Showing posts with label language arts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label language arts. Show all posts

A Lesson in Letter Writing (and FREE STUFF!)

This is my son at America's first post office in Philadelphia, this past weekend.
Maybe it is just because I have a love for reading and writing, but I refuse to accept that letter writing is a "lost art."  Sure, we have technology that allows us to send text messages and emails where we can use abbreviations and symbols but this should not mean that we stop writing real letters.  There are times that life will call for letters such as having to write to government officials, contacting schools, and for business.  There are many more instances where writing a letter will be necessary and where your ability to write the letter well may be extremely important.

Certainly, we send more of our messages electronically, but I still want my kids to know how to write a letter and how to send it the old fashioned way.  You never know when they may need to do this.

So, I taught my daughter to write a business letter.  We went over how to address the envelope, where the stamp goes, how the letter itself is to be setup, and how to properly word it.

A found this extremely boring and tedious until I told her we'd be writing to receive FREE STUFF in the mail!  Then I had to stop her from writing these letters so we could move on to the next task!

The first batch of letters we sent out were from a website that we were given along with our letter writing lesson on Time for Learning.  However, all of those letters came back to us "return to sender" because the lists were outdated.  We had to get creative.  We found companies that the kids like and we used their "Contact Us" link to get their physical address and send them a letter.  Since we were not writing specifically to get a product they were offering, A had to send a genuine letter expressing how she felt about their specific products or brand.  Almost all of the companies sent something back: coupons, magnets, stationary, all sorts of little goodies.

We also wrote to Disney characters and received autographed pictures (postcards) in the mail.  A thought she was too old for this so I had her do it on her brother's behalf (although the Cinderella picture is in her room).  Then, I realized she could write to her favorite celebrities like the pop stars and the Nickelodeon/ Disney actors she likes so much.  All we had to do was look up the celebrity on Google along with "mailing address" to find out where to send the correspondence.  We made sure to send a self addressed stamped envelope and she has received a lot of replies. This was very exciting to a ten year old girl!  (Hint: Send a BIG envelope.)

Sure, you can connect with celebrities and brands on Twitter and Facebook but there is still nothing like the excitement of getting something in the physical mail!

Here are some links!

How to Write a Business Letter Worksheet

Create a Letter Writing Kit to Help Kids Connect

How to Address an Envelope

Some Addresses:


Justice or Brothers Customer Relations
8323 Walton Parkway
New Albany, OH 43054

Hasbro, Inc. (My Little Pony,Transformers, Basically anything on The HUB)
Consumer Affairs
 P.O. Box 200
Dept. C-847
Pawtucket, RI, 02862-0200

Kellogg's Consumer Affairs
Battle Creek, MI 49016

Mondel─ôz International, Inc. (Nabisco, Teddy Grahams)
Consumer Relations
100 Deforest Avenue
East Hanover, NJ 07936

Turkey Hill
2601 River Road
Conestoga, PA 17516

Mott's LLP
Attn: Consumer Relations
P.O. Box 869077
Plano, TX 75086-9077


You can write to Disney Channel Stars by putting their name and then:
c/o Disney Channel
3800 West Alameda Ave
Burbank, CA 91505

Most Nickelodeon Stars can be written to at:
c/o Nickelodeon
2600 Colorado Ave
2nd floor
Santa Monica Ca, 90404

Cody Simpson
PO Box 1766
Studio City, LA 91614

Ariana Grande
265 S. Federal Hwy Suite 331
Deerfield Beach, FL 33441 USA

Taylor Swift
c/o Taylor Swift
242 West Main Street
PMB 412
Hendersonville, TN

Katy Perry
947 N La Cienaga Blvd
Suite G
Los Angeles Ca 90069

Disney Characters

Disney World:
Walt Disney World Communications
P.O. Box 10040
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830-0040

Walt Disney Company
Attn: Fan Mail Department
500 South Buena Vista Street
Burbank, CA 91521

Pen Pals

Something we have not done yet but may try next year is hooking up with a pen pal!  I hesitated to do that this past year because I felt like having a pen pal was a commitment and we were so busy that I did not want her to possibly not meet her obligation and disappoint someone.

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Flocabulary is another awesome resource I found.  Now with math I needed something for extra help, but with language arts my daughter is way ahead of the game so I needed something fun and challenging.  I have to admit Language Arts is challenging for me to teach only because there is just so much of it.  We could probably do it all day long between writing, reading, puncutation, grammar, and vocabulary.  Flocabulary has videos on all of this and on other subjects too like math, social studies, and science.

Unlike Time4Learning, you don't have to pick a grade level, so I can skip my kid ahead when I want to and I have access to lower grade levels as well.  Each subject has a video and then both online and printable activities.  The vocabulary arena is where this site really shines but I have enjoyed all of the activities we have done thus far.

All of the vidoes are fun, hilarious, hip hop songs.  They are catchy so they stick with you and they are clever so they make smart kids light up and get inspired.  I had a few people look down their noses at me and say "Well we don't listen to hip hop."  It's not gangster rap, people.  It's intelligent rhyming that takes talent and is intended to make kids smarter.  It honestly reminds me a lot of Will Smith back when he was the Fresh Prince and he told us how, "Parents Just Don't Understand."

To add an even cooler element to this site, there are lessons for how kids can make up their own rhymes to help them learn (or just for fun!).  I plan to do this sometime soon with my daughter.  She's a writer at heart and loves words.  Vocabularly is so easy for her so taking it to another level by incorporating words into a rhyming song will be right up her alley.

I also have used the math videos to help her remember facts (just as a little extra added to what we are already doing) and if I find a social studies or science video that goes along with something else we are learning, I use that too.  I just love seeing her light up and laugh when she watches these things.  I love seeing her enjoy herself with schoolwork!  I also feel like these lessons don't talk down to kids, if you know what I mean.  It gives kids credit for knowing a lot more than most other online lessons do.  So, it challenges them and makes them think. I can't say enough good things about this site.  In fact, I may ditch Time4Learning and just continue a membership with this site (I am on a free trail right now).  Time4Learning is cool in that is basically is a whole online curriculum but the science and social studies are boring, a lot of the language arts are way too easy, and I find the site overwhelming and confusing.  We wind up just using it once a week or so to mix things up so it may not be worth the money since I have a curriculum outside of the site.

If anyone is actually reading this and wants to check out Flocabulary, here is the link.  They have free videos and printables to check out and, like I said, a free trial.

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