In today's lesson I will engage my students in a discussion about the 5 W's of the story. We will write a narrative paper in the form of a letter. It is important for my students to be able to put their thoughts on paper. Letters are a way people express themselves to each other. The Common Core stresses the importance of learning to write for different purposes. Communicating with friends and family is important. With all the technology today, not many people write letters. Letters are so fun to write and receive. Each letter is like a little pocket of happiness. This skill will be beneficial not only in their academic life but their personal life. The story is about a little boy who receives letters from his Grandmother who lives in Thailand. The boy lives in California and draws pictures in return. I will hook their interest with a discussion about receiving letters or packages in the mail. We will conclude our lesson by writing a letter.
I begin my lesson with my students seated on the carpet ready for our whole group reading block.
"When I was little, I lived far away from my Grandmother. She would write to me and sometimes mail me presents. I always could tell that the letter was from her because of her handwriting. Raise your hand if you have received a letter or a package in the mail? Did you get a letter Adrian or did you get a package in the mail? Oh, most of you received birthday cards in the mail. It is fun to get cards in the mail."
"There are many ways to communicate with our friends and family. We can go to their house, we can call them on the phone, we can talk to them over the computer and we can write to them. A letter is a piece of paper that you can draw pictures of write sentences on. You ask people questions and tell them things that you are doing. You fold the paper up and put it in an envelope, put a stamp on it and put it in the mail box."
I show them a paper and demonstrate how to fold it, put it in the envelope and put a stamp on it.
"The story I want to read to you today is about a little boy named Juno. Look at my big map and see where we live. This is where Juno lives and this place, way over here is where the Grandmother lives in Seoul. The letters between Juno and the Grandmother have to go on an airplane. Let's read the story and find out what they tell each other in their letters."
"The name of our story today is; Dear Juno. As we read the story I want you to listen to who is writing the letter, where the the boy lives, where the Grandmother lives, what are they doing, when does the boy think about his Grandmother and why do they write letters."
I begin by reading the story.
"Who are the characters in our story? Yes, Juno and the Grandmother."
"Look at Juno, he opens the letter and gets very excited. Can he read the words on the letter? No, he couldn't read the words. What did he look at that told him what the Grandmother said? Oh, he saw the picture of the Grandmother with the cat and the flower. Good listening. "
"Where does the Grandmother live? Yes she lives far away in Seoul, Thailand. Can Juno see her and talk to her every day? No, he can. Do you think he can call her on the phone? Yes probably but it costs a lot of money to call far away and over the ocean."
I gesture across the ocean on the map.
"When his mother read the letter, did the words say the same thing as he thought? Yes, it did. Juno began to think about how nice it was that his grandmother wrote to him. Do you think she would like a letter from Juno? Can Juno write words? No, he can't. What can he do instead of writing words? Oh, you are all right. He can draw a picture. We are good at drawing pictures. That is exactly what he did. "
"When was it, that Juno looked in the sky and thought about his Grandmother? At night, yes. What did he like to watch? The lights of the planes. Great listening."
"Juno drew pictures of things that he liked and were important to him. Did Grandma like getting the letter from Juno? Yes she did."
"Why did Juno and his Grandmother write letters to each other? Because they loved each other. Because they missed each other. Writing letters is like talking to each other. Wow! You are all good thinkers."
"At the end of the story the Grandmother sent Juno a package. What was in the package? Pencils and an airplane. What did those things tell Juno? That she wanted Juno to write another letter and that she was coming to visit him. What a happy story. "
"I thought it would be fun for us to write a letter. You are all smart and can write words, so let's learn how to write a letter."
I model what each letter part is for and teach them a hand motion for it. I also model writing on the letter template.
"I will use the document camera to model how to write a sentence. Before we write the words we need to learn the parts of the letter. I point to the upper right corner, see this line? This is where we will write the date, so everyone knows the day you wrote the letter. My turn, "This is the date", your turn, "This is the date". I will write the date on the line."
"On the left side is the greeting."
I wave as I say this part.
"This is where you say hi to who you are writing. A lot of times we don't say hi, we say Dear. So if you were writing to Santa you would write, Dear Santa. If you were writing to Grandma you would write, Dear Grandma. My turn, "This is the greeting", as I wave. Your turn, "This is the greeting" as they wave. I will write Dear on the line."
"Now we see a bunch of lines. This is what we call the body of the letter."
I move my hands down the my sides.
"This is my body and this is the letter's body. This is where you tell people something important. You could tell them about your friends, about your birthday or what you like to play. My turn, "This is the body". Your turn, "This is the body". I will write a sentences on the lines."
"These last two lines on the bottom is the closing."
I clap my hands once.
" This part is the end. This is where you write your name so they know who wrote the letter. On the first line you write the word; from. You could write love, if you were writing a letter to your Grandmother. One the second line you write your name. My turn, "This is the closing.
As I clap my hands.
" Your turn, "This is the closing" as they clap their hands. I write the word, from, and then my name, Mrs. Adams."
"So this is a letter. It has all four parts, date, greeting, body and closing. Perfect. Now I can fold it and put it in the envelope. I fold the letter and put it in the envelope. We will use these paw stickers as our stamps. Letters have to have stamps so the mail carrier will take them to the person you wrote to."
"That was really fun. Now, let's write a letter together."
"Your job will be to write a letter. There are many reasons to write a letter. We are going to use words in our letters. Our new friends gave us a new book for Christmas. I thought it would be nice to write them a thank you letter. Do you think they would like that? Yes, I think they would also. I will put a new paper under the camera and we will write the letter together."
"Would my class paper passer hand out the letter paper? Purple row, carefully get your pencil boxes. Blue row, green row, orange row and red row, please get your pencil boxes."
I dismiss my students by row color with wait time in between to prevent running and chaos in my room. When everyone is sitting down I do a quick walk around the room to make sure their papers are right side up. We will only be using our pencils for this writing.
As I point to the line on the right, I ask everyone to touch the line. I wait until I see everyone pointing.
"This is the date. I am going to write the month, what is the month? December, you are right. Here is where we will write December 18,2013. Everyone copy the date. If I didn't know what the date was, where could I look? Here, I could look at the calendar."
I point to the month, day and year. I walk around and see that a many are done and a few are struggling. I whip out my highlighter and highlight the date for a few students.
"Now point to the greeting."
I look to see if everyone is pointing.
"This is the greeting. This is where we will write, Dear Friends,. If you can sound out your words, go ahead and write them. If not, copy mine."
I run around and highlight a few greetings.
"What do we call all these lines in the middle? The body. I am so glad you remembered. If we want to tell someone thank you, how could we do that? Oh, just say it? OK. I will write, "Thank you for the book." What else could I write? I like books? I like to read?"
The class choses to write "I like to read." I run around and highlight some sentences.
"Wow, We are almost done. You guys are writing a letter. Holy Cow, you are awesome! All we have left is the closing. What do I write on the first line? Yes, I write FROM,. Don't forget to put the comma on the line behind the word from. What goes on the second line? YOUR name. Don't write my name write your name."
I run around and see that this was a doable part.
"When you are finished let's sit back on the carpet in a great big circle. I want us all to read our letters out loud before we put them in the envelopes. When we are done reading the letters I will pass out the envelopes."
We sit in a circle and orally read our letters. Then we put our letters in envelopes and stick on the stamps.
"Now that we are finished reading I will pass out the envelopes. When your letter is in your envelope, you can lick it shut and put a stamp on it. I will mail them to the new friends that gave us books."
"Does our letter look like the letters in our story? They kinda do don't they?"
I bundle up the letters and send them to our new friends at another school that collected books for my students for Christmas.