Perfect Timing for Some Purposeful Writing: Thank-Yous for a Winter Holiday Gift



My second-grade son is working on his letters now!
Hi there,
     I hope you've had a wonderful holiday!  Just a quick idea for some purposeful writing as we go back to school tomorrow following the break.  Our students undoubtedly received some type of winter holiday gift while away.  Wouldn't it be nice to have them write a thank-you and send it off ?  We can teach the conventions of letter writing, transitions, voice, description and more with this authentic assignment.  More significantly, we're teaching the importance of  expressing appreciation.  Many teachers invite children to bring in one gift they received to show to the class or to a small group.  This is perfect for working on speaking and listening standards and, having the object in front of students as they write their thank-yous will help them with description and to recall details related to the gift.  Students' motivation soars when we make writing purposeful!
    Having students talk prior to writing is one of the best scaffolds we can provide them for success.  Even if they don't bring in an object to share, allow them time to talk to peers about a gift and what they might write in a thank-you before they write.  Share some examples aloud with the class and discuss them--this will go a long way toward promoting success for everyone and diminish "I don't know what to write!" or the two sentence 'Thank you for the ___________. I really like it.' problems!
    One of the themes in my newest book from Corwin Literacy is purposeful writing.  I can't emphasize enough the difference this makes in the effectiveness for student learning and in the writing climates of our classrooms.  Another theme of the book is integration:  integrating standards to save time AND help students use literacy in authentic ways.  In the simple assignment above, we can integrate writing standards, language convention standards and speaking and listening standards (and more:  Consider the letter recipient's point of view, for example.  What might s/he like to know in the letter?  Why do you think this?)
   Here's wishing you a great week!  Thanks for stopping by.  Happy reading/writing/thinking!
--Janiel
http://www.corwin.com/books/Book245335
Click the picture to check it out.  Corwin is offering it at a great discount.

 P.S. Thanks to Krista, from Creative Clips, for the fun clip art.  Max and I used her sets to create some personalized stationary!

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