Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Idea Generator

Jeanette Robaldo


This read aloud activity helps students generate ideas for writing.


The student generates ideas before writing on self-selected topics and assigned tasks.


-Book featuring letter writing such as [Thank You, Santa] by Margaret Wild
-Chart paper or board


1. Gather materials such as books featuring letter writing, chart paper, markers, and a chart or transpariency with a friendly letter format.
2. Read the book before presenting it aloud to students. Formulate questions to discuss with students.


Note: Students have some prior knowledge of letter writing.

1. Introduce a book that features letter writing. Show the front cover of the book being used. For example, [Thank You, Santa] by Margaret Wild.

2. Ask if students have an idea of what this story is about. e. g. What would the girl thank Santa for?

3. Explain to the class that they need to listen to this story about a little girl who writes a thank you note to Santa.

4. Ask students if they have ever written a thank you note.

5. Ask students to suggest what other holidays gifts are given? Ex. Hannukkah, Kwanzaa, Valentine's Day or a birthday

6. Begin reading the book. Stop and show the pictures along with the format of the friendly letter on each page.

7. Discuss how we know who the letter is to and who it is from. Distinguish between the greeting and the signature.

8. Ask students to retell one of the messages and identify this as the body of the letter.

9. Ask students to point to the greeting, closing and body of different letters as you read.

10. Upon conclusion of the story, ask students what presents were given.

11. Ask “What present have you received for Christmas or another occassion that you could write a thank you letter?”

12. Encourage students to raise their hands for permission to speak. Provide positive oral feedback for answers.

13. Record students’ responses on a large piece of chart paper or the board.

14. Students who can not think of an item will be given an opportunity to add to the chart at another time.


Students generate ideas for Christmas, Hannukkah, Kwanzaa or a birthday present to be recorded on a chart by the teacher.
Each student suggests several ideas.
Students who do not readily suggest a present may be asked to think of something and add it to the chart later.
Appropriate oral feedback is provided by the teacher as needed.


The following lesson can be used to provide practice with writing a thank you note or letter.

1. Review the parts of the friendly letter (heading, greeting, body, closing, and signature). You may wish to show a large friendly letter written on chart paper or a transparency so that students can see the proper place to write each element of the letter.
2. Provide students with a form including lines for each part of the friendly letter. Remember to show an indented line for the body of the letter.
3. Assist students with the position of the heading (date), greeting, closing and signature on their friendly letter form.
4. Direct students to write a thank you note to the person who gave them their favorite present or students may also write a thank you note for being invited to a party or special dinner. A discussion of what could be written in a thank you note may be necessary for some students.

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