Thinking Like Santa

Thinking Like SantaProject Summary
Young students will write their letters to Santa Claus on using a word processor. Their teacher will send the letters to a class of older students, whose job will be to answer the letters as Santa would.

This project originated on the FrEdMail Network, with Dennis Cowick acting as the coordinator of letter writers and student "Santas." The first year all participating classrooms were from the San Diego County area. In subsequent years, classrooms from all over the United States have joined the exchange.

This activity can be very successful if a few guidelines are followed. First, it is very important that every student who writes a letter receives a reply. It is helpful if the "Santas" include a few extra "generic" letters so that new students, or ones who were absent when the original letters were written, will not be left out. Secondly, allow for at least three weeks lead time. The letters should be sent to the "Santas" as soon as possible after the Thanksgiving break. Thirdly, the "Santas's teacher", should specify beforehand, exactly how many letters his/her students will be able to respond to.

Suggested Grade Level and Audience
Letter writers: Grades K-2
Santas: Grades 6-12

Estimated Time Required
3-4 weeks

Student Learning Objectives
For the older students:

  • To respond to questions as Santa Claus might.
  • To develop an awareness of the Santa Claus tradition.

For the younger students:

  • To communicate knowledge and information to others.

For all students:

  • To practice writing, editing and revising
  • To reinforce word processing skills
  • To communicate with a distant audience
  • To engage in electronic transfer of information

Writing Prompt

The letters you will be receiving were written by elementary school students. These students think they are writing to the real Santa Claus. Your task is to write back to the students, as Santa might.

They will be thrilled to get a personalized letter from Santa. So, be sure to answer all their questions and tell them things about how you think Santa lives. Some things you might want to mention in your letter are:

  • What does the North Pole look like?
  • How do you get along with the reindeer?
  • How did you name your reindeer?
  • Why do you use reindeer instead of horses?
  • How do you go about hiring elves to work for you?
  • Do the elves ever misbehave?
  • What does Mrs. Claus do on Christmas Eve, while you're out delivering toys?
  • Where do you like to vacation after the Christmas season?
  • What type cookies do you like the best?
  • How do you know who has been good and who has been bad?
  • What do you do when a house does not have a chimney?
  • How do you find people when they move?
  • What does it feel like to fly through the sky?
  • What happens if someone were to wait up all night to try and catch you in the act?

Now be sure not to promise these children that they will definitely get any particular present that they are asking for, as we do not want them to be disappointed on Christmas morning. You might say that you need to check with their mom or dad first.

Your letters will be sent back to the children via the computer and a modem. This method of communicating is called telecomputing or telecommunications.

 

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