Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thanksgiving Letters of Gratitude

One of my favorite school traditions is to write letters of gratitude with my students at Thanksgiving Time. I have been blessed with a sweet class, students with kind hearts, so they really got into it! This was our first real try a a friendly letter so I jumpstarted us with a reading of the Jolly Postman. Such a cute book. Third graders love the different examples of mail that people get.

Next we talked about all the people who make our school so great. I had each child pick one person they are especially thankful for. At this time I introduced the vocabulary word: grateful and gratitude. We wrote them in our "Words to Know" section of our reading journal. Then I introduced the prewriting graphic organizer called the four square. Do you know this one? It's great to help students target the organization trait and develop a paragraph. I found a powerpoint of it if anyone wants it. Just email me and I'll send it your way.

Day one was filling in the four square. This is the most important piece of the process. It is where we generate ideas and organize them. We do not worry about spelling, writing in complete sentences. It's all about the IDEAS! Here is a student working on his four square in his writing office:

An example of a four square:

We talk and share a lot during our writer's workshop time. I am so thankful that I have a scanner attached to my smartboard. It just takes seconds to scan a document on and then we all can see it. Students LOVE to get their work "on the big screen"!! This little guy's piece was shown and we talked about the writing traits he hit in writing it. We get a lot of inspiration from reading each other's work!

The next day we looked at the friendly letter format and we wrote our first rough draft. Next we will do a bit of revising and editing. Students will "clean their pieces" and get them ready for the publishing and delivery! My plan is to tie some economics into a lesson next week and make a small treat for each of the people we deliver to. Check back for more on that idea

Thanksgiving Letter

Thanksgiving Friendly Letter


  1. What a lovely lesson! Thank you for sharing!!

  2. I LOVE this idea. I hope I can squeeze this in in the two days of school that we have next week!!!

  3. Your ideas are so've really let me step up my game!

    I would love a copy of the four square powerpoint. Thank you for sharing.

    tokyoshoes (at) hotmail (dot) com

  4. Thanks for sharing! I usually have the students write thank you letters after winter break. However, I like this twist.

  5. Just discovered your blog (thanks to pinterest!) - love the ideas and words of wisdom. Can't wait to read more!

  6. I would love a copy of the powerpoint if you still have it!

  7. I would love a copy of the powerpoint too!