Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Write or You're History!

Jill Blonder


Students write letters demonstrating their knowledge of how to use English in formal and informal settings.


The student demonstrates an awareness of the difference between the use of English in formal and informal settings.


-Computers for word-processing (optional)


Provide each student with the rubric for the letter.


Students will write letters using both formal and informal language.

Authentic Context:
As a freshman at ________ University, you rely on your car as the main source of transportation. After several months of constant mechanical difficulties, you have decided to express your concerns to both your parents and the car manufacturer. Both letters will convey the same message however the letter to your parents will use informal language; the letter to the car manufacturer will use formal language.

Students first compose an informal letter using current language and symbols. The language and symbols must be “G” rated and meet School Board standards.

1. Students include, but are not limited to, the following information in the body of their letters.
*a greeting
*an inquiry into the person's health
*an inquiry into what the person is doing
*an inquiry into what exciting events have happened to the person lately
*an explanation as to what has happened to your car recently

2. Students include a closing and a signature.

3. Review the checklist with the students.

4. Students then compose a second letter following the “Business Letter Format” checklist.

5. Explain that the information in this letter will be the same. The only difference is that the students will demonstrate the use of informal language to communicate ideas in one letter and formal language to communicate the same ideas in the other letter. The use of a thesaurus for the second letter is accepted and encouraged.


A checklist is used to assess the two letters. (See attached file)

Assessment Solution: Students should truthfully answer yes to each statement on the checklist.

The teacher uses the rubric to assess the letters. This rubric is a suggestion. Any rubric should be an assessment tool that reflects the process which leads to the product expected. A scale was not included and should be delineated by the teacher and the class.

Self reflection - Why is it important to be able to communicate effectively in a variety of situations? Use real-life situations as examples of effective communication.


Write and mail a letter of complaint to a company from which you have received a faulty product or poor service.

Attached Files

Checklists for both friendly and business letters.     File Extension: pdf

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