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This Pen Pal letter lesson is on Paragraphs and Grammar


Language Arts  


3, 4  

Title – Pen Pal Letters
By – Jamie Rettke
Subject – Language Arts
Grade Level – 3-4
Topic Reading/Writing – Friendly Letters
State Goal 3: Write to communicate for a variety of purposes. Learning Standard A: Use correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and structure.
Learning Benchmark 3.A.2: Write paragraphs that include a variety of sentence types.
Learning Standard C: Communicate ideas in writing to accomplish a variety of purposes.
Leaning Benchmark 3.C.2a: Write for a variety of purposes and for specific audiences.
Student Objectives: When asked, the students will be able to:
1. Demonstrate an ability to create a letter of at least 2 paragraphs
2. Edit letters for clarity, punctuation, capitalization, and correct verb tense
All about me sheet (optional)
writing materials
Example letter, showing format
Materials Preparation: Create an All About Me sheet for students to record their interests, hobbies, etc. The students will be able to use these sheets to refer back to when needing ideas for their first letter. This sheet will be filled out by the students before introducing Pen Pal Letter.
Integration of Technology
The students with use Microsoft Word to type the final copy of their letters.

Criteria: letters must include:
At least two paragraphs
Correct use of punctuation
Correct use of capitalization
Motivation component
Ask students to define what they think a “pen pal” is. Ask students if they have ever had a pen pal. Explain how when you were a bit younger than they are now, you started writing a girl in Washington. Talk about the experience and how just two years ago, you went to Washington, to be in the girl’s wedding. Explain to class that we are now going to start writing to students in another 5th grade class, in New York. Ask a student to come to the map to point out New York.
1. Brainstorm ideas to write in the first letter. Make the first suggestion, then ask the students for further possibilities. Remind the students that this other class lives in New York and may have never been to Illinois.
a. Suggested ideas: hobbies; what you did over the summer; talk about the town/state; if you have ever had a pen pal; , etc.,
b. Remind student that they should try to ask their pen pal questions, so that person has something to respond to.
2. Write all ideas on the board for the students to refer back to.
3. Review the format of a friendly letter. Create a large sample letter on the board; label the following: date, greeting, body, closing, signature.
4. Either on the board or on a large piece of poster board, model a sample letter with the students. Tell the students to refer back to the brainstorming ideas or to their “All About Me” sheet for ideas.
5. Define criteria: letters should have at least two paragraphs and must include capital lettering and correct punctuation.
6. Explain that because there a may be an uneven number of boys and girls in the two classrooms, boys may write to girls and visa versa. So, all the names of the students in New York are written on index cards. Students will pick from the face down cards, so it is all by chance who you get. Have students begin writing their letters. Circulate around the room.
7. Once letters are completed, they should be checked (and edited, if needed). Once edited, they may begin writing their final copy of the letter.
8. For the final copy, the students will go to the school computer lab and type their letters using Microsoft Word. The final draft will be mailed to the school. All other copies should be kept in the writing folders.

Jamie Rettke
Tinley Park, IL

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