Writing a thank you letter is a favorite activity in my classroom. First, children ‘write’ the words – this isn’t so easy. Every writer knows that. For children, they need to think about who the letter is for, and what words are the right thing to say. Children want to express their feelings, too. A thank you letter may be simple, but those words – every word- have been voted upon and debated before pen has met paper. Or before marker has met chart paper in the case of preschoolers.
Today we began writing thank you letters to our neighbors, the people in our community who help us. We wrote to our public library:
Dear Groton Library, Thank you for sharing your books with us. We love the books.
The children didn’t see that we borrowed the books. They saw that the library shared the books. Two very different perspectives.
We wrote a letter to our firefighters:
Dear Firefighters, Thank you for saving us. We love the firetrucks.
Truer words were never spoken. The children knew that saving people was the most important thing firefighters do. They wanted that to be first and upfront on their letter. And of course, they love fire trucks.
Wait till I show them their letter is hanging in the fire station alongside the firetrucks.
Children’s words are important. They need to be aknowledged. Teachers and parents need to ask children questions. Questions stimulate thought, and thought stimulates words. Words bind us together. When we help children write those words, we are giving them tools for life. The feelings and excitement that accompany those words are the icing on the cake.
Stay tuned for Part 2