For many high school teachers, the next six months is will include countless requests from students for letters of recommendation.

Educator Ray Salazar has come up with a simple (I can’t believe I haven’t thought of it earlier) way to make it a learning experience for students, and a much less time-consuming one for teachers: He asks students to write a draft of it first!

He share simple guidelines that he provides to students in his brilliant post, How to write letters of recommendation for high-school students. The outline is easily adaptable to any situation.

I’m certainly going to use his idea with most of my students this year.

However, I think I’ll also have a few exceptions.

I’ll ask my English Language Learner students to use the form I’ll develop. But, instead of asking them to actually write a draft, I’ll just have them do it a outline form. They’ve got enough writing challenges to deal with during their senior year.

There are also some students, I believe, who can use a letter of recommendation less for a college or scholarship, and more for a need to hear/read something particularly affirming about themselves. These are students who have experienced, or are experiencing, substantial trauma in their lives. I don’t think I’ll ask those students to write their own drafts.

Have you tried Ray’s method with your students? How has it worked?