Give writing ideas to the students such as:
- Write about why the grandparents are important in your life.
- Describe what a special event spent with the grandparents meant to you.
- Describe the fun of visiting the grandparents.
- Tell how the grandparents have inspired you in career or personal dreams for your life.
- Tell the grandparents how much you love them and why.
- Ask the grandparents to write about what their lives were like when they were your age.
- Ask the grandparents to write about how they met their spouse and fell in love.
- Ask the grandparents to write about how the world has changed since when they were small.
Circulate the room while students are writing. Go over their letters with them and give advice about how to state specifically the feelings they have for the grandparent. Students should also describe particular events they have shared that are special memories. Remind students that strong writing is always to the point and includes facts.
Ask students to use literary devices such as imagery and alliteration in their writing. Discuss several examples of each writing technique with the class. These writing tools make writing stronger and more memorable.
When a student has a draft of the first letter to his grandparent ask him to have a friend “peer-edit" it. The peer edit process should involve checking for proper sentence structure, word usage, and overall impact of the letter. Each student should get feedback on the letter draft from a friend and from the teacher.
Discuss with the class how time passes rapidly and grandparents are a precious part of life. Encourage teenagers to have grandparents document their lives via journal writing, making videos, and sending letters to grandchildren.
When grading this project assess writing skills, teamwork skills, peer-editing effort, and the overall participation in the project of creating a journal to give to grandparents.
Assign projects throughout the year that help students document their family history, such as interviewing an aunt or uncle when the family gathers for a holiday. Grandparents and other relatives have much valuable information about past events in the family. This writing lesson has the added bonus of helping students work to preserve family stories for posterity.