Drafting an Invitational Letter | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA G3:M4:U3:L6

Drafting an Invitational Letter

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These are the CCS Standards addressed in this lesson:

  • RI.3.1: Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.
  • W.3.2: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
  • W.3.4: With guidance and support from adults, produce writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task and purpose.
  • W.3.5: With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing.
  • L.3.1c: Use abstract nouns (e.g., childhood).
  • L.3.2b: Use commas in addresses.

Daily Learning Targets

  • I can draft an invitational letter for my video PSA live launch. (RI.3.1, W.3.2, W.3.4, L.3.1c, L.3.2b)
  • I can critique my partner's letter and provide kind, helpful, and specific feedback. (W.3.5)

Ongoing Assessment

  • Invitational letter (RI.3.1, W.3.2, W.3.4, L.3.1c, L.3.2b)

Agenda

AgendaTeaching Notes

1. Opening

A. Engaging the Writer: Model Invitational Letter (5 minutes)

B. Reviewing Learning Targets (5 minutes)

2. Work Time

A. Independent Writing: Invitational Letter (35 minutes)

3. Closing and Assessment

A.Peer Critique: Invitational Letter (15 minutes)

4. Homework

A. For ELLs: Complete the Language Dive Practice: Model Invitational Letter in your Unit 3 homework.

B. Accountable Research Reading. Select a prompt and respond in the front of your independent reading journal.

Purpose of lesson and alignment to standards: 

  • In Work Time A, students use the criteria they have generated, the model invitational letter, the Informative Writing Checklist, and their plans from the previous lesson to draft their invitational letters (RI.3.1, W.3.2, W.3.4, L.3.1c, L.3.2b). Students write these letters independently, since they are assessed on their final drafts for the mid-unit assessment in the next lesson.
  • In the Closing, students participate in a peer critique and revise their letters using the criteria on the Criteria for an Effective Invitational Letter anchor chart (W.3.5).
  • In this lesson, students focus on working to become effective learners with a characteristic of their choice and on working to become ethical people by showing respect as they provide and receive kind, specific, and helpful peer feedback.
  • Students who require additional challenge or who finish drafting quickly can write an additional invitational letter to another guest. This will not require additional planning, as the same plans can be used.

How this lesson builds on previous work:

  • In Lesson 6, students planned their invitational letters for the PSA live launch presentation. In this lesson, they use the plans to draft their letters.

Assessment guidance:

  • Review students' drafts to ensure that they are ready to write their final letters for the mid-unit assessment in the next lesson. Use common issues as whole group teaching points before students complete the assessment in the next lesson.

Areas in which students may need additional support:

  • Students may need additional support writing their letters. Consider grouping these students to write their letters together as a group with teacher guidance.

Down the road:

  • In the next lesson, students write their final invitational letters for the Mid-Unit 3 Assessment

In Advance

  • Review the Questions We Can Ask during a Language Dive anchor chart (begun in Module 3, Unit 1, Lesson 7).
  • Preview the Language Dive Guide and consider how to invite conversation among students to address the questions and goals suggested under each sentence strip chunk (see supporting materials). Select from the questions and goals provided to best meet your students' needs.
  • Post: Learning targets and applicable anchor charts (see materials list).

Tech and Multimedia

  • Continue to use the technology tools recommended throughout Modules 1-3 to create anchor charts to share with families; to record students as they participate in discussions and protocols to review with students later and to share with families; and for students to listen to and annotate text, record ideas on note-catchers, and word-process writing.

