Your Great Aunt Gertrude: She loves you and means well, but boy, does she give strange gifts!
In this one-of-a-kind writer's workshop, students have hilarious fun as they stretch their imaginations and strengthen their writing skills to write a thoughtful and detailed thank-you note to Great Aunt Gertrude, who always manages to give truly terrible gifts. Imagine students' surprise when they "open" a gift from Gertrude to find dried-anchovy earrings or sock suspenders! Maybe even a year-long subscription to a pea-soup-of-the-month club!
(If your students can find the words to explain to Great Aunt Gertrude why they loved her gift, they can write anything!)
"Gee, Thanks" isn't just a fun activity to generate enthusiasm--it's full of useful prompts, strategies, and exercises to help writers:
1. Practice correct friendly-letter format
2. Generate ideas and brainstorm
3. Write with detail and elaboration
4. Use creative and critical thinking skills
5. Follow guidelines and use checklists to self-monitor progress
6. Be engaged listeners and collaborators
7. Reflect and improve on written work
8. Offer constructive criticism to peers
9. Understand personal strengths and weaknesses as writers
10. Apply new skills to future writing exercises
11. Enjoy the writing process!
“Gee, Thanks” guides you and students through a complete four-part writer's workshop (about 2 1/2 to 3 hours).This packet includes:
1. 27 fully-illustrated "gifts" from Great Aunt Gertude
2. Clear, thorough directions
3. Written thank-you note sample
4. "Gert's Guidelines" and "Brain Stretchers" to develop high-quality writing
5. Specific teacher-prompts to guide reflection
6. "Audience Notes for Active Listeners" student feedback sheets.
7. Multi-use "Friendly Letter Format Guide"
8. Multi-use friendly letter stationery
9. Teacher's scoring sheet and grade scale
10. Options for whole-class, small group, extensions, and bulletin-board ideas.
I created this activity for my own 5th-grade class when I noticed their enthusiasm for writing and overall quality of their written work was starting to slip. With this workshop, their enthusiasm for writing improved, students developed some fantastic products for their portfolios, and I was asked the question all teachers love to hear: “Can we do that again?”.
(All gifts--though they are very silly--are school-appropriate and in good taste!)
Try this wonderfully fun workshop, and watch your students get excited about writing!
Be sure to check out the preview for two of Great Aunt Gertrude's hilarious gifts!
Best of all--no prep. Just print and teach!
Thanks and happy teaching!