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Positive Postcards
posted by: Jill | September 15, 2010, 03:30 PM   

“Miss! My mom got the postcard you sent! ” exclaims Andrea through a genuine grin of pleasure.

Searching for more positive reinforcement ideas?  Postcards.  All discipline plans need to address the consequences of student behavior.   And remember, consequences can also be positive.  Sending postcards was one of my positive reinforcement techniques.

They’re easy to send.  They’re cheap.  They’re quick to write.  I sent one to every student throughout the year.  And I could send it for whatever reason I chose—a good test score, kindness, determination, improved behavior, a positive attitude, a correct answer.

I don’t remember how the positive postcard came about; I think that I stumbled upon the idea when I saw a “Just a note from the teacher…” postcard in a store. I didn’t purchase 200 postcards, that would be expensive and that’s just not the way of the frugal teacher.  I bought three.  I arranged and taped them a piece of paper and I made copies on colorful cardstock (67 sheets of cardstock).  I cut them out and they went into my “First-day of class” packet.  I quickly reviewed with the students how to address a postcard.  At the end of class, the students’ ticket out of the door was to hand me a correctly addressed the postcard.

Here are a few tips about positive postcards:

  1. Have the students address the postcards.
  2. Double check the student’s address before sending out the postcards—students move during the school year and they also might live with a different parent/guardian.  (And they have a heads-up about the card being sent).
  3. Can’t find a postcard to copy? Create your own.  Or give the students postcard-size cardstock and have students decorate the front their card as the first night of homework.
  4. Keep it simple.  The note is just a note, no need to write an epic poem.
  5. Purchase all of your postcard stamps at once and stick them on at the beginning of the school year.  When you decide to send the card, all you have to do is check the address with the student, write the note, and drop it in the mail.
  6. Pace yourself.  Send a few every week and then you avoid the scramble of sending 100 during the last month of school.

The principle of the positive postcard is recognizing how you, as a professional educator, recognize your students’ achievements.  Take this idea and run with it, or if you have a better idea for positive consequences share it with us in the comments section.

Comments (3)Add Comment
written by Amy Bishop, Indiana, September 17, 2010

I do something similar. At the beginning of my speech and writing classes, I always have the students write me a letter, introducing themselves. Throughout the year, I write them all back and send them the letter in the mail. I've never seen middle-schoolers to excited before. They love getting mail. And it's a great technique to use if I want to redirect a disruptive student or encourage an industrious one. And parents love the individual attention. It takes extra time and money, but it's always worth it.
written by Jason Wells, Arkansas, September 15, 2010

I used this idea during my student teaching, the only thing is that I sent them myself with out the students knowing. THEY LOVED IT! I sent them every time a student did something good.
written by Cindy, Mead, WA, September 15, 2010

I love this simple, quick, and practical idea! The rewards in joy, appreciation, and improved student relations are probably incalculable. Thanks for sharing!

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