Supporting English Language Learners

Supports guided in part by CA ELD Standards 3.I.A.4, 3.I.B.6, 3.I.C.10, 3.I.C.12, 3.II.A.1, 3.II.B.4

Important points in the lesson itself 

  • The basic design of this lesson supports ELLs by allowing students to build on and apply their planning from the previous lesson to a draft of their invitational letter for the PSA live launch presentation. Students also have the opportunity to give and receive peer feedback on their letters, allowing for improvement before writing a final draft in the Mid-Unit 3 Assessment.
  • ELLs may find it challenging to transfer the information in their planning graphic organizer to a letter structure that makes sense. Consider working closely with students who need heavier support, modeling the process as needed (see levels of support and the Meeting Students'Needs section).
  • In Work Time A of this lesson, ELLs may participate in Day 2 of an optional two-day Language Dive begun in Lesson 5 that guides them through the meaning of a sentence from the model invitational letter. The focus of this Language Dive is using abstract nouns (L.3.1c). Students then apply their understanding of the meaning and structure of this sentence when planning and writing their invitational letters and when using and defining abstract nouns during the Mid-Unit 3 Assessment. Refer to the Tools page for additional information regarding a consistent Language Dive routine.

Levels of support
For lighter support:

  • Challenge students to identify all of the nouns they used in their letter drafts. Invite them to determine which ones are abstract nouns and which are not, and then describe why. Add the abstract nouns students share to the Parts of Speech anchor chart, highlighting each one.

For heavier support:

  • During Work Time A, consider providing a template for students to use when drafting their invitational letters. Ensure that the template highlights where each criterion from the Criteria for an Effective Invitational Letter anchor chart should appear in the letter.

Universal Design for Learning

  • Multiple Means of Representation (MMR): During Opening B, students see a familiar learning target: "I can give kind, helpful, and specific feedback to my partner." Students provide this feedback during a peer critique. As this target is displayed, consider inviting students to share examples of this type of feedback from previous lessons and note their responses for visual display. Recall that this supports students in connecting the expectation for feedback to concrete shared experiences.
  • Multiple Means of Action and Expression (MMAE): This lesson includes writing time, during which some students may need additional support building their writing stamina. Support them in growing their persistence and effort by providing scaffolds that build an environment conducive to writing.
  • Multiple Means of Engagement (MME): Students who may need additional support with writing may have negative associations with writing tasks based on previous experiences. Continue to help them feel successful with writing by allowing them to create feasible goals and celebrate when these goals are met. Celebrate students who meet their writing goal, whether it be length of text or sustained writing time.

Vocabulary

Key: Lesson-Specific Vocabulary (L); Text-Specific Vocabulary (T); Vocabulary Used in Writing (W)

  • abstract nouns (L)

Materials

  • Model invitational letter (from Lesson 5; one per student and one to display)
  • Working to Become Effective Learners anchor chart (begun in Module 1)
  • Invitational Letter Planning graphic organizer (completed in Lesson 5; one per student)
  • Informative Writing Checklist (one per student and one to display; see Assessment Overview and Resources)
  • Informative Writing Checklist (example, for teacher reference)
  • Criteria for an Effective Invitational Letter anchor chart (begun in Lesson 5)
  • Paper (lined; one piece per student)
  • Language Dive Guide: Model Invitational Letter(from Lesson 5; optional; for ELLs; for teacher reference)
    • Questions We Can Ask during a Language Dive anchor chart (begun in Module 3)
    • Language Dive Chunk Chart: Model Invitational Letter(from Lesson 5; for teacher reference)
    • Language Dive Sentence Strip Chunks: Model Invitational Letter(from Lesson 5; one to display)
    • Language Dive Note-catcher: Model Invitational Letter(from Lesson 5; one per student and one to display)
    • Large index cards(from Lesson 5; to display)
  • Working to Become Ethical People anchor chart (begun in Module 1)
  • Sticky notes (two different colors; one of each per student)
  • Peer Critique anchor chart (begun in Module 1)
  • Directions for Peer Critique (one to display)

Assessment

Each unit in the 3-5 Language Arts Curriculum has two standards-based assessments built in, one mid-unit assessment and one end of unit assessment. The module concludes with a performance task at the end of Unit 3 to synthesize their understanding of what they accomplished through supported, standards-based writing

Opening

OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Engaging the Writer: Model Invitational Letter (5 minutes) 

  • Invite students to pair up with their PSA partner and retrieve theirmodel invitational letter.
  • Invite students to read the letter chorally with you as you read it aloud.
  • Turn and Talk:

