Students love Letterman, our Friendly Letter Superhero.

Friendly Letters: Superhero Style

Children love superheroes so what better way to engage them in writing than with Letterman?

During my second-grade friendly letter study, Letterman, our Friendly Letter Superhero, visits the classroom each day to teach a specific friendly letter skill. He leaves colorful L’s on the classroom door to signal his visits. My students are true believers! They are so excited to see L’s on the door in the morning; they race over to the Learning Nest to read his latest letter. 

Students love Letterman, our Friendly Letter Superhero.

Letterman first introduces himself and asks students to write a letter to him, a perfect pre-assessment. The next day, he teaches the parts of a friendly letter with a color-coded letter and special chant. During subsequent lessons, he teaches students how to plan, draft, edit, revise and publish letters. Students pull name sticks to determine which classmate they will write to. Using Letterman’s superhero skills, students complete the writing process and mail the letters after publishing.

Letterman bulletin board

I pick a mail carrier to deliver the mail using authentic United States Postal Service materials. Students love wearing the mail carrier shirt, hat and mailbag as they walk around to classmates’ desks, delivering the much-anticipated letters. Students read and share their letters with each other.

Mail carrier

Delivering mail

As a post-assessment, students write a friendly letter to me to demonstrate their new friendly letter superhero skills. I copy all of the letters, including the pre- and-post-assessments and make a Line of Letters for all students. I fold 12×18′ construction paper in half like a book. On the back, I staple the pre- and post-assessments next to each other and glue the accompanying rubric underneath the letters. On the inside of the construction paper, I staple the student’s letter to classmate with classmate’s response and rubric underneath. These are perfect to share at parent-teacher conferences or to send home with report cards.

Sharing Letters 2

Letterman comes to visit the class throughout the year to keep students’ friendly letter superhero skills sharp.

Letterman preview

Click here to bring Letterman to life in your classroom, too!



Shopping for Standards: Setting Up a Classroom Shop


Looking for a fun, easy way to strengthen students’ money skills? Set up a classroom market! This guaranteed favorite can be used throughout the year and modified according to instructional needs. Follow these easy steps to create your own classroom market:

1.Setting up shop: Visit your local dollar store for grocery baskets, cashier receipt pads, calculators and price labels. (Make sure each student in the center has a grocery basket so each has opportunity to shop.) Make a store awning using a cardboard science project trifold and cover it in fabric. A simple, inexpensive cash register can be found on e-Bay or local thrift shops.


 2. Providing products: Bring in canned products, purchase plastic play food or pull out Treasure Box trinkets. My market is   holiday-based to appeal to student interest so it changes regularly. Students can shop for Thanksgiving dinner, holiday gifts, school supplies, etc. Changing the product once a month promotes engagement as students are excited to see and purchase new items.


3. Pricing power: Price items according to students’ instructional needs. If you just introduced money, keep prices low and easy to count. This provides counting practice and builds number sense. As students become proficient counters, increase the prices and have students add more complex numbers. You can also add dollars and cents to increase difficulty.

4. Hiring help: For the first month or two, the teacher or parent volunteer will be the cashier, checking students’ totals and helping them make change. As students become proficient with these skills, allow students to be the cashiers. Students can partner up; one student will be the cashier, one will be the shopper and then they will switch roles. Another option is to allow one or two students can be the cashier(s) for the whole group.

5. Synthesizing standards: Add functional text forms to incorporate reading and writing standards into the market. Simple items such as shopping lists, receipts and inventory check-lists require students to read and write a variety of functional text, an important component of informational text.


Set up a shop in your classroom and you’re in store for endless instructional possibilities!


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