If you are looking for a way to have students write about a content-area topic beyond a simple, predictable, regurgitated summary — try this creative idea!

Wilbur Wright (New Castle, IN) fourth grade teachers Josh Richardson and Claudia Jackson are having their students write letters during the study of U.S. History. One class is designated the “colonists” the other class represents the Native Americans. Applying historical facts they learned in social studies and utilizing the letter writing format they learned in language arts, each student is writing to someone in the other class.

In their letters, students are trying to persuade one another to see the other perspective. They are tapping the trait of voice big time! Not only is there a strong sense of audience, but the persuasive writing lends itself to passionate feelings and powerful attitudes.

The same concept of writing letters from one class to another could apply to a study of different Indian Tribes, the Civil War, or even from one organ to another organ explaining the essential roles they play within the human body. And for students to know they are going to get responses to their letters (from the other class) makes it even more motivating to write.

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