I’ve been teaching my kindergarten class how to write letters. It’s a lesson we usually begin in February because their writing skills are pretty strong by then and because they are friends with enough children to take pleasure in writing messages to each other. In the past I have had them write letters to the older children in the other building, and then get letters in return. This year I did a couple of different things.
Early in the year I send out a “volunteer survey” and ask my parents how they would like to help in the classroom- hobbies they have, hours available, etc. This year one of my moms mentioned that her mother wanted to talk to the children about her pen pal. She has had the same pen pal since the fourth grade!! Well, I was excited about that.
This year I’ve also become re-acquainted with my sweet niece, Megan, and her family in Utah. She has three young children and is also very concerned about education. So…
A’s grandmother came and told us all about her pen pal and showed us pictures and memorabilia she had sent from London. She read some of their childhood letters, and we found London on the map, and we just had a great lesson.
Then I had my students write to Megan and her family. I put all of their names on the board, along with a “word bank” and an outline of a letter. They had a great time writing letters and drawing pictures and talking about how their letters would go on an airplane. (We have a book about how letters are delivered.)
Yesterday our letters from Megan came in the mail and I can’t wait for my students to see them! They will be so excited! She wrote letters and her children wrote letters and even the baby made his handprint. She also sent a great craft book for us and shiny new pencils for each child. I plan to let the children make something, photograph them in the process, and then write a group letter signed by each student.
Email is fun. Texting may be fun. But nothing beats papers from the mailbox!
P.S. A couple of you have asked about the “second sight” mentioned in an earlier post. Second sight, as used in that article, was a belief that some people got better “close-up” or “reading sight” as they aged. This is actually a side effect often associated with cataracts because of changes in the lens. So people saw better for a while before they went blind!