Sometimes when children are asked to write, they can't really see a purpose for it. I like to introduce writing as an authentic way of communication. Students this age are beginning to understand that they are writing for an audience and that the purpose of their writing affects organization and content. During our cookbook project, for example, they were challenged to really think about the person reading the recipe - would they be able to make the dish even if they've never made a smoothie before?
This week, we visited Farmer Dave to see the new litter of baby pigs. After our visit, I suggested writing a thank you note. Letters are another way of writing with a purpose. We talked about the parts of a letter, and what we would like to convey. A letter has a specific organization that is different from a recipe or a report or a list.
Today, I got a surprise. I wrote Farmer Dave's name and address on the board and casually suggested that the children could grab an envelope and address and stamp it. Little did I know that the students would need a LOT of help. I definitely should have done a step-by-step lesson. Probably a result of our email age, most did not know what side of the envelope to write on, how to fit the letter into the envelope by folding it, or where the stamp goes. Perhaps we will write another letter soon, just to get more practice.
But the end result was a bunch of cute looking envelopes with sweet letters enclosed. I bet the post office staff and Farmer Dave will get a smile when they see these.