By: Kelly Jackson
As you wrap up your spring term, you’re probably noticing many of your students have one foot out the door. But, there are still some ways you can hold their attention before they flee for summer break! A great wrap-up exercise is to have your students write a short note, otherwise known as a Legacy Letter, to the students in your next class, whether the summer or fall term, that gives them advice and tips on how to be successful in your class.
This exercise is helpful in two ways. First, it gets students thinking about what behaviors they used to make them successful and maybe what behaviors had them fall short. For example, you’ll typically get “Don’t procrastinate,” “Homework…just do it.” or “Watch the due dates!” But some students can be very insightful about what made them successful. It also helps students think about what they’ll do in their next class, learning from what worked and what didn’t work.
For the next class, hand out a copy of the tips and advice on the first day; it’s even more impactful if you provide them in the students’ own handwriting. That is important! Don’t just quote them, show their words. No matter how many times you, the instructor, emphasize the importance of attendance or homework, receiving the advice “whatever you do, don’t cut class” or “the tests are so much easier if you do the online work” from a peer student can make a much bigger impact!
Here are a few articles encouraging the practice of a legacy letter:
- Student advice to future students (wired.com)
- A Preparation Guide for New Students (Hampton University)
- Advice for New Students From Those Who Know (New York Times)