Yes, I know. Most people send emails these days. However, letter writing can still be an important skill. When you send a letter, it says that you have cared enough to take the time and invest something of yourself into sending that letter.
Unfortunately, the whole letter writing process can be something of a bore for students when it comes time to teach them how to write a letter. Luckily, some new resources have come out to help alleviate that problem and make letter writing fun again.
Before you even start having the students write letters, you are probably going to want to teach students about the proper format of a personal or business letter. The people at ReadWriteThink have created a nice letter generator that takes students through the process of creating a proper letter and gives them a space for creating their own letters. The site also allows them to add a decorative border and postscript to the friendly letter. The finished letter can then be previewed, edited, and printed. As the site states,
This useful tool provides step-by-step instructions for familiarizing users with the necessary elements of written correspondence, and can serve as an excellent practice method for composing and proofreading both formal and informal letters.
ReadWriteThink has lots of other great resources for the class as well.
A recent site that has just popped onto the radar, Map Envelope is a very cool site which allows you to take Google maps images and transform them into a foldable template for an envelope. Simply type in the location you want as your template, add a custom comment and click preview. The site will take the location and turn the map into a foldable printout. You print it out, fold and glue and insert your letter. You can have lots of fun with this. You can either put your actual address into the site or have your students find a new place and write a letter pretending to be a character that lives there.
Letterfu is a site that I have used with my class a number of times. It is along the same lines as the Map envelope site but this site takes it a step further with a little origami mixed in. Letterfu allows you to choose a design to print out. The idea is that the printout paper is your letter writing paper and envelope put together. You write your letter on one side of the paper (the side without the design on it). When you are done, you fold the paper into an envelope, add your address and stamp and send it. It’s a self contained letter. The students really enjoy the paper folding process and the whole idea of sending their letter as a folded envelope. The students get the hang of the folding pretty quickly. There is only a couple of designs provided which is too bad but the site does give instructions for you to add your own designs. As well, you have to make sure that the students are folding properly and that they are making their edges as sharp as possible, which can be tricky at the younger ages. All in all, it is a neat site and lots of fun to send.