Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Why Thank You!

Jeanne Barber-Morris
Santa Rosa District Schools


Read aloud THANK YOU, MR. FALKER. Students hear examples of Idea and Voice. Class discusses the book's different writing traits and the theme ideas. Students write a thank you note to their hero, as an at-home activity.


The student uses a variety of strategies to prepare for writing (for example, brainstorming, making lists, mapping, outlining, grouping related ideas, using graphic organizers, taking notes).

The student focuses on a central idea or topic (for example, excluding loosely related, extraneous, or repetitious information).

The student uses supporting ideas, details, and facts from a variety of sources to develop and elaborate the topic.

The student uses an effective organizational pattern and substantial support to achieve a sense of completeness or wholeness (for example, considering audience, sequencing events, choosing effective words; using specific details to clarify meaning).

The student generally follows the conventions of punctuation, capitalization, and spelling appropriate at fifth-grade or higher level [see benchmark LA.B.1.2.3 for specifics].

The student revises draft to further develop a piece of writing by adding, deleting, and rearranging ideas and details.

The student writes for a variety of occasions, audiences, and purposes (for example, letters to persuade or request, humorous or suspenseful stories to entertain, instructions to inform).

The student uses electronic technology (including but not limited to word-processing software, electronic encyclopedias) to create, revise, retrieve, and verify information.


-Copy of book THANK YOU, MR. FALKER! By Patricia Polacco (ISBN# 0-399-23166-8)
-Notebook paper and pencils for each student
-WRITER'S EXPRESS: HANDBOOK FOR YOUNG WRITERS, by D Kemper/RNathan/P. Sebranek,1995, Wilmington, Write Source (ISBN#0-669-38633-2)
-Overhead of homework activities (see attached file)
--Did You Know You’re My Hero?- sheet (see attached file)
--Thank You Note Rubric- sheet (see attached file)
-Colored Card Stock
-Colored construction paper
-Colored typing paper sheets
-Colored pencils
-Colored markers
-Desktop publishing software


1. Obtain a copy of THANK YOU, MR. FALKER. ( (ISBN# 0-399-23166-8)
2. Prepare overhead of the homework activities. (see attached file)
3. Prepare copies of -Did You Know You’re My Hero?- sheet for each student.
4. Prepare -Thank You Note Rubric and Evaluation- sheets for each student.
5. Gather various kinds of art paper in different colors. (card stock, ream paper, and contruction paper)
6. Set up art station with different colored papers, colored pencils, and colored markers.
7. Prepare computers or available small desk type hardware with desktop publishing software.
8. Prepare a printer for final drafts.


Lesson One

Open a discussion on the definition of a hero.
Ask for questions and direct the students to prepare a book of gratitude for someone special!
Teacher says: ( suggestion)
We have been blessed with many special gifts and talents. Perhaps it is the ability to sing or to play a musical instrument. Perhaps it is athletic ability or the ability to be compassionate and kind. Think of the special gifts or talents that you possess.

1. Read aloud the book THANK YOU, MR.FALKER by Patricia Polacco.

2. Share your excitement with the hero Ms. Polacco has now, for all her life. Discuss the feelings you and the students get from the book.

3. Show each picture and discuss Ms. Polacco’s artwork.

4. Use the book as an important example for their assignment.
Teacher says:
Think of the special gifts or talents that you possess. On your notebook paper make a list or create a web brainstorming these gifts. Next to each, give a reason why you are grateful for it.

5. Hand out one copy of the -Did You Know You’re My Hero?- sheet. (see file attachment)
Teacher says:
Your assignment this week is to write a thank you note of at least one paragraph to someone for giving you, encouraging you, or teaching you a particular talent. Express your appreciation and tell why you particularly enjoy this talent or gift. You should be focusing on PURPOSE and IDEAS this week.

6. Go over the sheet, stress the important areas, and ask for examples of student’s heroes. Ask why that person is heroic.

7. Have the students attach their prewriting lists or webs to the back of their homework direction sheet (Did You Know You Are My Hero?)

8. Go over (or review according to what you have taught ) the different steps of writing.

9. They are to work on this as a three night homework activity involving their parents/ guardians as their listeners and editors. Students use their ideas from their prewriting to start draft one on the first night of homework.

10. Each day review, discuss, and remind the class what the next step is for them to complete on the remaining nights, using the chart below on an overhead.
Monday night: Write draft one, using prewriting ideas, skipping lines.
Tuesday night: Read draft one to adult editor and rewrite any changes in content and grammar.
Wednesday night: Write draft two with all new changes in cursive writing, skipping lines
Thursday morning: Turn in your prewriting sheet and two drafts attached to your direction sheet.

Lesson Two

This lesson may be done in stations if teachers have a minimum number of computers available.

1. Computer Station: Students now type their third drafts on classroom computers or small computer type hardware using available desktop publishing tools and printer

Card Design Station: Students choose what type of paper they want to use to design their cards.
Various colored card stock
Various colored typing paper
Various colored construction paper (9X11)
Have students fold and design a card using pencils, colored pencils and markers.
When they have finished typing, editing, and printing their final drafts, they cut out their note and paste it inside the card.

2. Have all students print their names on the back and then give their cards to their HEROES!


Students fill out their self-evaluation of the criteria needed to complete the thank you note card for a numeric grade. (see file name: Thank You Hero)

Teacher’s use the same check-off list of criteria for final assessment.( see file name: Thank You Hero)


1.This lesson may be taught and completed in the classroom and would take 2-3 days to complete.
2. Students can write thank you notes throughout the year as a way to express gratitude and practice their note writing. You may want to consider awarding bonus points.

Web Links

Web supplement for Why Thank You!
Why, Thank You!

Web supplement for Why Thank You!
Penpal Spectacular

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