I haven't really started to think about my return tothe classroom just yet but I know those thoughts will start creeping in as I get closer to January 4th. I am excited to see my students but we are returning after 2 weeks of holidays and before that 3 weeks of off routine time in the classroom. December in my classroom is full of holiday preparations, celebrating and just plain fun. It is a far cry from our regular routine. That is to say that January is like starting over all over again. Do you feel like that too?
I like to start January off with something very familiar to my students so they feel successful right from the start. It makes the transition back to school and our routine easier. Before the holidays we spent a lot of time learning how to write letters. We wrote letters to Santa and to everyone else at the North Pole using the letters, templates and success criteria from my Letters to the North Pole unit. On the second to last day of school we also wrote to our custodian to thank him for taking good care of our classroom. My students are very familiar with the process of writing a letter.
They are also super excited to share about all of their gifts too. I swear if I gave them the first hour of the first day just to talk they would use that whole time just talking about their holidays. I kept all of these things in mind when I designed my After Christmas Thank You Letters.
My students spend a lot of time talking about their gifts and need to decide on one special gift they want to focus on and really tell a lot about it - who gave it to them, why it is special or their favourite gift? After all the talking I break the writing process down into manageable pieces using graphic organizers so they are able to focus in on the specific gift they are writing about.
At the end of the process the kids take their letters home and deliver them to the special someone who gifted them. If the gift was from Santa we put them all in an envelope and mail them to the North Pole. I think it is important to instill and attitude of gratitude in our students.
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