Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Seasonal writing: Letters to Santa


I'm sure you haven't realized this yet with all of the holiday music blaring and the stores telling you every few days, but Christmas is coming.

"What?" you say it's every year.  I know, I know it is.

But in all seriousness, Christmas is coming, and it's a great time to work on letter writing skills.

Back when I was teaching my class always wrote a letter to Santa, and he always wrote back to them.  It was a magical moment.  But, I want to share another way kids can write to Santa other than just what they really want.


When Santa Lost His Ho! Ho! Ho! is a super cute book with lots of great reasons to write letters.  Santa loses his "Ho ho ho," and is depressed.  Children write him hundreds of letters to cheer him up, but nothing works, until finally he gets that ONE letter.


Last year I read this book to my kids and then they spent a lot of time thinking of ways they would make Santa laugh.  Teacher Files has some cute Santa lined papers that would be great with this book and activity.

For early or pre-writers have them draw a funny cartoon.

All 3 of my kids are still at the early writing stages, so we concentrate more on process and how to create ideas.

So we brain stormed together what makes things funny.  Is it what you write or what you draw?  Why is one joke funny and another isn't?  After everyone had an idea we talked through if the idea needs a picture.  The letter that made Santa laugh in the book had a funny picture to go with it.  Did their funny idea need a picture to help explain it?

When they started writing I emphasize a lot that I do not care about spelling right now.  I want them to write.  My kids are worried about it being perfect.  I want them to get words on the page and then we can edit it for spelling or grammar.  This can be a very hard thing for kids to understand and grasp at a young age, but if they can get past wanting it to be perfect it can really help them be more willing to write on their own.

I'm always on the look out for other good books to lead into writing prompts, do you have some Christmas favorites for my kids to write about this year?

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