Saturday, December 7, 2013

Letter Larry

Writing letters is a huge staple in our first grade classroom, not to mention one of the most FUN activities we do! This year, I have really focused on upping the fun factor in my classroom--not to say it hasn't ALWAYS been fun ;). I am really into creating songs and characters to help ingrain skills in my students. One of my favorite ideas so far this year is a close friend of this guy--remember him? Well shortly after Sam came to play, we had the pleasure of meeting Letter Larry:

Larry is a letter carrier by day, and a letter-writing guru by night. He is SO into letters, in fact, that he dons a special letter outfit every day to remind us how to write the perfect letter.

Introducing the students to letter-writing was a multi-step process. First, we talked about reasons we can write letters (to say "thank you," to ask a question, etc.). Then, we talked about who we can write letters to. This was so much fun! First, we made a class list of people in and out of school to whom we can write.

Then, the students created their own address books. They wrote the names of other students in the building and the names of their teachers. This got them so pumped to start writing! Click below for a free copy of the address book we used:






You will have to copy these lovelies back-to-back and do a little finagling to get them in the right order. It's so worth it! My kids keep these books in their year-round writing folders and often use them in our newly-anointed letter-writing station. It's a hit!

Perhaps my FAVORITE part of our Letter Larry unit is the song I created to teach the parts of a letter. 

And there you have it, folks. As much as I LOVE sharing my singing with the world (please, sense the sarcasm here), what I really wanted to do was post a video of my kiddos singing. However, it would infringe on their privacy and the sound quality wasn't the best with 22 voices at once. We also incorporated Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes movements that correspond to our head, neck, body, and both feet that showcase each part of the letter (see Letter Larry for reference). It is a blast, and they LOVE to try doing it as fast as possible. Great fun for them, an even greater workout for me ;)

Similar to Star Sentence Sam, we also use a rubric when we write letters. It looks like this:

Click on the rubric to grab your free copy!

It is definitely text-heavy, but the visual aspect of it (the side-by-side sample letter) seems to work well with all levels of learners in my classroom. I love examples!

A sweet story to share--for those of you who do not know, my husband is a third grade teacher in the very same school (how that came to be is a story for later). One of my little boys wrote Mr. Waters a letter, and later in the day, we had a surprise visitor from this handsome postman--
who looked suspiciously like my sweet husband ;) In any case, the kids got a huge kick out of his giant "mail bag" (AKA the recess equipment) and my little letter-writer got a very special delivery---a response from Mr. Waters! The look on his face was priceless :) Up until now, the kids were thrilled to be writing letters, but when they realized that a letter could also warrant a response----they went WILD with the letter writing. Thank goodness for a good postman ;)

If you love the idea of Letter Larry, head on over to my TPT store where I have a full Letter Larry pack that includes a fill-in mini-book about writing letters, various letter-writing templates, and much more! Also, be sure to check back later to find out what happened when Sam & Larry teamed up and sent our classroom on quite the letter and sentence adventure!

Thanks for visiting this little blog--I hope you stop by again soon!
Erin




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