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HomeClassroom ResourcesLesson Plans

Lesson Plan

The Correspondence Project: A Lesson of Letters

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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
Lesson Author

Leah Rife-Frame

Cambridge, Ohio

Publisher

National Council of Teachers of English

 

Student Objectives

Session One

Session Two

Session Three

Session Four

Session Five

Extensions

Student Assessment/Reflections

 

STUDENT OBJECTIVES

Students will

  • review examples of business and friendly letters.

  • compare business and friendly letter formats.

  • write letters in response to specific writing prompts.

  • apply knowledge of language structure and conventions.

  • adjust their use of writing conventions, style, and vocabulary for a variety of audiences and purposes.

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Session One

  1. Distribute copies of the Contemplating Correspondence sheet.

  2. Explain that most questions have more than one “correct” answers. Suggest that students leave any questions that they are unsure about blank and return to them after the class discussion of the sheets.

  3. Allow students a few minutes to respond.

  4. Review the students' responses to the Contemplating Correspondence sheet, using the questions as a springboard for a brief class discussion about writing letters. Refer to the Contemplating Correspondence Key to ensure students recognize the most basic details.

  5. Tell students that they will be completing a letter writing project. Before writing the letters, however, they will review standard business and friendly letter formats.

  6. Discuss the difference between the friendly letter format and a friendly tone. Explain that people can use the friendly letter format for letters that have a more formal tone (e.g., a condolence letter to someone the author does not know well).

  7. Share the Friendly Letter Sample by distributing copies to students, and displaying the sample using an overhead transparency.

  8. Have students take turns reading the body of the letter aloud.

  9. Identify the main parts of a friendly letter (heading, greeting, body, closing, and signature) by allowing student volunteers to take turns using a non-permanent transparency marker to label each of the five main parts. Ask students to label their handouts in the same manner.

  10. Use Writing the Basic Business Letter from the Purdue OWL to supplement the discussion of the parts of letters.

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Session Two

  1. Review the information covered in Session One by asking students what they remember about friendly letter format.

  2. Tell students that during this session, they will be reviewing business letter format.

  3. Ask students if business letter format is for use only by businesses. Use student responses as a springboard for discussion on the various uses for business letters (e.g., applying for employment, expressing a consumer complaint to company).

  4. Share the Business Letter Sample by distributing copies to students and displaying the sample by using an overhead transparency.

  5. Have students take turns reading the body of the letter aloud.

  6. Identify the main parts of a business letter (heading, inside address, greeting, body, closing, and signature) by allowing student volunteers to take turns using a non-permanent transparency marker to label each of the six main parts. Instruct students to label their handouts in the same manner.

  7. Again, you can use Writing the Basic Business Letter from the Purdue OWL to supplement the discussion of the parts of letters.

  8. Discuss the differences between the full-block and modified-block formats. Point to the additional sample letters from the Purdue OWL or Sample Complaint Letter to discuss the formats.

  9. Have students compare friendly and business letter formats using the interactive Venn Diagram. Teachers also may wish to have students complete a separate Venn Diagram to compare and contrast full-block and modified-block formats. If computer access is not available, distribute copies of the Venn Diagram handout to students and display the diagram using an overhead transparency. Allow students to complete the diagram together by allowing student volunteers to take turns using a non-permanent transparency maker to identify common and dissimilar traits between the two letter formats. Students should follow along by filling in their own diagrams on their handouts.

  10. Distribute the Correspondence Project Prompts and the Rubric for Correspondence Project to students. Explain the requirements you have chosen for the project, giving students details on the number of letters they should write and any required prompts they must respond to.

  11. Review the Rubric for Correspondence Project and ensure that students understand the expectations for the project.

  12. In the remaining time, have students begin the process of choosing letters to write and drafting their correspondence. Explain that students will continue this work during the next class session.

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Session Three

  1. Review the Correspondence Project Prompts and the Rubric for Correspondence Project. Answer any questions regarding the project.

  2. Tell students that the goal for this session is to complete drafts of at least two letters.

  3. Make newspapers, scissors, and tape available to students for use with the first prompt (a job application letter).

  4. Circulate among students as they work, and assist as needed.

  5. Students who require extra time to complete their drafts should do so as homework.

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Session Four

  1. Check for completion of at least two letters.

  2. Review the Correspondence Project Prompts and the Rubric for Correspondence Project.

  3. Tell students that the goal for this session is to complete drafts for the remaining letters.

  4. Circulate among students as they work, and assist as needed.

  5. Students who require extra time to complete their letters should do so as homework.

  6. Ask students to bring all completed drafts with them to the next class session.

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Session Five

  1. Review the Rubric for Correspondence Project.

  2. Introduce students to the interactive Letter Generator, and explain that they will be revising their drafts and using this tool to create final versions of their work.

  3. Allow students time to revise their drafts. Revision options are endless and open to teacher preference. Students may proofread and revise independently, through “pair and share” edit sessions with classmates, or by basing revisions on teacher remarks and comments if the teacher wishes to collect the drafts prior to Session Five and return them with comments at the beginning of the session.

  4. Students should complete their draft revisions and create final versions using the interactive Letter Generator.

  5. If needed, add a sixth session to the lesson to allow students time to complete their letters using the interactive Letter Generator.

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EXTENSIONS

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STUDENT ASSESSMENT/REFLECTIONS

  • Assess students’ understanding of the purposes and formats of business and friendly letters through observation and anecdotal notes of student participation during classroom discussions.

  • Assess students’ use of interactive tools through observation and anecdotal notes of student work while using the interactive tools.

  • Check for proper completion of the interactive Venn Diagram contrasting letter formats.

  • Use the Rubric for Correspondence Project to assess the letters students have written.

 

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