November is the month for thanksgiving.
Last November Literate Lives’ focus for the month was on gratitude. This year, I have let NaNoWriMo and other goals lead me in different directions. However, this is the month of Thanksgiving, and the holiday is nearly upon us.
One of the things I liked to do as an English Language Arts teacher was to set aside some writing time for my students to write thank you notes to teachers and others they value in their lives. Even homeschooled students tend to have more than one teacher, be it a coach, a music or any other single subject instructor.
I created thank you note “stationery” using Microsoft Publisher. Any program that allows you to combine graphics and text will do the trick. (Or you could bring in stickers, rubber stamps, whatever and let the kids create their own cards.) I made enough stationery for each student to write two notes.
I required the students to write one note to one of their teachers (any of them, except me). The second note they could write to a staff member, friend, or family member.
I took care of delivering all the notes written to school personnel, placing them in each employee’s box. My fellow teachers were always so surprised and delighted to receive the thank you notes the students had written. And in a school environment that is so focused (and rightly so) on the students, it helps the kids remember that teachers and staff are not mere furnishings of an educational system, but real people with who have committed their careers to educating and caring for students.
The situation is win-win. And my students have the opportunity to put into practice the expression of their thoughts and feelings in writing for a real and specific audience.