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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Writing to President Obama

Yesterday afternoon I spent some time visiting 5h graders at Driftwood School right here in Port Orford. The teacher and I had discussed in advance the various writing skills I could incorporate in my weekly visits as a volunteer.

I decided to show them the cover of the latest New Yorker, the one with the blended pictures of George Washington and Barack Obama titled, The First. The kids got it right away. They discussed how both of these men were the first.

The activity that followed was a letter to President Obama. The chatter was about how best to address him, Mr. or Mr. President, or President Obama, or President Barack Obama. Then, again, more chatter on wether to say black, or non-white, or African-American, or... Some more chatter about how much to say. How many sentences? Can we really send this letter? What is the address? Will he really read these letters?

After an hour, most of them had written a couple of sentences that were proud to show me, had looked up many words in the dictionary, and had stated their opinions on some political issues. Next week, we will polish the letters and send them off.

I will have to explain that they may not get answers.

11 comments:

Natalie said...

Let's hope they do. :D

Thank you for your wonderful comments at my place. They were appreciated greatly. Obviously, you a fine observer of the human psyche.xx

Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

Great work. Great civics & writing lessons there. I'm wondering how to make this stand out and be noticed by the new President. If the letters are short perhaps they can be combined into one letter from the entire fifth grade. They would be more likely to receive one letter from President Obama in response. I do hope a letter comes back to them.

janis said...

How wonderful! I am sure that these children appreciate your volunteering and I wish that my daughters had been so blessed while in school.
I hope that they do get responses. At least a form letter or something from the white house. How cool would that be?

lakeviewer said...

Yes, the idea of one collective letter sounds doable. Thanks for the suggestion.

pam said...

What a great writing exercise that was. My daughter is in grade five, and her class has spent a lot of time on the different levels of government.

Though, I don't think they have written letters to the prime minister!

Mary said...

Perhaps if you put all the letters into one large envelope and kind of decorate the back a little - then put a big sticker on it saying ' Future voters - our questions may be tomorrows answers!'

Grab there attention.

Ok, that was a bit cheeky - but why not?

How blessed would those kids be feeling having you come to their classroom - especially because you are there cause you want to be there. Well done.

Andrea said...

It's been so fun for me to be teaching while all this Obama history is being made. The school I work in is 85 percent Black, 10 percent Hispanic and 5 percent White. It is very interesting!

It's great that you volunteer at school. The students get so excited when any visitor comes to teach!

lakeviewer said...

Andrea,
You are right about getting excited when any visitor comes in. After talking it over with the teacher, I chose to go in on Fridays, after lunch, figuring it was dead time. If they got anything from the visit, it would not interfere with prime time.

I do remember those after lunch classes!

lakeviewer said...

Pam,
The idea of 'future voters' sounds good.

Thanks for stopping by.

lakeviewer said...

Mary,
It was your idea about "new voters". Great. I definetely feel that we need to give youngsters Political literacy too.

Thanks.

Renee said...

This must have been so much fun. Lucky kids to have you and lucky you to have them.

What a best thing. To live in the moment and at that same momemt reaching others. You are awesome.

I laughed at the Catholic girl. Did you use to have to wear a doily type thing on your head too, back in the 60s? I did.

Love Renee