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Time Capsule Essay (A Letter to Future Students)

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Keywords: future, time capsule, writing, past
Subject(s): Writing, Social Studies, English/Language Arts, Spelling, History
Grades 2 through 4
School: Dozier Elementary School, Erath, LA
Planned By: Melissa (Terry) Romero
Original Author: Melissa (Terry) Romero, Erath
Our School District recently buried a fifty year Time Capsule. The entire Dozier Elementary student body was able to preserve photographs, clips, letters to students to read in 2060. This lesson can be used or adapted for any type of lesson on the future and it also incorporates higher order thinking skills. Listed below is Dozier Elementary's Time Capsule Project Link, which shows many of the activities which occurred.

Goal: To write about the year 2009 for students to read in fifty years.

GLE's: Subject: ELA

1. Discuss past, present, future
2. Writing conventions
3. Higher order thinking skills

Teacher Plan:

1. Explain the project (or lesson) to the students.You might want to talk about movies that bring in "future" reemergence (like "Back to the Future", etc.)
2. Brainstorm ideas about what life would be like in fifty years.
3. Have students complete graphic organizers of what is popular in our culture at this time.
4. Use the graphic organizer to write the paragraph.
5. Type letters on the computers.
6. Take student photos (for letters).
7. Film students reading reports using flip camera.

Student Activity:

Time Capsule Essay

The Vermilion Parish School Board has decided to bury a time
capsule that will be opened in 50 years. The time capsule will contain
electronic writings and objects from each school in the parish. These
items will tell students in the future what life was like in the year
2009. Your teacher has asked you to write an essay about the year
2009 that will be placed in the time capsule.

Before you begin to write, think about what we are learning in each
subject. What are your favorite things to do after school? What are
some popular TV shows, songs, games, clothing, and electronic
devices used today. Think about important world events and things
happening in our country today.

Now write an essay describing your life at school, home, and in the
world in the year 2009.

You will use the Guiding Sheet to help you organize your thoughts and ideas.

Be sure to do the following:
Give details and enough information so the students in the future will
understand your life in the year 2009.
Write in complete sentences.
Use correct capitalization and punctuation.
Check for correct spelling.
Make sure you have 3 paragraphs.
Your writing is neat and legible.

Optional: Have the student use a flip camera and still camera to record letters to students of the "future" and place photos of the students in the time capsule.

Reflection: Students really enjoyed working with this writing assignment. It brought in many higher order thinking skills for the students. We wrote about current events, but also discussed the future and what it might bring.
Links: Third Grade Writing Prompt Used (Can be adapted)
Dozier Elementary's Time Capsule Project Link
Graphic Organizers
My students actual writing assignments
Our School Time Capsule Article
Materials: Video Cameras, Flip Video, Point and Shoot, Short Throw Projectors, Hard Drives, Printers, Office Suite, Word Processor