To foster written communication through students and family members while addressing topics which impact the students’ daily lies.Teachers will address a topic of interest with students (current events, life issues, read aloud, etc.) which the students will then write a letter to their parents about. Weekly, the students will take these letters home and have their parents write a written response. Both letters will then come back to school, be placed in the student’s portfolio, and saved until the end of the year.
6-Trait Skills Focus:
Idea Development: Writing with a clear, central idea or theme in mind.
Organization: 1) Beginning the writing with a strong introduction; 2) Ending the writing with a satisfying conclusion by linking conclusion back to the introduction.
Word Choice: 1) Incorporating interesting adjectives into the writing well, especially using words that convey intended mood and tone; 2) Using strong verbs to keep the sentences interesting; 3) Using precise nouns to assist the reader’s understanding.
Voice: 1) Conveying passion towards the message of the writing or topic; 2) Thinking about and making decisions to acknowledge the intended audience.
Each week the teacher will choose a topic of discussion. I have gotten my ideas for these topics from many different places. Some examples of these are:
- Time Life For Kids
- Current events from newspapers and Internet (timeforkids.com, scholasticnews.com)
- Picture books that discuss personal issues such as bullying, goal setting, etc.
- Current events in our classroom or school
- Holiday/ family traditions
I also provide my students will a copy of the friendly letter format that I would like them to follow.
Parent/Student Instruction Sheet:
As part of our writing curriculum I would like to introduce our letter-writing portfolio. Each week your child will be writing you a letter on a given topic. This topic will be related to something we have discussed in class which may include current events, life issues, literature, etc. They will give you the letters they have written on Thursday evening; have you read them and WRITE A LETTER BACK TO THEM ON THE GIVEN TOPIC. They will then bring BOTH letters back to school the next day. Here they will be given a chance to share the letters and then put them into their 5 th grade portfolio. I will keep these letters all year and send them home as a very treasured part of their fifth grade memories. Thank you for taking the time to write to your child. I believe it helps show them the importance of writing in our society.
Positive Impacts on Parents/Students/Families:
Life can be so hectic. Sometimes parents don’t have the time they would like to discuss important topics with their children. Sometimes topics are just too touchy to speak about out loud. Through letter writing students and parents have the chance to share their thoughts and feelings with their parents/ guardians. They also get the chance, many of them for the first time, to see their parents/guardians as writers. Through this lesson, many written discussions, on very real topics, are had. Lastly, students have a written memory of who they were in 5th grade. They learn so much about their parent’s pasts, responsibilities, feelings and ideas.
Links to Similar Lessons at WritingFix: