Communication comes in many forms, more so today than at any other time in history. Talk with your class and ask them to name various ways people communicate. You might choose to use a graphic organizer to capture their ideas, Padlet or Wordle. Discussion can lead to comparing communication of the past with the way we communicate now. They can predict how we will communicate in the future. (The wristwatch phone of the Jetson era is no longer fiction.) Then lead the class into a discussion about letter writing compared to email and/or texting.
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I agree that e-mail has decreased the number of mailed written notes and messages. Students like to practice writing letters for a variety of real-life situations corresponding with distant family members, or communicating with a business. Some students I have had also like learning to write checks and fill out forms. I enjoy writing letters to family and friends and writing lists.
Another case of change (my new single word to guide me in 2014).
Christine, I agree that students are writing letters less often, but due to emails, texting, and tweeting they are indeed writing more.
We are worriers. Change brings about invention.
Then we worried that Google would affect our memory, when really it makes us better thinkers. Got an idea; look it up. What you are truly interested in sticks in your memory.
Texting, tweeting, and email cause students to write more, I'm not sure if Language Arts teachers will agree that they are using proper English, but they are writing to their audience. This is a form of real-life publishing, and they take pride in communicating with their peers.
What do you think a teachers role is? Should we sit back and worry that these new types of writing will negatively affect our students? Should we teach them the difference between formal writing and our more modern forms of writing to include email, texting, and tweeting. This is the world they live in. How do we prepare them for their future?
Christine, when my sister went to college I began writing her a weekly letter. I've maintained that practice throughout my life and I am finding it is one of the few times I use cursive handwriting these days. I make lists too. I've tried to use the reminder notes and similar features on the mobile devices I carry, but I still rely on a piece of paper. I continue to write out my grocery list too. There are many opportunities to incorporate letter writing in the classroom. Thank you notes to parent volunteers would be one that comes to mind.
ISTE posted a reminder on Facebook that December is "Write a Friend" month. Students can use the ReadWriteThink: Student Materials: Letter Generator to write a friendly letter. Apparently, December 7 is Letter Writing Day.
I recall when teaching in South Bend, IN, we had a "writing only" class time. If there were any questions, answers, comments, they had to be written in order to be shared. As I recall students asked to repeat this activity at other times in the year.