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Letter Writing

Author: Peg Holmes mholmes@access.k12.wv.us

Grade: Third

NE STANDARDS:

4.1.4 By the end of fourth grade, students will locate, access, and evaluate resources to identify appropriate information.
4.1.5 By the end of fourth grade, students will identify characteristics of different types of text.
4.1.6 By the end of fourth grade, students will identify and apply knowledge of the structure, elements, and meaning of fiction and provide evidence from the text to support their answers.
4.2.1 By the end of fourth grade, students will identify, describe, and apply knowledge of the structure of the English language and standard English conventions for sentence structure, usage, punctuation, capitalization, and spelling.
4.2.4 By the end of fourth grade, students will use a variety of forms to write for different audiences and purposes.
 

OBJECTIVES:  Students will...

1.   Develop various types of writing including but not limited to narrative, informative, and persuasive (e.g., paragraphs, short stories, reports, and letters)
2.   Use electronic and traditional editing strategies to spell words correctly (e.g. proper nouns, in and in homophones)
3.   Correctly use capitalization skills (e.g., beginning of sentence, titles, proper nouns, salutations of letters, pronoun, "I")
4.   Correctly write and punctuate a friendly letter

MATERIALS:

paper, pencil, Dear Benjamin Banneker by Andrea Davis Pinkney

Tools and References:

This site provides background information about the life of Benjamin Banneker. http://sun3.lib.uci.edu/~afrexh/Banneker.html

This site contains copies of the letters exchanged between Banneker and Thomas Jefferson.  http://www.lib.virginia.edu/etext/readex/24073.htm.

This site also provides background information about the life of Benjamin Banneker and copies of letters written by Thomas JEfferson.  http://www.ai.mit.edu/~isbell/HFh/black/bhis.html
 

PROCEDURE:

Anticipatory Set:

Students will read the book Dear Benjamin Banneker by ANdrea Davis PInkney to the class or with the class if a classroom set is available.

Discuss the conditions of slaves in America during the life of Benjamin Banneker.

Activities:

1.  Discuss the letters that Benjamin wrote to Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson and the replies he received from Jefferson.  Copies of Bannker's  and Jefferson's letters may be found at the URL:

http://www.lib.virginia.edu/etext/readex/24073.html

http://www.lib.lsu.edu/lib/chem/display/banneker.html

2. The teacher will explain the correct form for writing a letter (include return address, greeting, body, closing, and signature.   Students may post grammatical questions at the following sites and receive answers within 24 hours:

http://www.ai.mit.edu/~isbell/HFh/black/bhist.html

http://www.grammarnow.com/

3.  Students will write a letter to either Benjamin Banneker expressing their opinions about slavery in the United States or to Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson expressing concern about slavery in the United States.

4.  Letters will be reviewed by peer editors and the teacher.

5.  The students will use a work processing program to type the letter and check spelling.

6.  Each student will read his or her letter ot the class.

CLOSURE:  The letters will be placed in the room on a bulletin board to display everyone's work.

ASSESSMENT:  Students will be graded according to a writing rubric used for all class writing.
 

Reference:  http://www.wvaworldschool.org/html/lesson/lplans/langarts/pholmes/benjamin.htm

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