Friday, October 21, 2022

Writing a Business Letter in Grade 6 & Making a Difference

In grade 6, the Language Arts curriculum in Waldorf schools includes writing Business Letters. This goes along with Business Math, the main math theme for the year (review of Decimal Fractions plus Percents, Formulas, Graphing).

I always believe in having the letter be authentic, so when would a child feel compelled to write to a business?

Well, we've done a few so far in my teaching career.

The first time was to the trash company we had a contract with at Tidewater. For a long time the teachers complained that they weren't recycling the recycling. So they told us to write "RECYCLE" with Sharpie on each bag of recycling. And then the trash truck would still pick up everything -- Trash and Recycling -- and put it in the same compactor. Squish!!!

After watching this go on for a while, the children wrote to inquire whether they were actually recycling it. After all, they were charging us extra for their recycling service. The company wrote back to say not to worry, they sorted it out later at their facility. The children wrote again to ask for a fuller explanation, because they questioned the idea that it was sorted out after it was in a compacted state, and asked if they could come and watch the actual process. The company simply did not respond. So the children waited a few months and then wrote a third time to cancel the contract, and they researched and chose the new trash / recycling company for the school.

Of course, you can always write a letter to a local business telling them what a good job you think they're doing. It doesn't always have to be a complaint! But I think the most memorable letters are the ones where children feel like they are making a difference. And that one really stuck with me as well.

And now I have a new reason to write a business letter. I hope that everyone who reads this post joins me in this effort! Here's the business address:

    Hasbro, Inc.
    1027 Newport Avenue
    Pawtucket, RI 02862

And here's the problem: Racist Checkers Instructions

Last week when I was preparing the Colonial America Activities, I planned for us to play Checkers and Marbles. The marbles instructions we used were these: Some Rules for Playing Marbles (PDF)

The checkers instructions we used were these: Checkers Rules (PDF)

BUT on the way to finding checkers instructions I liked, I ran into these: Introductory Rules for Checkers (PDF)

I don't know how old they are, but they are clearly out of date and wildly inappropriate.

"was even played by the savages of New Zealand
before the first white people came to that land"

Are you kidding me!!!

These weren't hard to stumble across either. When you put "checkers rules PDF" into Google it is the SECOND result. And it's not buried way down in the bowels of the Hasbro website, like a long-ago artifact that someone forgot to remove.

common / instruct / Checkers.PDF

Are these really the Checkers instructions that Hasbro wants to be sharing with the world???

I'm going to have my sixth grade student write a letter requesting that this PDF immediately be removed from the website and a different document giving the rules of checkers put up in its place. If they'd like, I can also have all the children in our school sign it. And hopefully if everyone else who reads this post complains as well, we can get this changed in very short order.

1 comment:

Renee said...