give them opportunities to revise and resubmit their work.>

When they have finished this activity, I would be great if we could ask the students to write and talk about how they used one of these <two/three/four>Habits of Mind.

  • <Habit of Mind 1>
  • <Habit of Mind 2>
  • <Habit of Mind 3>
  • <Habit of Mind 4>

I will also use these Habits of Mind to give the students both written and oral feedback while they are working and once the finish their work!

Thank you for taking the time to consider this proposal. I hope you see how valuable this activity could be for our students. Please let me know if you have any revisions that I might consider for this activity. I look forward to working with you on this.

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