By Carol Brooke
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Saturday, February 12, 2011
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Here’s a Friendly Letter printable template and lesson plan. This lesson plan includes a pre-assessment, optional read aloud, ways to include handwriting (such as cursive), technology and a friendly letter bulletin board.
- Friendly Letter (2 per student- one for the pre-assessment, 1 for post instruction)
- Friendly Letter written by the teacher (transparency for large group instruction or one copy for each small group)
- Fairy Tale Mail by Rozanne Williams
- Student chosen book, which has a favorite character they would like to write to
Prior Knowledge Assessment
Ask each student to write a friendly letter to a character in one of their favorite books. Do not explain or show the students the proper format yet. If you have in the past, assess their retention and let the students write the letter by memory. Remove any helpful posters you had which they had been referring to. It’s important that they know they are not being “tested”. Just explain this will help you determine what they actually need to know before you design your instruction. When the letters are completed and students are dismissed, review the friendly letters to check for accuracy. Use their letters as a guide to your instruction and keep all the letters for your files. After you complete instruction, you can show the students and parents exactly what the students learned!
Check for proper placement (indentation) of the following for each student, and keep it in the student’s file.
Friendly Letter Pre-Assessment:
Does the student need more help with proofreading, such as spelling, grammar, capital letters, punctuation, run-on sentences or sentences that are cut short?
Friendly Letter Instruction:
- Decide on small group or large group instruction. After reviewing each student’s prior knowledge, you can determine your instruction. It’s helpful to make notes regarding areas of specific need for each student.
- Read aloud the book, Fairy Tale Mail or another books which shows good examples of friendly letter writing (optional).
- Decide if you would like to split the students into small groups and/or instruct as a large group. Create your own letter in front of the students (either as a large group or in small groups).
- Demonstrate proofreading steps.
Students Create Friendly Letters:
- Give each student a Friendly Letter template.
- Students work independently or in small groups as they write.
- Separate into small groups for peer proofreading.
- Students make revisions.
- Students complete letters for teacher review.
- Teacher helps with any revisions.
- Students make any needed additional revisions.
- Display the Friendly Letters - Here’s a printable Friendly Letter bulletin board heading. Mount the Friendly Letter bulletin board printable on 9″x12″ yellow construction paper. Students can use large, 12″x18″ construction paper to mount their friendly letters on one side. On the other side, students can create an illustration of their favorite book character.
- Technology- Students can type their final friendly letters using Kidspiration software or any other program you find appropriate.
- Cursive – Students can write their final friendly letters using cursive writing. This is a good way to teach cursive, while teaching the appropriate format of a friendly letter. (Here are some helpful handwriting and cursive teaching resources).
About the Recommended Reading:
- Learn to Write Readers Variety Packs Grades 1-2 - The book Fairy Tale Mail is a great read-aloud you can use to jumpstart this lesson on writing a friendly letter, which is part of this pack of 12 books. Rozanne Williams’ books are ideal for writer’s workshop lessons. Each books tells a story about a different form of writing. These engaging tales use fun-loving characters to motivate and encourage young readers to want to write on their own. At the end of each book, a “Your Turn to Write” page provides entertaining activities designed to build K-2 writing skills. Children simply follow the example of characters in the story to create posters, journal entries, stories, friendly letters, and more! Each Variety Pack contains 12 books.