All year I have been struggling with getting my students to write. I mean write anything. Even asking them to draw a picture can bring on a rainstorm of tears. I'm sure many of us special education teachers face this each day due to the challenge of fine motor skills. However, I thought, if I can make it fun and interesting enough, maybe I can get them to start writing.
Sure I had tried all of the cool prompts. We have writer's workshop notebooks where they literally can draw or write anything they want, but I still felt like we were getting nowhere. Until the other day, where they wanted to write a letter to a classmate who has been out sick. Genius- I thought. I'll run with that idea. So over April vacation I crafted this center that they thought would be a game and I would see it as a perfect way to work on our writing skills.
Dave was nice enough to fashion this cardboard box into a mailbox in little under 20 minutes. I took it to school the next day and painted it. (Note to self, paint doesn't stick well to clear plastic tape.) I created a handful of letter writing templates on my Mac along with some fake stamps. My dad (a true mailman) donated an old letter carrier shit and hat to my center too.
I introduced it today, and it was a hit. Immediately my first and second graders took to the task of creating postcards for their friends and family. I accommodated the kindergarteners by getting them to draw the picture first and then having cut out icons from Boardmaker of family members that they could mail their postcard to. When they finished a postcard, I made them come to me to "buy" a stamp. This way I could check their writing and make sure it was complete. After that, they went right over and put it in the mailbox.
|(Click to download)|
Towards the end, it started getting a little chaotic as all new toys or games become. Everyone was shouting "Postman, how do you spell ____?" Then our tent ( which is a jeep) was moved over by some students to pick up the mail. We ended it for the day, but I plan on using it twice a week for now.
A success I think!