Dear Teacher, Dear Student Letter Writing Lesson Plan May 07 2010
Teachers and students are beginning to look ahead to next school year even as this one comes to a close. Take advantage of that excitement to teach your students how to write two friendly letters in appropriate format - one to their next year's teacher, and one to a new student entering your classroom in September.
Teaching Letter Format
Because even Friendly Letters require a specific format, the best way to teach this kind of letter writing is through modeling writing your own. I created two templates for this purpose. The first is a Friendly Letter Template For Teachers with details of what needs to go in each section. The second template is Friendly Letter Template For Students so that students can take notes and follow along with the lesson. The student template would also be good for writing a letter with your whole group or small groups using a transparency or document camera.
Details For Each Letter
The first question you'll hear when beginning this activity is, "Who’s my teacher next year?" If you have access to that information and permission to give it out, this would be a great time. Chances are, however, you won't. I like to have students address the letter to “Dear _________ grade teacher,” based on the grade level they'll start in September.
For the body of the letter, have your students focus on writing about three to five important things about them, three to five questions for next year's teacher, and their hopes for next year. To help your students plan their letters, I created this Dear Teacher Letter Planning Page available for downloading and photocopying.
Regarding the "Dear Student Letters," the first question you may hear is, "Who is going to read this letter?" Chances are good that you have no idea, so have students address these letters to, "Dear _______ Grade Student." For the body of this letter, have your students write three to five great things about being in your classroom and/or about you as the teacher, three to five rules to follow in this classroom and any other words of advice for this incoming student.
To help your students plan these letters, I created the Dear Student Letter Planning Page.
After modeling and writing rough drafts, spend some time directing revising and editing efforts with your students. When they're ready to write final drafts, they could use a copy of the Friendly Letter Template For Students. Younger kids might enjoy this Paragraph and Picture page that includes space for an illustration.
When the letters are finished, create a hallway bulletin board and hang the final drafts up for students and teachers to enjoy - the "Dear Student" letters especially will have some funny bits of advice. When school is out and it's time to take the bulletin board down, gather the Dear Teacher and Dear Student letters into two piles.
Keep these two piles in a safe and easy to recognize place. Distribute the Dear Teacher letters to the appropriate teachers the week before school starts, and save the Dear Student letters for a fun lesson about getting to know you or creating classroom expectations during the first week of school. The students and teachers will appreciate the thought and information these letters provide!