Thank you, Mr. Falker
Ideas from Megan Coburn
Concordia University Wisconsin

A: Anticipation
Begin class with a discussion about people who have changed our lives.
Ask students: Can you think of someone who has made a huge impact on your life? Have some students share their thoughts.
What makes them so special?
We are going to spend time writing a thank you letter to this person, explaining why we think they are so great! This person could be a past teacher, coach, brother, sister, parent, etc. The students get to choose who they would like to write to!
Have the students write a letter to this memorable teacher thanking them and explaining why they thought they were so special!
Students must write the following:
  • State the person’s name
  • Give at least 3 reasons why they think they are so special
  • Give 1 example of a memory with this person.

B: Building Knowledge
What is something that you have struggled with in life? Take Trisha’s reading struggles for example!
Have students fill out a graphic organizer explaining their struggles and how they have overcome these struggles in life. Maybe these struggles include skills for sports, mathematics, reading, riding a bike, etc.
Have there been people that have helped you overcome these struggles just like Mr. Falker was able to help Trisha?
Have the students work to complete the Beginning – Middle – End chart!
Have the students tell the story about their struggle.
Beginning Box: Students thoughts and feelings about what they are struggling with.
Middle Box: Things they did to overcome these struggles. People who have helped them. Different activities that they did to overcome the struggle.
End Box: Thoughts and feelings after they have overcome this struggle.
Graphic Organizer

C: Consolidation
How could I change a life?
Have the students brainstorm different things that they could do to help a friend, family member, or even someone they may not know very well.
Write these different ideas on the board.
Challenge the students to find 4 different ways throughout the week or weekend, that they were able to help someone or “change” their life. These could be very simple like opening the door for someone, or something more complex like helping your little 4 year old sister write her own name! The students will need to write down these four things on their graphic organizer and bring them back to class.
For this graphic organizer the students will need to write “I make a difference” in the center topic area. Then in the surrounding bubbles they will need to write the name of the person they helped, and continue on to tell what they did in the next bubble.
Once the students have returned this sheet they will be choosing one of the things they did to draw a picture or write a short story telling how they were able to help or change their life.

These drawings and stories can be posted on a bulletin board with the heading of “We make a difference!”