Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Write Your Favorite Author

Lois Christensen
Colleges and Universities - Florida

Description

Students write letters to authors of children's books. They learn good letter writing format and recognize letter writing as a viable means of communication, especially to people with whom they would like to communicate, but are not personally acquainted.

Objectives

The student uses knowledge and experience to tell about experiences or to write for familiar occasions, audiences, and purposes.

Materials

- Pencils
- Two sheets of lined paper
- Any of Eric Carle's boks such as "The Very Hungry Caterpillar," "The Grouchy Lady Bug," "Little Cloud," etc., or books of another author who will actively receive mail from readers. (See Weblinks section for names and addresses of authors.)
- Envelopes
- Stamps
-OPTIONAL: string, magnetic tape, fishing pole, tagboard, fishbowl

Preparations

1. Prepare several letters to read to the students, or bring actual letters to read.
2. Secure paper, envelopes, and stamps.
3. Secure books by Eric Carle or other author who will receive and respond to student mail.
4. If computers are to be used, gain access either in the classroom or the computer lab.
5. Prepare an attractive overhead transparency of a short friendly letter that can be labeled with the various parts of a friendly letter. (Depending on class needs, it may be necessary to review friendly letter writing before beginning the activity.)
6. Reproduce a letter on the white board (or the original overhead transparency without labels) that can be labeled with the -fish- in the -go fishing- activity.
7. Prepare fish-shaped poster board or tag board with labels for parts of a letter on one side and about an inch of self-adhesive magnet tape to the other side. Put the fish cutouts in a large fish bowl or other receptacle and let the students fish with a pole and string which has a magnet at the end of the string.

Procedures

Day One
1. Gain attention by reading several letters aloud to the class that have been RECEIVED from relatives and friends. Ask the students what these things are that you have read and what they might be used for.

2. Demonstrate on an overhead the parts of a friendly letter.

3. Recreate a LETTER on the white board. (This can be done by either rewriting the letter on the white board or showing the image of the original overhead transparency on the white board -- minus labels. Rewriting visually reinforces both format and content.)

4. Have the students "go fishing" for the labels for parts of a letter. Prepare fish-shaped poster board or tag board with labels for parts of a letter on one side and about an inch of self-adhesive magnet tape to the other side. Put the fish cutouts in a large fish bowl or other receptacle and let the students "fish" with a pole and string which has a magnet at the end of the string. As they "catch" a fish label, they place it in its proper place on the letter page on the white board. Repeat this activity as many times as necessary to give all students an opportunity to "fish."

Day Two
5. Read a book or two written by Eric Carle.

6. Talk about what the students liked about the book(s).

7. Discuss what they would write in a letter to the author telling him what they liked about the book.

8. Have the each student write a letter to the author.

Day Three
9. Have students work in pairs to edit letters for content viability and correct grammar, usage, spelling, and punctuation.

10. Check edited letters.

11. Demonstrate the proper way to address an envelope in similar fashion to the demonstration of the letter in #3 above.

12. Prepare envelopes, stamp them, insert letters, and mail.

Assessments

During repeated experiences of the "go fishing" game, check to see if students are able to place the label of each letter part in the proper position. While the students are writing their letters, circulate around the room checking for understanding and offering assistance (formative assessment) as needed.

Editing in student pairs offers a second formative assessment opportunity as students self-correct and receive comments from their editing partners.

The final assesment is the letter itself that must be written in proper form with content complimentary of the book and perhaps a question for the author. As it is mailed and a response is received, the students gain further proof of their new skill in letter writing and communication with someone with whom they are not familiar.

Extensions

Some students may be able to write their letters on a PC either at home or at school. ESOL or special needs students may need an adult volunteer to help either translate, spell, or write for students. Because of the formative nature of this letter writing activity and the low level of complexity of the assignment, most students will be able to complete it with little or no additional assistance.

Web Links

Web supplement for Write Your Favorite Author (Link contains many, colorful graphics and may be slow to load.)
Celebrate Children's Authors

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