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lthompson's Message:

What a great idea! Sounds like a super way to transform a distracting activity into something we can use. Thanks for sharing!
And nzkiwi, I may combine ideas and even allow them to write notes (in friendly letter format, of course) to friends, aka penpals, in another class. I just knew that if I posted a need here that friends in the trenches would help me out.
Thanks! Thanks! Thanks!

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Discussion Review (newest messages first)
imau2u 10-29-2006 04:01 PM

I teach 4th and it may seem too old for them, but I bet they will remember all the components... Def. going to put that in my things for next year. Thanks for sharing

momof2cuties 10-21-2006 04:56 AM

I use this with my second graders and they catch on really quick. I have a paper with a figure drawn on it (kind of like a gingerbread man). I have a line drawn from different parts of the body to represent each part of the friendly letter. I borrowed this idea from a friend that taught 3rd grade.
Head = Heading
Hand = Greeting (shaking someone's hand to greet them)
Belt = Body
Foot = Closing (like you're going out the door)
Toe = Signature (I use the toe because like your fingerprint your toe print would be unique and individual just like a person's signature)

This may be too juvenile for 5th grade, but it really works!

lthompson 10-20-2006 08:54 PM

What a great idea! Sounds like a super way to transform a distracting activity into something we can use. Thanks for sharing!
And nzkiwi, I may combine ideas and even allow them to write notes (in friendly letter format, of course) to friends, aka penpals, in another class. I just knew that if I posted a need here that friends in the trenches would help me out.
Thanks! Thanks! Thanks!

LindaR 10-20-2006 08:12 PM

Hi Ithompson,

How about having a "note-passing" time among your students? I did this last year with my 6th graders as a positive way to respond to the note-passing happening in my classroom. I told them that I noticed how much they loved to write to each other, so I was going to allow them to continue---but with a catch.

My students had to use the friendly letter format, which we had already learned, on paper that I passed out. I allowed them about 10 minutes at the end of the day to write their letters to each other, and then I collected them after they were read. Of course, guidelines were established to curb inappropriate discussions.

My students were very eager to engage in writing notes to each other and looked forward to responding to their notes. In fact, knowing that we "might have time" at the end of the day motivated them to stay on task.

This year, I hope to have a mailbox set up in my classroom (I have yet to find a small one) and allow the kids to keep the friendly letters going

LindaR

nzkiwi 10-17-2006 06:41 PM

I just finished teaching friendly letters and what I did was during the mini-lesson portion of our writing time, I modeled for the class how I'd write a letter. I used my overhead and wrote out a letter directed to a random friend, talking over out loud the placement of my heading, greeting, etc. Then, in advance, I had already arranged with another class to exchange penpal letters, so my students then worked on writing a friendly letter introducting themselves to their penpal as a practice, which I graded before we sent them off. If all goes well, we'll continue to exchange letters throughout the year, which will give my students additional practice with friendly letter writing, which I'll continue to model as necessary.

Basically a pretty no-frills way, but it seemed to work well and my students were certainly motivated to write as they were excited about having penpals. So, I don't know if it's a hot idea or suggestion, but I thought I'd share anyways . . .

lthompson 10-17-2006 05:38 PM

Our state has realigned some of our testing areas and assigned more writing tasks to 5th grade students. One of the items they'll be tested over is a friendly letter. I know the basic format for a friendly letter, but I've never had to teach it before. Anyone have any hot ideas or suggestions? I've searched online but feel I could get better input from fellow teachers in the trenches. Thanks for your help!




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