Saturday, December 14, 2013

Dear Santa…A Wish for Others

It's that time of the year when kiddos all over are making their wish lists and sending them on to Santa. In our classes this week, we had the kids step outside of themselves for a minute and think about others.  It is one of my favorite activities we do all year.

Each year, it begins the same…I gather them all to the floor and excitedly tell them they will be writing a letter to SANTA! BUT…they are not writing about their wants and desires for Christmas. (Their gleeful faces suddenly fade and confusion sets in) I go on to explain….They needed to think about others. A family member, a friend, a group of strangers, it didn't matter, just not themselves and write Santa a letter including a wish for others.

We brainstormed a little and I shared a few from my list below.

This year I showed Kid President's video- Holiday Gift Guide…the kids love this little guy! It's great because he talks about the perfect gift is one that makes the world better.

This got them thinking a little bit more. And THEN, I played Kelly Clarkson's video version of "My Grown-up Christmas List."

This really set the tone for their letter. In the song, the lyrics say "no more lives torn apart, that wars would never start…" Kinda deep for 2nd graders but I was going for depth in these letters as opposed to "I wish my friend gets the toy he wants."

I did have 2 kids write that wars would come to an end or never start. :)

Then it was time for a little prewriting and to brainstorm our ideas. 

This pic shows the brainstorming and rough draft of one of my students. 

The kids also filled out their Letter to Santa plan. 

Before we wrote our letters, we had to review the 5 parts of a friendly letter. 

 After the kids completed their drafts, they turned them in for editing and then it was time to write their final copy.  (different letter paper choices below!) The kids were cute saying that Santa is getting old and may not be able to read their handwriting if it's sloppy. Of course, I agreed.  

Overall they really did stretch their thinking and I was proud of how they turned out.

Here are a few!

After completing their final copy, they were not done yet! I gave each student a letter checklist and self-reflection page. 

Then we put them all out on our bulletin board!

The question I get asked every year…So, are you really going to send them to Santa?? How can you send them if they are already on the bulletin board?

I reminded them of when I was taking the pictures of their letters (for their portfolios) that what I was really doing was emailing them to Santa! This is the 21st century after all!

Get the complete Letters to Santa unit HERE!

Here is a PREVIEW of what is included!

 Again, one of my most favorite activities. Just to get the kids, who are naturally egocentric at this age, thinking of someone else is priceless. :)

Merry Christmas!!


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