Sunday, December 10, 2017

Suggestions for Christmas letter writing, encouraging priceless family talks!

Time Capsule Project schools are encouraged to have the following writing assignment before Christmas break, but any school can do this without a time capsule as well.  See the wonderful gains by Time Capsule Project schools, due partly to such letters, described below in the posting dated 11-6-2017.  Browne Middle School went from the danger of a 5th year as IR in 2016/17, to meeting standards with 4 distinctions instead! All students wrote such letters home for the first time! Letters like this help to change school climate toward being more goal-focused and grounded in personal family history.

Students will bring home these letters that they write in class to deliver to the people they are intended for.  Such letters by students have led to as many as 80% of recipients writing potentially priceless letters back to the student. As students read these letters and ask questions it could lead to some priceless family conversations, especially over Christmas break, conversations about dreams, goals, and family history. It will help fill the gap with their own culture too many of our students suffer from. It will help ease the multi-cultural blending we are all part of.

A more sound foundation for academic achievement is built.


Suggestions - Time Capsule Project First Letter(s),
to each parent and/or other important relatives
(Term “parent” includes all important relatives student would like a letter from.)

This is a description of the letter writing process that is the first step in each year’s Time Capsule Project letter writing. 

First, any older letters students may have written in previous years that are in the school’s time capsule are returned to students.  They must be read and studied again by students who wrote them, and by each of the parents who wrote letters last year.  This is in preparation for the current year’s letter writing process.

Have students write a persuasive letter to each parent. Students will be asking for each parent to give their response to the question: “What are your dreams for me?”.  Students will ask for as many details as the person writing is comfortable with. Students also ask for each parent to write one story from their family history, or community history, that parents want the student to remember.  They consider it valuable enough that they want the student to pass it on to their own children someday.

As students consider to whom they will send such letters, they should think of older family members who have a longer history and possibly more stories of interest that they may write about. All letters can be written in any language both student and writer understand, or that the student can have translated.

Such letters will be written each year to request another letter from parents and/or others.  Every student changes a lot in one year.  The goal is for parents and the other adults to observe those changes and write about how their own dreams for the student are changing and gaining more detail each year as the student grows.

The stories written about can be about the letter writer, or about grandparents, or aunts or uncles, a valuable family story that they want passed on to the students’ children someday. These letters will help students gather a collection of valuable family history stories by the time they graduate.
When parents are finished with their letter and give them to the student, the student should immediately read them. The student should ask the person who wrote the letter any questions they may have about the letter.  They must clearly understand it.  The goal is clear communication. Potentially priceless conversations happen in the process during such conversations.

This letter will go into the self-addressed envelopes along with all the letters received from parents and other adults. This will be repeated each year.

In the 8th and 12th grade all letters written will be focused 10-years into the future.  What do students hope they will be doing and how will they get there? These are goals 10-years into the future.  The final 8th grade and 12th grade letters, and letters parents and others have written about their dreams for students 10 years into the future, will all remain inside the student’s self-addressed envelope and inside the vault for 10 years.

Emphasize that life plans almost always change.  The goal is to develop the ability to change, with education providing many more choices to be available during any change.       
12-10-17 Bill Betzen,