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The Correspondence Project: A Lesson of Letters
|Grades||9 – 12|
|Lesson Plan Type||Standard Lesson|
|Estimated Time||Five 50-minute sessions|
Students practice writing effective letters for a variety of real-life situations, such as responding to a prompt on a standardized test, corresponding with distant family members, or communicating with a business. They begin by reviewing the differences between business and friendly letter formats, using examples and a Venn diagram. Next, students write two letters, choosing from a list of prompts that include letters for varying audiences and purposes. After completing drafts and revisions, students complete their final versions using an online tool.
Letter Generator: This online tool allows students to read about the parts of a letter. They can then write and print their own friendly or business letter.
Interactive Venn Diagram: Use this online tool to organize ideas for a compare and contrast essay, or while reading to compare and contrast two works of literature.
In Both Art and Craft: Teaching Ideas That Spark Learning, Diana Mitchell explains that teaching is "about gently uncovering ways for students to find their way into the learning by making connections within themselves" (23). Students are more likely to "find their way into learning" when assignments have clear application to real-world tasks. As Mitchell explains it, these types of assignments, "have a ‘nowness' about them; there is a reason for an importance to doing them at this point in time" (24). In addition, personal connections are made more easily when students have a degree of choice within a writing assignment. Mitchell triumphs assignments that "are fun and interesting," as well as those that "provide lots of possibilities and tap into . . . imagination" (24). In that spirit, this lesson in letter writing provides a functional application for writing and, at the same time, encourages students to make personal connections through a variety of letter topics.
Mitchell, Diana, and Leila Christenbury. 2000. Both Art and Craft: Teaching Ideas that Spark Learning. Urbana, IL: NCTE.