Instructional objectives: Students will write a letter to a service man or woman using the correct parts of a letter.
Time allotted: 45 minutes
Materials needed: The Jolly Postman, lined paper and pencils
Set induction: Ask the children about getting mail - have they gotten letters from friends or relatives, how do they like getting main, have they written to others?
1. Introduce and read the book The Jolly Postman by Janet & Allan Ahlberg. Pass the letters around.
2. Look over the letters from the book. Explain the parts of a letter. Show the children how to remember them with their bodies (head for heading, mouth for greeting, belly for body, knee for closing, and foot for signature).
3. Write a sample letter on the overhead - perhaps to Santa or to a parent or friend. Wrap-up: Ask children to review the parts of a letter in various ways - with the body, in their order, and when given sections of a letter to identify.
Evaluation: Have each child write a letter to a serviceman telling about themselves and school, thanking them for their work, and wishing the person a Merry Christmas (or Happy Holidays). These can later be revised and typed or neatly printed on some nice paper. The school's address can be used for the return address.
Modifications: If necessary, children can work with partners, but I think they can all manage a short personal letter.
Possible Follow-up/Tie-in: Read J. R. R. Tolkien's version of Hey Diddle Diddle or another fun version of a nursery rhyme or fairy tale. (The Jolly Postman involves nursery rhyme and fairy tale characters.)
View a student letter completed as part of this lesson.