Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Complaint Department

Kim Forgione


Students write business letters describing a problem with a purchased product and offering a possible solution to the problem.


The student prepares for writing by recording thoughts, focusing on a central idea, grouping related ideas, and identifying the purpose for writing.

The student produces final documents that have been edited for-correct spelling-correct use of punctuation, including commas in series, dates, and addresses, and beginning and ending quotation marks-correct paragraph indentation -correct usage of subject/verb agreement, verb and noun forms, and sentence structure and -correct formatting according to instruction.

The student writes for a variety of occasions, audiences, and purposes.

The student uses electronic technology, including word-processing software and electronic encyclopedias, to create, revise, retrieve, and verify information.


-Chart paper and marker (optional)
-Poster or some form of an example showing the format for business letters
-Computers with word processing software


1) Create or buy a poster showing an example of a business letter.
2) Make arrangements for all students to access a word processing program at some point during the two lessons. Some may complete final draft at home on their own PC's.


1) Gain students' attention by announcing that each student will receive $20 to make a purchase at the local mall.

2) Brainstorm a list of items students might purchase.

3) Direct students to settle on one item each and imagine that it is defective in some way.

4) Discuss possible defects/problems with their chosen items and record on chart paper (optional).

5) Announce that students will write letters to the businesses where the defective items were bought, describe the problem, and offer possible solutions.

6) Direct students' attention to the business letter format, and discuss the elements of this type of letter.

7) Create a general address for each of the businesses to whom the students will be writing.

8) Instruct students to create a first draft, edit and revise as needed, and use a word processor to create final drafts.


During the writing process, circulate among the students and assist as needed. Assess final drafts according to the following:
1) Collect first drafts from students and assign points for evidence of planning, editing and revising. (Points: 1=lack of evidence, 2=some progress evident, 3=mastered)
2) Final drafts should be assigned points 1 - 3 according to use of word processor, correct business letter format, and correct conventions of grammar.
3) Convert points to percentages by dividing the number of points student earned by the total number of possible points.


Students should have prior experiences working through the writing process. Some students may need assistance with keyboarding. An adult volunteer can type as these students dictate. More advanced students can be challenged to redesign the defective product to reduce or eliminate future problems.
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