Most teachers love Fridays because. . . well it’s Friday. Let me give you another reason to love Fridays. . . Friday Letters.
Narrative writing with a dash of friendly letter and a sprinkle of guided writing. Not sure if those are the exact measurements, but I am sure those are some of the ingredients for Friday Letters.
What are Friday Letters?
Friday letters are weekly letters written by your students to their families. In the letters, your students tell about their week at school while practicing:
- friendly letter components
- writing dates correctly
- and so much more
But how do your students practice all this stuff? Don’t worry, I know what you’re thinking. I’ve got you. Friday letter writing is a great time to use guided writing.
What is Guided Writing?
Some teachers use guided writing in small groups and some use it with the whole class. Either way it’s a strategy that brings students together to write about a familiar topic. In guided writing, the teacher plans with the students using a graphic organizer, uses sentences frames, and determines a focus for the students. The focus could be handwriting, ideas, elaboration, punctuation. . . I like to look at guided writing as a group writing experience where students contribute their ideas and know you’ll be there to guide them if they need it.
Let’s Write a Letter (A Friday Letter)!
Guided writing activities, like Friday Letters, gives students the chance to practice writing while you do a little hand holding.
Plan the Letter
Gather your students and talk about the great and not so great things that happened that week. Then record their ideas in a graphic organizer for students to use as they’re writing. Eventually, some will be able to do this on their own, but begin by doing it for the students.
Begin the Letter
The great part about Friday Letters is that students are able to practice how to write out dates and greetings. It is the first thing we do when we write a friendly letter! And guess what? Your students will add commas when writing dates and capitalize proper nouns. Can you believe all the practice your students will be getting from one friendly letter?
If you’re looking for friendly letter format for kids resources, you can find some in this Friendly Letter Writing post.
Here’s where your students will add all the juicy bits of their week. And here’s where you’ll provide the support they need as they begin to write. That support depends on the student, the group of students, the time of year, etc. . . Here are some ideas of ways you can support your students:
- sentence frames
- adding adjectives
- focus on punctuation
- using current phonics patterns
- combining sentences
- capitalizing the pronoun I
- adding feelings
- elaborating on one event
There’s truly no end to this list. It could go on and on.
Once your students have completed the bulk of the letter, it’s time to finish it up with a simple closing like Sincerely, Jay or Love, Cal.
But that’s Not It!
On that Friday or the following Monday, send home the letters for your students’ families to read. Then ask a member of the family to write a note on the back and return it.
My students take them home on Mondays and return them on Friday with their homework folders. It works out pretty well. If a member of the family doesn’t write a note on the back or a student doesn’t return it, it’s not the end of the world. Those that are returned, save them. Save them and make a book out of the letters as an end of the year keepsake.
How great will it be to look back at the progress your students make?
Now let’s start writing some Friday Letters! This resource includes:
- a parent letter explaining Friday Letters
- 5 cover pages for creating a book
- Graphic organizers to record ideas
- 70 friendly letter lined paper with 4 different line options each