Beacon Lesson Plan Library

First Class Mail

Janice Wilkins
Santa Rosa District Schools


Upon completion of the novel, THE WITCH OF BLACKBIRD POND students write a Friendly Letter to Elizabeth George Speare, the author, discussing their points of interest in the novel with her.


The student uses a prewriting strategy suitable for the task (for example, brainstorming, using a graphic organizer, listing ideas).

The student focuses on a central idea or topic (for example, excluding loosely related, extraneous, or repetitious information).

The student demonstrates a commitment to and an involvement with the subject that engages the reader.

The student proofreads writing to correct convention errors in mechanics, usage, and punctuation, using dictionaries, handbooks, and other resources, including teacher or peers, as appropriate.

The student analyzes and revises draft to further develop a piece of writing by adding or deleting details and explanations; clarifying difficult passages; and rearranging words, sentences, and paragraphs to improve meaning.

The student uses resources such as dictionary and thesaurus to confirm spelling.

The student uses conventions of punctuation (including but not limited to commas, colons, semicolon, quotation marks, apostrophes).

The student uses conventions of capitalization (including but not limited to the names of organizations, nationalities, races, languages, religions).

The student uses various parts of speech correctly in written work (including but not limited to subject and verb agreement, common noun and pronoun agreement, possessive forms, the comparative and superlative of adjectives and adverbs).

The student uses a variety of sentence structures (including but not limited to parallel structure, compound and complex sentences).


Novel, THE WITCH OF BLACKBIRD POND by Elizabeth George Speare, 1997, McDougal Littell, Inc.
-Transparency showing the form of a Friendly Letter(Grammar book)
-Transparency showing the form of Addressing an Envelope(Grammar book)
-Transparency on the Guidelines for Evaluating Friendly Letters(Grammar book)
-Transparency on the Guidelines for Evaluating Addressing an Envelope(Grammar book)
-“English, Composition and Grammar,”1988, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc.
-Chart Paper
-Magic Markers
-Paper, Pens, Pencils
-Overhead Projector
-Transparency of Mailing Address for Ms. Elizabeth Speare


1. Complete reading of the novel.
2. Make transparencies of: Friendly Letter Form, Addressing an Envelope Form, Guidelines for Evaluating Friendly Letter and Envelope.
3. Transparency of Mailing Address for Ms. Elizabeth Speare


BACKGROUND: Students complete reading of the novel.
1. Students have discussed various points of interest throughout novel reading. 2. Students engage in discussion about points of interest with teacher and teacher records responses on chart paper for entire class. Points of interest may include: History Highlights ( Puritans, Quakers, Church of England, Colonial Connecticut, Barbados, The Indian Wars, Witchcraft, Diseases of the 1600’s, etc.) 3. Teacher models form of a friendly letter found in the grammar book on the overhead and tells students to write to the author, Ms. Speare, about one or two points of interest following the form of the friendly letter.4. Teacher shows students the Guidelines for Evaluating Friendly Letters found in the grammar book and discusses each part of the letter: Heading, Salutation, Body, Closing, and Signature. 5. Teacher models form for envelope found in the grammar book and distributes envelopes to students for addressing. 6. Teacher shows students the Guidelines for Evaluating Addressing an Envelope found in the grammar book and discusses the address of the receiver and the return address with emphasis on the careful centering of the address on the envelope.7. Students complete rough drafts of friendly letters and envelopes on notebook paper. 8. Upon completion, students exchange with a partner and score letters and envelopes using the Guidelines as stated above in steps 4 and 6. Students conference and share editing and revising ideas. 9. Students then revise their friendly letter and envelope as needed. 10. Students share letters aloud if they would like to. 11. Teacher scores final drafts using the Guidelines. 12. Teacher mails all letters to the author.13. Divide days accordingly: Day 1: Letter Lecture/Write Letter. Day 2: Envelope Lecture/Write Envelope/Revise. Day 3: Rewrite and share.


Teacher assesses using the Guidelines found in the grammar book, ENGLISH, COMPOSITION AND GRAMMAR, 1988, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc. Teachers would use their particular grammar book and the section on Friendly Letter Writing. The letter and envelope will be graded on a 100-point scale as follows: Letter: Five parts of letter worth 20 points each . Envelope: Two parts of envelope worth 50 points each points each.
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