Holly, Jolly, and Hand-written
Developing and refining an idea. Defending an original argument. Telling a story. For the most part, most students are familiar with these types of writing assignments. Of course, these help them practice and learn core composition skills such as critical thought, consistent tone, and coherent structure.
And make no mistake... these assignments are vital for the growth of any young writer. But they can also leave out something special, almost intangible, at times. What is it? That spontaneous, personal, and casual language they use all the time. It can be found in hastily scrawled notes or letters, even texts and emails. This is where they exercise a slightly different form of self-expression that should be given as much attention as any other kind of writing they practice.
So, for a classroom exercise, consider having your students hand write letters during this time of year. In fact, here are 3 great resources which will inspire your students to love this activity!
A few years ago, novelist and creative writing professor Jon McGregor was fatigued by reading college papers. So what did he do? He simply asked people, by listing his address online, to send him any letter they wished to write. Very soon afterward and still to this day, McGregor receives all kinds of letters from strangers in his mail box, and he keeps them in an online archive right here at The Letters Page. Have your students look through and read some of these wonderful submissions to get them more comfortable hand writing in class.
TED Talks are a powerful forum for the expression of meaningful ideas succinctly and passionately, which can probably explain their enormous popularity online. Fortunately for us, Lakshmi Pratury devoted her TED presentation to "The Lost Art of Letter-Writing", movingly recounting her correspondences with her late father as a testament to the emotional power of letters. Share this talk with your students to give them a little emotional inspiration for their letters.
If your students are a little stuck, encourage them to check out Template.net, which includes over 40 friendly letter templates. This way, they can get a better idea about how letters can be structured. Your students can start with these templates since it's easy to get the general idea down.
Have any more questions about how you can incorporate hand-written letters in your class room? Feel free to reach out to us!