The lead up to Christmas is a great time of year to focus on letter writing skills with students. Most kids love the idea of writing to Santa, so it’s a good way to get kids motivated to write a letter. If Santa is not appropriate or children are too old for Santa letters, scroll down to the bottom of the page for some other letter writing ideas.
Make up a standard ‘letter to Santa’ printout (I just use Word). You might include Santa’s ‘address’ at the top, “To Santa”, “For Christmas I want…” and “From”. Perhaps even have these words written in a light grey so children can trace them (use whatever the standard cursive print is for your region). Make sure you leave enough space for children with large handwriting to fill the gaps. On the board brainstorm words children might use in their letters, eg: things they might ask for for Christmas, what sort of food they might leave for Santa. Encourage children to include a picture (especially early finishers).
EXAMPLE Santa letter — feel free to print out and use (font is Victorian Modern Cursive)
More Confident Writers
Brainstorm with children what sort of things need to be included in a letter (address at the top, date, to/from). Give children a minimum amount of paragraphs/sentences they must include (depending on age group). Early finishers can decorate their letters with a border/picture and/or mount on coloured card.
If you are a bit more technologically minded you could set up a Santa email account for children to send emails to. Talk with children about the differences between traditional letters and emails. Use the opportunity to talk about email etiquette and making sure children are careful to type the exact address.
Other Letter Writing Opportunities at This Time of Year (or When Santa Letters aren’t Appropriate)
Perhaps Santa letters aren’t appropriate for your class (for religious/social/other reasons) or perhaps you would like to extend the letter writing unit over a few lessons. Here are a few other letter writing ideas for this time of the year:
– Write a letter to a loved one/friend who lives far away.
– Make Christmas cards for family and friends.
– Exchange letters/cards in class.
For Older Students
– If you can make a connection with a school/class overseas, get children to write to a pen pal all about Christmas in their country and hopefully they’ll receive one back and learn about Christmas in another country.
– Write a letter to Jesus (or other appropriate religious figure).