Drafting, Formatting, and Editing a Letter
- Students will be able to construct a letter with proper formatting and correct punctuation in the address, greeting, and closing.
- Distribute the Punctuating Your Letter worksheet.
- Ask student to read it and see if they can find and correct the punctuation errors listed.
Explicit Instruction/Teacher Modeling(10 minutes)
- Discuss the errors found in the letter.
- Point out each correction. Emphasize that the comma in the greeting goes after the name. Many fifth graders place the comma after “Dear” at the beginning of a letter.
- For each error, review the rules that apply, such as adding the comma after the city name in the address, as well as after the closing salutation.
Guided Practice/Interactive Modeling(10 minutes)
- If you don’t have a class letter-writing project for students to use as a topic, take a few minutes for students to generate the name of a letter recipient.
- As a prewriting activity, have students brainstorm a list of topics they could discuss in a letter to this person.
- Distribute the Letter Checklist and Letter Template.
- Review the items on the checklist, pointing out each feature on the sample letter used in the lesson introduction.
Independent Working Time(20 minutes)
- Instruct students to draft a letter, using the sample letter as a model, and the checklist to ensure that their work is polished.
- Instruct students to use the computer to draft their work. This will scaffold the editing process as it will automatically spellcheck and utilize margins.
- Have students write a letter without the use of the template.
- Assign students to write a business letter about an experience they recently had at a store or a restaurant and then send the letter.
- Assess whether students correctly used the punctuation skills they have learned when writing their letters by checking for commas after the greeting, closure, and return address.
Review and Closing(5 minutes)
- Discuss: What effect does it have on the reader if there are errors in a letter they are reading? What “job” does a comma do in a letter?