Monday, September 9, 2013

Letter Writing Mini-Lessons

I have the very unique opportunity of being able to eat lunch every day with my homeroom students.  This extra time with my 30 homeroom kiddos really gives us the chance to bond - and for some of my students, pick up an extra credit.  Over my homeroom block, I decided to teach a creative writing course to a few of my students that needed an extra English/Language Arts credit.  So...how did I start of the course?  With letter writing!

Because I work in a residential program, my students are not given the opportunity to go home to their parents every night, or even every weekend, so writing letter becomes VERY important.  I've noticed that the majority of my students understand how to write informal letters, like what they would write to their family members, but try to use the same format when writing formal letters.  I wanted to provide my students will the skills they would need to succeed when writing formal letters like the ones necessary when applying to some jobs and colleges.

To help my students write better letters, I whipped up a 50 minute lesson designed to help the students understand the tone and formatting that are so important to writing both formal and informal letters.  The lesson bundle includes:

-A lesson plan including objectives and common core aligned standards for grades 9-10 and 11-12
-A letter writing guide handout (a great reference material for students to use throughout the year), including a BONUS PAGE covering how to appropriately address an envelope
-A letter writing activity/assessment (scenarios that can be given to students to gauge their understanding of formal and informal letter formatting)
-A self-editing checklist (an excellent resource that can be used for other assignments)
-A letter writing rubric to aid in the grading of the letters.

Although my original lesson followed the Iowa Core Standards, this bundle is Common Core aligned to better suit everyone's needs. 

This lesson addresses the following standards:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.1d Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

Additionally, this lesson would be appropriate for a variety of different grade levels, including middle school and, with some adjustments, upper elementary school students. 

If you're interested in what you see, take a gander at my Teachers Pay Teachers store and pick up your copy.


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