K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

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  • Giving can be fun: The purpose of this lesson is to incorporate the use of writing in a friendly letter format to foster the spirit of giving and sharing within the classroom. Using word processing, the students will create a friendly letter that will be shared with classmates in the spirit of giving and sharing.
  • Dear Peter Rabbit: Students will identify formal language and sentence structures in friendly letters. They will use similar formal language and style to create friendly letters to other story book characters.
  • Apple story writing with a buddy: Students will write a story with a buddy through the use of a computer. Practicing computer skills and correct sentence formation will be emphasized.

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Learning outcomes

Students will:

  • write a friendly letter.
  • type the parts of a friendly letter in the correct format.
  • use correct capitalization and punctuation.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

2 days

Materials/resources

Technology resources

  • computers with Kidspiration software
  • printer
  • Data projector, Averkey, or Smart TV
  • computer lab (optional)

Pre-activities

  • The teacher will teach the students the parts of a friendly letter: date, heading, greeting, body, closing, name.
  • The teacher will teach the students where the parts of a friendly letter are placed when writing a letter.
  • The class will participate in creating a model letter guided by the teacher.
  • The teacher should be sure that Kidspiration is installed on all of the computers that are going to be used.
  • The teacher should save the Kidspiration Friendly letter template to each computer that is going to be used.

Activities

  1. Review the parts of a friendly letter: date, heading, greeting, body, closing (salutation), and name. Review where each part of a friendly letter is placed on a piece of paper.
  2. Have each student create a rough draft of a friendly letter to their pen pal. The teacher and the student must edit the rough draft so that the student can create a final copy.
  3. The student will create a final copy and have the teacher approve it.
  4. The teacher will take a group of children to the computer lab to type their letters. Using the data projector (AverKey/Smart TV), show the students how to get to Kidspiration.
    • Tell the students to click on “Open File.”
    • Tell the students to double click on the friendly letter template to open it.
    • Once the students have opened up the template tell them to watch your display screen to see a demonstration of what they are expected to do.
    • Show the students that if you put your mouse arrow on the paper and pencil picture it will say “Go to Writing,” and they will need to click on that picture.
    • Tell the students to look at the first box (the date box) and click at the end of the word date.
    • Tell the students they must use the backspace key to delete the word.
    • Tell the students that after they have deleted the word they can start typing the part of the letter that goes there.
    • Tell the students that they will follow this procedure for each part of their letter.
    • Review with the students some of the typing skills they will be using: how to make a capital letter using the shift key, how to type a question mark or exclamation point using the shift key, put a space between every word, and put two spaces after each period/question mark/exclamation point.
    • Tell the students to be sure they click on the right box for every part of their letter or else their letter will be mixed up.
    • Tell the students to notify the teacher when they have finished typing each part of their letter.
    • Tell the students to click on the paper and pencil picture and start typing!
  5. When students have finished typing tell them to click on the picture that has the three circles (where the paper and pencil picture was before) and check to see if the parts of the letter are in the correct places.
  6. Tell the students that they can add some pictures to their letter when they are completed with the letter. Have them click on the screen under the box for the body and tell them if they see a “t” they can put in a picture. To choose a picture, tell the students to go to the picture column on the left side of the screen and click on the blue arrows to go through the picture choices. Once they have found a picture to insert tell them to click on the picture and it will be placed where the “t” is.
  7. Now the letter is ready to be printed! Tell the students to click on file, click on print, (as the teacher, you may need to check to be sure the right printer has been selected) and click OK.
  8. If you choose to save the letters on the computers you will need to go through the steps for saving.

Assessment

The students will be assessed on their creation of a friendly letter (both the written and typed letters):

  • parts of a friendly letter in the correct places
  • correct use of punctuation and capitalization

Supplemental information

Comments

This lesson went very well and the students really enjoyed their completed Kidspiration project. They were excited to send the letters to their pen pals in New York. It really helped to emphasize that they students put one space between their words, but next time I will also tell them to do the same at the end of their sentences instead of two spaces. This really seemed to confuse them and there were spaces all over the letters!

  • Common Core State Standards
    • English Language Arts (2010)
      • Writing

        • Grade 2
          • 2.W.2 Write informative/explanatory texts in which they introduce a topic, use facts and definitions to develop points, and provide a concluding statement or section.
          • 2.W.5 With guidance and support from adults and peers, focus on a topic and strengthen writing as needed by revising and editing.
          • 2.W.6 With guidance and support from adults, use a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers.

North Carolina curriculum alignment

Computer Technology Skills (2005)

Grade 2

  • Goal 2: The learner will demonstrate knowledge and skills in the use of computer and other technologies.
    • Objective 2.01: Recognize, discuss and use the features/functions of computing devices (e.g., creating, retrieving, saving, printing data). Strand - Societal/Ethical Issues
    • Objective 2.08: Identify and use menu/tool bar features/functions in word processing documents. Strand - Keyboard Utilization/Word Processing/Desk Top Publishing
    • Objective 2.09: Identify and use multimedia tools to combine text and graphics as a class/group assignment. Strand - Multimedia/Presentation

English Language Arts (2004)

Grade 2

  • Goal 4: The learner will apply strategies and skills to create oral, written, and visual texts.
    • Objective 4.07: Compose first drafts using an appropriate writing process:
      • planning and drafting.
      • rereading for meaning.
      • revising to clarify and refine writing with guided discussion.
    • Objective 4.09: Use media and technology to enhance the presentation of information to an audience for a specific purpose.
  • Goal 5: The learner will apply grammar and language conventions to communicate effectively.
    • Objective 5.05: Use editing to check and confirm correct use of conventions
      • complete sentences.
      • correct word order in sentences.
    • Objective 5.06: Use correctly in written products:
      • letter formation, lines, and spaces to create readable documents
      • plural forms of commonly used nouns
      • common, age - appropriate contractions.