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Write a Letter to Yourself on Leap Day

Students will think about what their lives were like four years ago or what they hope their lives will be like in the future and write a friendly letter to their past or future selves.

PROCESS:

  1. Remind students that Leap Day only comes once every four years. As a class, identify some of the biggest changes that have taken place in the world over the past four years.
  2. Then point out that each student in the room has changed, too. This is inevitable because they can't stop growing and they can't stop experiencing life. Every time they go somewhere or learn something new, they change. Sometimes the change is good-sometimes it could be better. But each change has an impact on their lives.
  3. Encourage students to think about what they were like four years ago. Where did they live? What were their favorite things? What did they like to do? Is there one thing they wish they could go back and change? Or have they overcome something and wish they could go back and tell their younger selves that everything will be OK?
  4. For older students, encourage them to think about what their lives will be like four years into the future. Where do they want to be? What do they need to do to get there?
  5. As a class, review how to write a friendly letter. Make sure students know how to incorporate the six parts: heading, greeting, body, closing, signature and postscript.
  6. Encourage students to think about what they'd most like to say to their younger or future selves. Then give them time to write a friendly letter. Instruct students to be honest and stay focused as they write their letters.

ASSESSMENT:

Writing letters of this sort is a very personal experience. Because of that, students should not be required to share their letters with the class. Instead, guide students as they discuss what they learned from the experience, both about writing personal letters andif they wish to shareabout themselves.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:

Grades 3-4:
Have each student compose a brief letter to their past self. As they write, encourage them to pay particular attention to grammar and composition in their letters.
Grades 5-6:
Have each student compose a brief letter to their past self. As they write, encourage students to focus on something they're good at. Tell them to give advice to their younger selves about how they got to be good at this particular thing and what they could do to be even better.
Grades 7-8:
Have each student write a letter to their future self. Point out that in four years they will be in high school. Encourage students to delve into their hopes and dreams, fears and expectations for their high school experience.
Grades 9-10:
Have each student write two letters: one to their past self and one to themselves in the future. In the letter to their past self, encourage students to focus on a problem they've overcome and advice they would give to their younger selves to make the experience go more smoothly. In the letters to their future selves, point out that in four years they will have already graduated from high school. Encourage students to write about where they want to be and what they want to be doing at this important time in their lives.