Letter writing has become a somewhat lost art – with the growing popularity of texting and emailing. Fairview / Miss Jewell Elementary students in teacher Miriam Marczewski’s first grade class develop their writing skills through a classroom writing station.
The station contains several platforms, including various word banks and character wheels where students can spin to have their choice of what they want to write, different choices of theme and color paper, various pens or pencils , and the ability to customize hand-written letters both physically and visually.
Students liked different types of stationery to write on and devices that help them choose their writing topics.
“I can choose from a farm animal or a zoo animal or whatever I want from the word bank,” said student Aryanna Collins.
Students write letters about what they received for the vacation and what they were most grateful for.
“I liked using the character wheel, mostly because it was about ‘girl’ and I can write about girls because I know girl stuff,” said Brooklynn Barron, a college student.
Marczewski showed some letters that the students wrote to him. She got a little emotional while reading the letters and said she was keeping them.
“The students seem to be having a great time at the writing station. It helps them come up with ideas and stimulates the imagination with the word bank. It helps them think of something and connect ideas and thoughts together, ”Marczewski said. “There is also a tuning wheel and a character wheel. All of this comes together to get little minds to reflect and come up with their own thoughts and ideas. They become more likely to enjoy what they are doing because they are genuinely interested and invested in the topic and the results.
Student Miles Henry shows the birthday word bank to show ideas he can use and help him think of things to write.
“I write letters and notes to my friends that say ‘I love you’ and ‘Do you want to come play with me’,” Henry said. “I am writing to my mom and dad because I love them and I will tell them in this letter.”
Students expressed in their writing that Marczewski made them feel cared for and safe in his classroom.
“Words from the heart are special words,” said college student Kaylee Grimes. “You can’t pronounce them and spell them that way, but you can find the right word to spell what you want to say. “