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The following activity was inspired by a letter I received from a friend and fellow teacher at my school. It is a great activity that fits well with the curriculum for a senior elective class. It is a great activity to use with Thanksgiving.

Letter of Appreciation Activity

Mr. English (not his real name, but he is an English teacher) is the inspiration of this unit, so please do not thank me, thank him. In the era of social media, texting, facebook and twitter; writing letters is a lost art. It is extremely rare that a person receives a hand-written letter. People will appreciate the time, thought, and effort that you put into your letters. We will be completing this activity once a month for the remainder of the year.
Hopefully, we will receive some positive feedback.
What you will need the day of writing:

  1. PEN
  2. IPOD / listening device (if you choose)
  3. Paper

I would like to keep a few examples of the letters as models for future classes. (However, if you feel it is too personal, you can choose not to submit it.) I will photocopy the letters and white out the names so ALL the letters will be anonymous. We also will compile the responses that come with the letters.
After I return the letter to you, you will address the envelope, bring it home, put a stamp on it, and mail it. Even if the letter is to a person in your household, for the sake of the activity, please mail it. It is nice to get a sincere letter in the mail. It will add to the excitement.
We will follow the format of  Mr. English’s letter.
Top line – Date, weather, time started.
The Letter – There are many different topics to write about in your letter.
Appreciation – The first focus should be appreciation. Write specifically about what you admire and appreciate in the individual. You should include a specific example or anecdote / story whenever possible. This should be the most moving part of your letter.
What’s going on? – This can include the events that are going on in your life such as work, school applications, family events, etc. Essentially write about what is going on in your life.
Questions – You can ask the person you are writing to questions about what is going on in their lives.
The Closing – Finish up the letter with an appropriate closing. You can reiterate what you appreciate about the person, write about how glad you are to have them in your life, or choose another option.  List the TIME OF COMPLETION after your signature.
Below is a response from a grandparent who received a letter a few years ago. A response like this should be your goal!
January 5, 2008

Dear Mr. Teacher,

I just received a letter from my grandson and it has moved me beyond belief. At a more appropriate time I may share my thoughts about this meaningful assignment, I am too emotional right now to put it into words.
I would like a copy of your handout so I can pass it along. Please send me the attachment. Thank you. Sandra (a grandmother)
The following is included with the letter asking to feedback on the assignment.
Letters of Appreciation
In our society, we rarely acknowledge the important people and relationships in our lives. Days, weeks, months, years, and sometimes even lives pass, without ever writing to the people who have positively impacted our lives. My class has set a goal to write letters to important people in our lives. I have selected you.
We are monitoring the impact of these letters on people’s lives. We would love to hear your thoughts, feedback, and comments. Below is our contact information:
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