To end the year, I always ask students to do a series of letters. Letter writing is one of those writing tasks that aren't explicitly dictated in the standards. However, it is important. Letter writing is important to support the other disciplines. In history, students need to read and comprehend historical letters. In business, students write a variety of letters. Additionally, it is a life skill. In dealing with those modes of writing which aren't dictated in the standards, I've found that I can apply either narrative, informative or argumentative to those different modes.
Students are writing a personal letter to their future self. To remind them what correct letter writing format is, I pull up this OWL at Purdue writing website. We quickly read the website. Not many of my students write letters. This is a good way to remind them what letters look like.
I distribute the Letter to my Junior Self assignment and explain to the students they are writing a narrative letter to develop real experiences using effective technique (W.9-10.3). They must use narrative techniques such as reflection and description (W.9-10.3b). I want students to use precise words and sensory language (W.9-10.3d) so they will look back on the memories fondly.
I explain this as narrative to students, rather than expository, because I want them to understand they are creating a reflective story that expresses how they felt about their sophomore year and how they feel about their hopes for the future.
Students are writing a letter that they will seal until the beginning of their junior year when they will open it and read. I encourage them to write whatever they want in the letter because I will not be reading it. I choose to do it this way because I want students to really be honest in their writing. Keeping all of the letters and handing them to numerous junior level teachers to sort and distribute would be a nightmare in my big district. However, this would be a great idea for a smaller school! Instead, each student will seal their letter with tape and will take it home to be opened at the beginning of their junior year.
While they are working, I look for students that are struggling and help those students.
In this tips and hints for not giving a grade video, I explain how I reward students for completing this assignment.
As students finish their letter, I ask them to come to my desk, show it to me and then fold it and staple or tape it shut. I actually don't grade this letter. It is an expectation to complete it and I've never had a problem with students doing that.