"Does Dad still dance in the kitchen?": Writing a Letter to a Future You

I came across this really neat video infographic about the fears and excitements of growing up. The video inspired a writing lesson in which I asked my students write a letter to themselves, ten years in the future. One of the current skills we are working on in reading is making predictions, so it fit right in.

Warm Up:
I started the lesson by students showing, "Growing Up" by the Infographics show. During the video I asked students to list examples of fears and excitements about growing up mentioned in the video.

Mini-Lesson: Mentor Text
After discussing the video, I shared with the class a letter I wrote to myself 10 years in the future.
Dear 39-year-old me,  
I can’t even imagine how the world has changed in ten years, and maybe you have changed a little too. Oh, if you haven’t figured this out yet, I’m you, Ben Dalgas, at 29 years old. Speaking of, where are you in the world? Are you living in your much loved city of Salem or have you traveled on to new parts? Perhaps you have a new home in Mexico, Guatemala or somewhere new… Indonesia? 
Okay, so let me get to what is really on my heart, I want to know if your love has grown. Do you love Amy, Neli, Flora, your students, neighbors, family and world more than I do? Has your love grown for others? 
I wonder what challenges you have faced. This year when Flora was in the hospital my faith and love was deepened. The experience of our smallest child suffering was so challenging. It brought us to tears, our knees, and prayers of gratefulness. What losses have you grieved? Is your love stronger now? 
So, whew, that was kinda tough to get through, but I kinda wonder, what is Neli like now that she is 13? Does she have all the qualities of Amy? Caring, loving, empathetic. It is not too difficult for me to imagine because most things I learn these days are from 11 and 12-year-olds.   
Let me tell you, these students are true, real and gaining wisdom each day. What I love is to see their friendships grow. I wonder are these students still friends today? I hope so.  
Do their lives still connect and are they still sharing stories? Do you still hear from them? If you have the courage to ask, ask them something I wonder each day… is what I’m teaching them today, making a difference in their life? Was our class meaningful and important to them? 
I’m sorry if I’m so full of questions for you… It’s truly just hard not to ask. I know that I probably will not hear from you, but that’s okay, I’m just excited some day to be you. Thanks, for taking a moment to listen to a younger you. 
Ben Dalgas    2/8/12
Writing Activity:
Finally, I asked students to write a letter to themselves, 10 years in the future. I gave them something similar to the prompt below as a starting point.

Write a letter to yourself 10 years in the future. Here are some things you might include in your letter:

  • Fears you have about growing up. 
  • Experiences you are looking forward to.
  • Questions you have for your future self.

I really enjoyed this activity because it allowed us to write about what really matters in life, without seeming superficial. Some of my favorite lines from students were, "Am I still daddy's little girl?"  and "Does dad still dance in the kitchen like he always did?"  I hope this writing activity is as fruitful for your class as it was for ours. Enjoy.

No comments:

Post a Comment