Tuesday, November 27, 2012


We are starting the annual Letters About Literature assignment, and so we will spend the next couple of weeks analyzing model letters so that the students can figure out what will make a successful piece. The purpose of this activity is for students to write a letter to an author telling him or her how their book changed the student's view of the world or of themselves, and the first mini-lesson is that their letters should, "correspond not compliment." 

One of the exercises has them looking at a letter to Dr. Seuss about How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The piece is nothing but praise, no substance to it, but because I have found that this story is so very familiar to almost every student (regardless of ethnicity or religion) I always ask them to suggest possible revisions to the letter based on the lessons they might take from the classic tale.

You might predict that they would all have something to say about materialism and holidays, but the number one theme my students identified was rather that nobody is as bad as they may seem, and even the meanest person can turn it around.

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