Let’s start a tradition!
Let’s write friendly letters!
Composing a letter by hand—a non-electronic letter—is a relational, social activity that teaches generosity, idea making, and the nature of beauty.
Once upon a time there was no such thing as email, text messages, and social media. Back then there was mail. The art of letter writing began way before Pony Express. I love watching movies where fancy-dressed people are sitting together after a lovely meal sharing news from friends and relatives living in far reaches of the wide world. Letters. They called them letters.
Ephemera is a wonderful word. Say it aloud. Ephemera.
But ephemera is something that is not meant to be preserved. I would argue that letters, the thoughtfully crafted kind, are not ephemera but rather lasting gifts!
- Letter writing, like all writing, begins with an idea. It’s November. And November is the season of gratitude. So why not write an idea tied to the theme of gratitude? Starting with a list is always a good idea. Brainstorm! What are you thankful for?
- Hone in: Once there is some fodder on the page, focus in on a specific topic that you can develop. Encourage student writers to keep ideas simple, being grateful for finding that favorite lost sock, watching the goldfish swimming in the backyard pond, or accomplishing a difficult task like mastering a new math concept. Brainstorm some more.
- With a topic nailed down, begin crafting the rough draft. Time to pick up the pencil and tell the story—yes the story! Narrative writing (a story of gratitude is no exception) is an opportunity to share. Write a first draft.
- Lay down the pencil when all the ideas are on the page. Set the writing aside for up to 24 hours. Let the story simmer.
- Re-read what was written. Now is the time to make edits, to re-arrange, to add wonderful words and phrases and to read again! Once satisfied, copy the gratitude narrative into the card you have chosen. You can certainly add some “pleasantries” to introduce the purpose of your gratitude narrative (’tis the season, after all), and you can share a bit of personal news after your narrative, but however you shape your letter, don’t forget to mark it with a date, create a salutation, and a friendly closing.
Check out our FREE letter writing worksheet here.