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LESSON PLAN

CLASS: IX E LEVEL: INTERMEDIATE LESSON: WRITING INFORMAL LETTERS TYPE OF LESSON: COMBINED TIME: 50 MINUTES OBJECTIVES: 1. to understand how letters can be used for various types of communication; 2. to understand the conventions of informal letter writing: layout, paragraphing and style; 3. to analyse a sample of informal letter as regards layout, paragraphing and style; 4. to identify and correct mistakes in layout, paragraphing and style MATERIALS: handouts, worksheets, chalk, blackboard Today, letter writing is a lost art, replaced by the cell phone and email. Lives are busy with little time to sit down and write a letter, and yet what can replace the thrill of a thick envelope filled with news from a friend or relative. This unit will explore friendly letters with the hope that students will take the time to share, in writing, their lives and their times with others. STAGES AND TECHNIQUES 1. LEAD-IN STAGE a. Students discuss the instances when people write letters. Their discussion is prompted by the following situation (Exercise A, Worksheet 1): If you wanted to do the following things, would it be better to telephone or to write? Discuss your answers and the reason for them. - make a complaint about a service in a restaurant; - thank someone for a present; - arrange a date to play tennis with someone; - make a booking at a hotel; - ask for someones advice; - apply for a job; - appologise for something; - congratulate somebody; - give news; Estimated time: 5 minutes Organisation: class Materials: Worksheet 1 b. Then, the students answer the questions below (Exercise B, Worksheet 1) 1. When did you last write a letter and to whom? 2. When did you last receive a letter and from whom? 3. How did you feel when you last received a letter? Why? Estimated time: 2-3 minutes Organisation: class Materials: Worksheet 1

c. In this activity, the teacher introduces the more complex idea of the purposes of letters (including postcards as a type of letter) by asking students to think of the questions and suggestions below (Exercise C, Worksheet 1). 1. Why do people write letters? 2. To whom do they write? 3. What advantages would a letter have over different forms of communication? You may choose from: - More personal - More immediate - More precise - More concise - Allows time for thoughts to be organised - Provides a record The teacher concludes that letter writing is not as common with the new technology of email and cell phones. A thank you can be expressed with the simple click of a button, however too often it is a simple thank you. A simple thank you is polite and appreciated but a thank you letter is a little more personal and thoughtful. Writing a letter requires a little more effort and reflection. Estimated time: 2-3 minutes Organisation: class Materials: Worksheet 1 2. ANALYSIS OF AN INFORMAL LETTER a. Choosing the style The teacher explains that people write for many reasons and there are several different factors which determine the kind of writing we choose to do. When writing letters, students should take into consideration the purpose, audience and relationship. The teacher provides the class with handouts illustrating the points above (Handout 1). Purpose : To inform/To persuade/To apologise/To invite / to refuse an invitation/To ask for information/To apologise/ To thank Audience and relationship: Close family/ friends/Acquaintances/Colleagues/Potential employers/Editor or authority Style: Chatty/ casual/ Informal /Neutral/Formal/Humorous The teacher tells the class that the audience determines the style of our writing. Students are asked to say what style they would choose if they wrote to close family and friends and why. Estimated time: 4-5 minutes Organisation: class Materials: Handout 1 b. Layout 1. Students receive handouts (Handout 2) with a model informal letter. They analyse the layout of such a letter by completing the gaps of the sentences provided by the teacher (Exercise D, Worksheet 1) and the blank layout provided on Worksheet 2). 1. Write your ......................... in the top right hand corner. (address) 2. Write the .......................... directly below your address. (date) 3. Write the first ......................... next to the left hand margin. (line) 4. Begin the next line under the ................ . (name) Estimated time: 5-6 minutes 2

