Learning opportunity: Hand-written Thank You Notes

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The holiday season is an especially fun time for students, but parents might be scrambling for things to keep them occupied over the holiday break. Keeping their brains busy is a great way to keep them mentally prepared for the new term. Writing thanks you notes not only helps to establish ties with family and friends, it perpetuates a wonderful Christmas traditional and teaches valuable lessons in the process.

Sure, emails and text messages may be quicker, but nothing shows appreciation quite like getting a hand-written message in the mail. If your students enjoy receiving mail, you can carry on the writing tradition by getting them pen pals in exotic locations.
Start by recording all the gifts your student receives over the holidays. Get them to keep a record of who sent the gift and what they sent. This is great practice for recording results in the lab or remembering to keep records.

Don’t ask your students to write all the thank you notes at once. Such a mammoth task will most likely put them off doing it again in the future. Instead, do one or two notes together every day.

Let your student pick out the thank you note stationary, or let them decorate cards with stamps, scrapbooking supplies or pictures that they can draw or paint.
Thank you notes are short, so your student gets to practice neat handwriting; an invaluable skill that will stand them in good stead when writing exams.
Thank you notes also teach the art of good manners and diplomacy. If your student masters these skills, they will be able to navigate social and (later in life) professional circles with ease. Good manners set you apart from the crowd and effective networking is what makes for a happy, well-adjusted adult.

Encourage your students to write just three to five sentences and to use their imaginations and sense of humor. This will mean that writing the notes is a fun activity rather than a chore. Handwriting notes causes students to pause between writing words and this means they have the time to explore new ideas and styles.

It may seem old fashioned, but a hand-written thank you note is a wonderful way to express appreciation for the thoughtfulness of a friend or family member. It can also be a math exercise as you ask your student to calculate how many stamps and envelopes you need, how much it will cost to send the notes, and how much time it will take to write all the notes.
Thank you notes are a great holiday tradition that should be preserved. They have the power to teach a number of valuable lessons and will help your student to appreciate all that they have received and show their appreciation in a meaningful way.

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