Santa Letter Writing

Writing can be so hard to teach, at least it is for me!  I decided that this year I was going to over haul my writing instruction.  I am so tired of kids writing a list and not developing an idea with details.   I have tried several approaches to tackling this issue and none have worked for me or my kiddos to the extent I would have liked.  And then.... the idea hit me.  Boom!  STICKY NOTES!  Yes, sticky notes.  Kids go crazy for sticky notes and .... and...Santa.  All I had to do was tie in the two and angels would sing.  Okay, angels didn't sing, but it was AWESOME to watch the blending of these two elements to produce  the most perfect letters to Santa.  They were thoughtful, polite, kind and detailed.  Yes, detailed.  My teacher heart was doing a happy dance.  I plan to use this technique for future writing lessons!!!

I knew I wanted their letters to answer the question if they were naughty or nice and give Santa a reason to support their answer.  I wanted the letters to address a need and a reason why they needed that item.  Their third sentence would be an item that they want and why they want that item.  Finally, they needed to close with a compliment for Santa.  I came up with this graphic organizer:

I then passed out 4 sticky notes to each student.  Everyone took 1 sticky note and wrote down if they had been naughty or nice.  Then we all placed our sticky note in box 1.  Next, the students wrote down 1 thing they needed on another sticky note and we put that in box 2.  We then did boxes 3 and 4 in the same way.  When all the boxes were filled with sticky notes I passed out the rectangular sticky notes.  Students wrote their detail on a sticky note and transferred it to the graphic organizer.  We did this one box at a time.  Here is the result.  Box 1 is an N for either naughty or nice because that is private info for Santa only.

I just loved reading these!  It was nice to basically have each sentence on a sticky note.  They picked up the one they were copying and stuck it to the top of the Santa letter stationary.  This really helped kiddos stay on track.  I would love to show you the letters the kids wrote, but those went into super decorated mailing envelopes that went straight home so their elves could take them to Santa.  Whew! 

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