I explain to my students that today we will close our unit on the U.S. government. We have studied the branches of government, completed web quests on U.S. Presidents, and today we will select any U.S. President (past or present) to write a friendly letter. First, we will watch a portion of a Brainpopjr video which focuses on writing friendly letters.
Click here to view the portion of the Brainpopjr video about writing a friendly letter.
Next, students actually get down to the business of writing friendly letters to past or present Presidents of their choice. I show them some examples of letters written to U.S. Presidents to use as a guide (see attached resource). I explain to my students that in their letters, they can tell why they admire the President, ask him questions, or even tell him about themselves. I answer any questions students have and they get started.
Students take this opportunity to share what they wrote to a U.S. President in the form of a friendly letter. This allows them to not only practice their writing and reading skills, but their speaking and listening skills, as well.
We close the lesson with an exit ticket on which students write one question they still have about a U.S. President. I allow them to share their questions as a whole group. I have found that allowing my students to generate their own questions allows them to take ownership of their own learning. It provides them the autonomy to know that they are valuable resources, as well. They understand that I, as the teacher, do not have to provide them with all of the questions and all of the answers.