Dear Santa ... I Can Explain

17 December 2012
Well, we're officially winding down before Christmas holidays, but that doesn't mean we've put learning on the backburner.  Last week we had a lot of fun writing persuasive letters to Santa - from the point of view of a particular villain from a popular children's fairy tale, story, movie, etc.

Monday morning I posted this letter under the ELMO.  Students read it over and we discussed what it could mean.

On Tuesday we brainstormed a list of villains that students could choose to write from the point of view of.  They had a blast with this - and I was really impressed with their creativity.  They thought of things I totally wouldn't have, such as the "monster under the bed".  LOVE it!

On Wednesday we completed our pre-writing graphic organizer - focusing on three separate sections so all our letters would have three separate paragraphs when completed (can you tell we've been HARD at work on paragraph writing).  

The students wrote their first drafts on Thursday and published them on Friday.  I am so LOVING our class set of netbooks - what a difference it has made in being able to publish our work this year!  I taught the students to make their margins a little smaller so that their good copies would print perfectly on the stationery we had.  When students had finished their letters, I had them draw a quick picture of their villain to post alongside their letter.  The final bulletin board looks fantastic - and the students had a blast writing the letters.  There were a lot of giggles when students were writing their letters.  The adorable elves on this bulletin board are from Melonheadz Illustrating - you can see them HERE.

Today we read through half of the letters and the students voted on whether or not Santa should accept their explanation and take them off the naughty list.  (And it was a perfect way to tie in data management as we made tally charts for the votes and graphed our results).  The rest of the students will read their letters tomorrow.

We're also using these letters for our Christmas Concert / Pageant this Thursday - students voted on 5 letters to share.  We'll start off singing "You Better Watch Out", then Santa will come out in costume and explain to the audience that he has heard some characters wish to plead their innocence to him.  When the students have finished their letters, we'll finish off with a few verses of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" - short and sweet - perfect!!!

If you're interested, I posted this activity at my TPT store.  It might be too late for some of you lucky ones already on break, but it just might be the perfect activity for those of you still looking for some fun ways to keep the students learning this week.  Click on the picture to the right to preview this activity.
Happy Monday!  I have never been so happy to see a Monday morning before - I couldn't wait to get to school to spend time with my kiddos this morning.  For those of you back at school, I sincerely hope your day was filled with peace and love.



  1. That is soooo cool! I think my kids will love this!!

    :) Kaitlyn
    Smiles and Sunshine

  2. I bought this after school today! I am SO excited about using it with my kids tomorrow!

    Will Grade For Coffee

  3. Such a great activity! It's going on my list for next year!

  4. Wow! I'll have to keep that in mind for next year.


  5. Love the bulletin board display!!! I bet the kids had a blast!

    The Classroom Game Nook

  6. Fantastic idea. I added it to my Christmas Lesson Plans post. The mentor texts are a great addition. Thanks!

    Janet |

  7. HI Jen,
    this was such a cute idea! i got your packet and am using it with my 6th graders. as an added activity, I have taken each of their pictures, and am having them use their faces to create their villans' pictures. I'll let you know how it turns out.


  8. What an amazingly, creative activity!!!! I love it. I know this was designed for middle school but my 3rd graders last year would have loved this. I wish I had a classroom this year to give this a try.

  9. What an amazingly, creative activity!!!! I love it. I know this was designed for middle school but my 3rd graders last year would have loved this. I wish I had a classroom this year to give this a try.

  10. Your BB came out sooooooo cute!!! What a fun activity! xoxo

  11. Thanks for this creative and interesting activity! I bought it as a writing project for next year. I can't wait to do it with my current grade 5s! They are a great bunch who will completely jump on board. Thanks for the student samples here on your blog - they help students immeasurably!

  12. I wanted my older students to write a letter to Santa, but with a twist. I am sooo happy my Google search sent me to your blog. I can't wait to start this with my kids this week. Awesome idea!!