A Friendly Letter in December

Celebrate December’s Write to a Friend month by having your students write friendly letters.

By Rachel D

Friendly Letters
The season provides many opportunities to incorporate the holidays into different subject matter in the classroom. From holiday recipe math lessons to winter art activities, both teachers and students will enjoy the festive themes.

Not only is December a month to celebrate the holidays, it is also "Write to a Friend Month." In California, one of the standards students in third through fifth grades are expected to meet involves writing a friendly letter. This month is an opportune time to teach, or reteach, your students how to follow the format for a friendly letter with a seasonal twist. 

A Friendly Letter

You can start this lesson by choosing the recipients for your classroom letters. Some options include a classmate, little or big buddies, a friend outside of school, or a service man or woman overseas. Then, introduce or remind students of the proper friendly letter guidelines which include:
  • Heading
  • Greeting
  • Body
  • Closing
  • Signature
The PowerPoint How Do I Write a Friendly Letter? is a helpful resource to use in any grade-level classroom. Not only does it include a clear and concise description of a friendly letter and its five parts, but it has an interactive component. When you view the presentation in the “Slide Show” format, students can take a quiz about the components of a friendly letter. This portion of the PowerPoint is a great way to assess whether your students understand the concept before they start writing.

Write a Letter to a Friend

If you are having your students write a letter during this holiday season, make sure to give them a list of topics which might include Christmas, the New Year, Kwanza, Hanukkah, winter, skiing, etc.

If your students are writing letters to a classmate, it may be a good idea to assign partners. This will ensure that all students receive a letter. Or, you may want to write each student’s name on a slip of paper and have them choose from a hat. Having your student’s write to their classmates can help enhance relationships and further build the feeling of classroom community.

If your class has big or little buddies, students may have fun writing to them. If you want to pair up with your “buddy teacher” in celebration of "Write to a Friend Month", both classes can write letters and have a letter exchange get-together, in which the buddies can exchange and read each other letters.

Letter to a Family or Community Member

You can also ask your students to bring in the name and address of a friend or family member. Students can update their friend about what is going on this holiday season. If students have extra time, they can include a drawing or photograph in their letter. It may be interesting to find out later if your students’ friends wrote back. Encourage them to start a pen pal relationship with their friend, this will not only create a stronger bond between the two, but will also help improve your students’ writing fluency. What follows are more letter writing lessons and activities.

Write to a Friend Month:

This lessons includes activities to help encourage students to write letters with a purpose. This could be a way to have students write letters to the community.

Introduce students to letter writing with creative activities to get them hooked. By using creative activities, you can help your students internalize the letter writing format.

Having students create dialogue journals can help students build relationships and improve writing fluency.