Pen Pals & a Winner

To make writing friendly letters more interesting this year, my students are writing to a pen pal.  I thought it would be really fun to find 2nd graders in another state, another city, or even another school in the district.  However, never underestimate the value in writing to another class in your building.  The turn-around is quick, you can ask clarifying questions easily, and it's a very low-cost alternative when you don't have to use postage.

Here are a few of the most recent letters my kiddos received:

The first thing we do is read our new letters.  Then we start our plan.  In my room, the kids have to write the questions they were asked and their responses to those questions:

After that, students have to write new questions for their pen pal.  As we get further into the year, some students have a hard time coming up with new questions.  I require my students to ask 3 questions, but no more than 5 questions.  FYI - since this is a plan, I do not do a lot of correcting at this stage of the writing process.  However, from these examples, I can tell that it's time to do a quick review of punctuation for statements and questions: 

The next step is to do a quick review of friendly letter format.  We review back to our friendly letter anchor chart every single time.  Then the students write their first draft to their pen pal.  We always use handwriting paper so I have space for editing and revision marks.  Here are four letters ready for editing:

This is what the students see after I have helped them with editing:

Finally, students are ready for their final draft.  I offer new stationary for each new letter they write.  It keeps it fun and interesting.  For this round, they were given two options from the Winter Writing Paper Pack (created by Lindsey Brooks).  With Valentine's Day around next week, the heart-themed paper was a big hit!  Here are some final copies that we will be ready to send next week:

Does your class write to pen pals?  I'd love to hear more about it!

Thank you to all who entered to win the TpT gift certificate.  The Rafflecopter chose Cherie.  Congrats, Cherie - an e-mail has been sent your way with the details!

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