We had a very successful writing lesson yesterday.
In their Winning With Writing books, the kids were on the lesson about writing a formal business letter; so I reviewed the format with them, explaining things like cc and bcc (“did you know that carbon copies originally involved real carbon?”) and why you put both addresses on the letter and the envelope.
Then I gave the kids their assignment:
“You’re going to write a complaint letter. It can be about something real or fictional—doesn’t matter. But it has to be formatted correctly and you need to include the facts, why it’s a problem, and what action you want the person to take to make it right.”
They scattered to various computers without a complaint. For the next hour everyone focused on their letters. When our time was up for the day’s lesson I took a look at what they’d done.
It was absolutely true to their personalities. That still amuses me no matter how much I see it.
R wrote a very good letter to Mr. December (principal of our homeschool) complaining that he spends more time on complex subjects with the older two kids than he does with her. She proposed that he make time for her twice a week to do the subjects that only she was interested in. She ended the letter with “Thank you for your time.” Sometimes I think that kid is older than her years.
N wrote a very short, very sloppy letter. Bit by bit, I prodded him to include more facts and less descriptive writing. His letter was also to Mr. December, proposing that the kids be allowed to have screen time early on days when our lessons don’t go all the way to 3:30. When he was done he printed and signed it and left it on Mr. December’s desk.
And K wrote a long letter (she’s still not done, as a matter of fact) to the authors of Winning With Writing, detailing the numerous errors and inconsistencies in their curriculum. She used her extensive vocabulary and wrote very convincingly, but it was an endless rant more than a business letter. She has promised to remove all but the most salient details. I hope she keeps a copy of her manifesto, too. It’s too entertaining to just delete.