The Curriculum of the Steiner School - Class 5

Notes and Lesson Plans

Friendly Letters
updated January 23, 2021


Recorded here is my own personal collection of articles, resources, favorite links, teaching ideas, and lesson plans. It encompasses many years, from the very beginning of my experience studying and learning about Waldorf to the present time. People from all around the world visit my site and recommend it to others. Welcome!

This site records my journey. I hope my honesty is encouraging and helps break down some barriers that may prevent people from trying Waldorf methods. Because this is an ongoing site documenting my curriculum planning and ideas, some materials are more Waldorf-y than others. Please feel free to take what you like and leave the rest.

This page has helpful links and LOADS of free resources to help you plan your fifth grade year. Enjoy!



Mission Statement - Consulting Services - Lending Library


Friendly Letters
for Class 5



Rationale
As with every other topic, Waldorf takes its time with composition skills.

Although you are constantly doing the writing process every single day as you work on the main lesson books (double-spaced rough draft on loose paper, editing meeting with an adult, final version in MLB), there are other kinds of writing besides just explanatory!

Personal Narratives are commonly done in 4th Grade. Steiner never mentioned Friendly Letters but I like to put them in 5th Grade. Having pen pals is handy when you are doing U.S. Geography. Steiner was VERY big on writing Business Letters in 6th Grade. In 7th Grade, children get into Creative Writing (this is the block called Wish, Wonder, and Surprise) and in 8th Grade they tackle Persuasive Writing, Essay Writing, and Speeches.

Obviously, it is not hard to explain the idea of letter writing to your child, so no textbook is needed! This is a good chance to make sure your child has memorized your complete mailing address, as well as the two letter postal abbreviations of all 50 U.S. States (or your home country).

Instead of as a main lesson, it makes sense to do this throughout the course of 5th grade. However, it would be nice to make a MLB or even a scrapbook where you collect all of the letters you receive from different parts of the country!

If you do choose to develop this topic into a main lesson, you could do the history of the post office and of the stamp. Perhaps combine it with the Decimal Fractions block! You can look at old stamps which weren't "Forever" and calculate how many stamps would be needed to mail a first class letter today. I have stamps with amounts on them (27, 33, 37, and 44 cents) as well as a book of Tiffany stained glass 1 cent stamps. You can explain how small denomination stamps were added to large ones to make up the new cost of mailing a letter, and that large parcels used to come slathered with stamps instead of a barcode label.

If you find a vintage U.S. post card from long enough ago, it will say on the back "place one cent stamp here."

Postage isn't included in the Third Grade Maths of Practical Life, so it would be fun to do it now! And because it has to do with money, it's perfect as part of the Decimal Fractions block or for practice any time throughout this school year.


Booklist

For fun, here is a list of stories that I know of which are written completely as a series of letters. Let me know if you find others!



Stringbean's Trip to the Shining Sea

by Vera B. Williams and Jennifer Williams
little boy writes a series of postcards home on a road trip from Kansas to see the Pacific Ocean



Thank You, Santa

by Margaret Wild
little girl from Australia becomes pen pals with Santa and knits things for the littlest reindeer



by Sarah Stewart
little girl goes to the city to stay with an unknown relative during the Depression, writes upbeat letters home about her attempts to garden in the grimy city and to make her grumpy uncle smile



The Quiet Place

by Sarah Stewart
little girl moves from Mexico to the U.S. and slowly adjusts to her home, nice for teaching about the Closing as you must watch carefully to see when this changes, will inspire you to build a box fort!



A Small Dog's Big Life: Around the World with Owney

by Irene Kelly
fictional mail but a true event, the extensive travels of Owney, "Mascot of the Railway Mail Service"



The Journey of Oliver K. Woodman

by Darcy Pattison
life-size wooden man hitchhikes from SC to CA as a gift from a loving uncle to his favorite niece (with specific city names like Rough and Ready, CA it is nice for inspiring a look at road maps)



Love, Mouserella

by David Ezra Stein



Shooting at the Stars: The Christmas Truce of 1914

by John Hendrix
this touching true story is excellent but would be better in Sixth Grade Philosophy ("Compassion")


There's a great list of even more epistolary-themed picture books about pen pals and postmen in the Epistolary Picture Books That Will Make Your Child Want to Be a Pen Pal blog post by Gretchen Louise.


Of course, in the chapter book category we have


Dear Mr. Henshaw

by Beverly Cleary


For adults only:

Ella Minnow Pea: A Progressively Lipogrammatic Epistolary Fable

by Mark Dunn

A hilarious epistolary book about the residents of a fictional island, Nollop, where one letter at a time is banned from the alphabet due to weakening glue on the town's sign... and as each letter falls off the sign and is subsequently removed from all use, Mark Dunn himself no longer uses it (thus the "progressively lipogrammatic" part of the title).



Affiliate links through Amazon cover domain registration, web hosting, and website backup fees. This allows me to offer
my materials for free. Any extra revenue is used as our homeschool budget for the month. Thank you for your support!

Waldorf Curriculum Copyright ©2006-2021