Organisation: pairs followed by class feedback Materials: workshets 1 and 2, Handouts 2 2. Then the teacher explains what a friendly or personal letter is made up of and writes the main ideas on the blackboard while the students take notes in their notebooks: - the heading, which includes the address, line by line (number, street / road, postal code, town, ), with the last line being the date. A line is skipped after the heading. - the greeting / salutation, which always ends with a comma. The greeting may begin with the word "dear" and using the person's given name or relationship, or it may be more informal if appropriate. The teacher elicits examples from the students (Hi, Hello followed by name, Greetings) - the body, also known as the main text. This includes the message you want to write. Normally in a friendly letter, the beginning of paragraphs is indented. If not indented, be sure to skip a space between paragraphs. A line is skipped after the greeting and before the close. - the complimentary close, a short expression made up of a few words on a single line. It ends in a comma. It should be indented to the same column as the heading. The teacher elicits from students examples of common endings. (Regards, Best wishes, Yours, Love). Skip one to three spaces (two is usual) for the signature line. - the signature line. Type or print your name. The signature line and the handwritten signature are indented to the same column as the close. - postscript. If your letter contains a postscript, begin it with P.S. and end it with your initials. Skip a line after the signature line to begin the postscript. Estimated time: 7 minutes Organisation: class Materials: chalk, blackboard c. Paragraphing This activity enables students to understand paragraphing by completing the blank spaces in paragraph plan provided by the teacher (Worksheet 3) while reading the model letter. The activity is done together with the teacher so that he/she will be able to give students extra information. The students take turns to read each paragraph of the model letter and decide on the purpose of the model letter and the content of each paragraph. The teacher reminds the students that each paragraph contains a main idea and the supporting details, so they should write a new paragraph for each main idea they want to develop.. Since informal letters are usually written by hand, the paragraphs are usually indented. However, with more people using their computers to do most of their writing, it is becoming a common practice to write paragraphs without indentations. The students are given further examples of common ways of preparing to end letters and commonly used endings.

Paragraph plan
Worksheet 3 3

Informal letter plan


Greeting / Paragraph 1 Dear ________ ,
Mentioning the last letter you received Making general friendly comments Apologising for not writing sooner Reasons for writing : ....

Paragraph 2

The body Paragraph 3


Paragraph 4

Giving news about ....

Pragraph 5 Preparing to end the letter


(the reason for having to finish the letter) Anyway, I've got another form to fill in so I'll leave you. I must rush now because......... I have to go because............

Endings

I'm looking forward to hearing from you. I'm looking forward to seeing you. Give my regards to your mother. Write to me soon.

Complimentary Best wishes, Regards, close


Love, All the best,

Signature
Estimated time: 10 minutes Organisation: pairs leading to class discussion Materials: Worksheet 3, Handout 2 d. Language in informal letters 4

The teacher draws the students attention that they must use informal language throughout the letter and should avoid a shift in style. Then he/she elicits from the students the characteristics of the informal style and list them on the blackboard. Then students look at the letter again and identify instances where colloquial language is used. Eg. the use contractions words missed out the (I subject e.g. Sorry havent written before or Dont know where the time goes ) the use of phrasal verbs use idiomatic expressions or colloquialisms slangs (Its really cool!) direct questions, exclamation marks, checking tags (isnt it? ) etc Estimated time: 3-4 minutes Organisation: pairs followed by class feedback Materials: Handout 2 EVALUATION The students receive worksheets with another model letter which contains mistakes in layout, paragraphing and style (Worksheet 4). They are asked to read the letter and identify the mistakes. Worksheet 4 Jennifer Hart Poplar St., no 15 KLS2 590 Liverpool 24.01.2009

Dear Tracy, I have just got your letter and sat down straight away to tell you what I think. You know I've been a nurse for years and it's been fun, but sometimes I wish I'd taken an easier road. Nursing is like being a mother: you work long hours, you worry about people all the time, and nobody ever says thank you. If you want to be a nurse, go for it, but think about it first. Why do you not study microbiology? It's interesting and you don't have to work 24 hours a day and come home every night with a pounding headache from the stress. Hope I've been helpful! Inform me about your decision. Love, Jennifer The students should make the following corrections: Layout -the writers name does not appear above the address; -the address: no, street -a line is usually skipped after the last line of the address and the date -the salutation must be written next to the left margin -the first paragraph begins under the name (indentation) -the second paragraph and the ending must be indented 5

Paragraphing (as in the letter below) Style there is a shift in style I have just got your letter Just got your letter / Ive just got your letter Why do you not Why dont you Inform me about your decision Let me know what you decide

15 Poplar Street KLS2 590 Liverpool 24.01.2009

Dear Tracy, Just got your letter and sat down straight away to tell you what I think. You know I've been a nurse for years and it's been fun, but sometimes I wish I'd taken an easier road. Nursing is like being a mother: you work long hours, you worry about people all the time, and nobody ever says thank you. If you want to be a nurse, go for it, but think about it first. Why dont you study microbiology? It's interesting and you don't have to work 24 hours a day and come home every night with a pounding headache from the stress. Hope I've been helpful! Let me know what you decide. Love, Jennifer Estimated time: 10 minutes Organisation: individual followed by feedback Materials: Worksheet 4 HOMEWORK The students re-write the letter from the previous activity using the appropriate layout, format and style of informal letters. SKILLS: SPEAKING, READING, WRITING BIBLIOGRAPHY: Mann, Malcom, Skills for First Certificate. Writing, Macmillan, 2003 O Connel, Sue, Focus on Advanced English, Longman, 1992