Letter Making with the Fish Sticks

Have you been receiving some letters from your Fish Sticks over the past months of school? Here’s some background into why!

Let’s take a closer look into our emergent letter writing curriculum in the Purple Room this year…

When we returned from our winter break in January, the children wanted to keep in touch with Lily in the Red Room. One way we decided to do this was by writing her “shine letters.” When some other Fish Sticks friends were absent from the classroom, the class wanted to send them “shine letters,” too! This was the birth of our letter writing curriculum.

We started to keep track of WHY we write letters and WHO we write letters to. Other important people the Fish Sticks wanted to write to were… YOU! Their family! With Valentine’s Day around the bend, “love letters” were next on the list of kinds of letters we can learn to write.

This was an opportunity to learn about how letters travel from one place to another using the postal service. With an address, stamp, and the mailbox, the Fish Sticks learned how to “snail mail” their love letters.

The Fish Sticks had also practiced “thank you” letters earlier in the year and continued to write thank you letters to helpers at our school like Samson, Ashley, and Kayla… as well as to family members.

The Fish Sticks started to really get the hang of writing letters when we updated the arts and writing area of the classroom to include stamps, envelopes, and stationary so that they could create letters increasingly independently. They learned the steps to letter writing, which we posted visually for them to reference. They also used tools for making their letters, such as referencing their name and word cards as well as asking one another for help peeling stamp stickers.

  1. What kind of letter will you write? Who is it for? Who is it from?
  2. Stuff the envelope
  3. Seal the envelope and address

The Fish Sticks problem solved a variety of ways to stuff their envelopes, figuring out techniques for folding their letters, and techniques for sealing their envelopes. They all have been practicing cutting tape, for example, to seal their envelopes, which is a new development in their letter writing process.

Interspersed with this open choice activity, teachers put out a variety of activities to continue to support letter recognition, letter-sound practice, and letter writing technique that enhanced the children’s ability to work on their letter making.

We also had families write letters back to us, too! Eliza’s grandparents sent us this package in the mail! This provided another opportunity to write a thank you letter and experience what it feels like to take turns giving and receiving mail.

That feeling when you give and receive a letter!

The Fish Sticks have learned that it does indeed FEEL GOOD to send love, shine, and gratitude through expressing themselves in drawing and writing. This is essential to early literacy development.

What’s next? The Fish Sticks are also learning to ask questions and develop their inquiry skills through writing and drawing. As the school year begins to wind down, we will use this letter making curriculum to help the children reflect on the year as well as start to think about their next steps. For example, we will write a letter to some of the 3/4s classrooms to ask questions and learn about what they do at school.

Another way for the children to use pen and paper is to share a big idea and b e agents of change in their world! Recently, for example, some Fish Sticks wrote letters to Samson proposing we put the bird feeders they painted on the roof for the birds. What other big ideas will the Fish Sticks have and who will they write to share them?