"What is the purpose of this letter?" (to invite someone to an event)

"What does it tell the person it is addressed to? Why?" (about the issue being presented and the details of the event, so they know what it is about and where and when to go)

  • For ELLs: (Enlarged Model Invitational Letter: Displaying and Referencing) Consider displaying the annotated enlarged model invitational letter (see Lesson 5, "For heavier support") and inviting students to reference it during the discussion

B. Reviewing Learning Targets (5 minutes) 

  • Direct students' attention to the learning targets and read them aloud:

"I can draft an invitational letter for my video PSA live launch."

"I can critique my partner's letter and provide kind, helpful, and specific feedback."

  • Remind students that they have seen similar learning targets in the previous lessons, but this time they are going to be drafting a letter, rather than planning it.
  • Focus students on the Working to Become Effective Learners anchor chart and invite them to read the habits of character on the chart to themselves. Tell students to choose a habit to focus on as they work with their classmates today. Cold call students to share with the whole group and select one as a class.
  • For ELLs: (Transparency) To ensure that the purpose of critiquing each other's work is transparent, cue students to problem-solve:

"Can you figure out why we critique each other's work?" (Responses will vary, but may include: to learn from each other; to improve our work and to help others improve their work.)

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Independent Writing: Invitational Letter (35 minutes) 

  • Remind students that for their Mid-Unit 3 Assessment in the next lesson, they will write a final draft of an invitational letter to send to someone inviting him or her to the live launch of their PSA. Tell students that in this lesson they will draft this letter and participate in a peer critique before writing the final letter to send to guests in the next lesson.
  • Invite students to retrieve their Invitational Letter Planning graphic organizer and to review the information they need to include.
  • Distribute and display the Informative Writing Checklist and briefly review the criteria.
  • Remind students that they have seen this checklist multiple times throughout the year and focus them on the second column, Characteristics of My Invitational Letter.
  • Take each criterion and invite students to consider the model invitational letter and the information they recorded on their Invitational Letter Planning graphic organizer. Think-Pair-Share:

"These criteria are all for informative writing, but what do we need to consider specifically for this letter?"

  • Record brief notes on the displayed Informative Writing Checklist. Refer to the Informative Writing Checklist (example, for teacher reference) as necessary.
  • Focus students on the Abstract Nouns box on their organizer. Turn and Talk:

"What are abstract nouns?" (names of ideas, feelings, or thoughts that you can't physically touch)

"What kinds of abstract nouns are we including in our letters? Why?" (nouns to show how excited and enthusiastic we are about the live launch to encourage the invitees to come)

  • Direct students' attention to the Criteria for an Effective Invitational Letter anchor chart and remind them of proper comma usage and capital letters when writing addresses.
  • Tell students they will work independently to write their letters; however, invite those who would like to be able to say sentences/paragraphs orally to someone before writing to sit in an allocated area of the room where this can happen without disturbing other students.
  • Distribute paper and invite students to work independently to draft their letters. Remind students to leave a line between each line of writing for editing and revisions.
  • Circulate to support students as they write. Ask questions to guide their thinking:

"Which of the words in the address should be capitalized? Why?"

"What punctuation are you going to use in the address? Why?"

  • When 2 minutes remain, use a checking for understanding technique (e.g., Red Light, Green Light or Thumb-O-Meter) for students to self-assess against the first learning target and how well they demonstrated the habit from the Working to Become Effective Learners anchor chart that they decided to focus on today.
  • For students who may need additional support in building writing stamina: Consider offering built-in breaks, during which students can choose an activity such as getting water or stretching. (MME)
  • For ELLs: (Displaying Charts Side-by-Side) Consider displaying the color-coded Criteria for an Effective Invitational Letter anchor chart next to the annotated enlarged model invitation letter (see Lesson 5, "For heavier support") for students to refer to as they draft their letters. This will support them in using a similar structure and including all of the necessary information in their own letters.
  • For ELLs: (Abstract Nouns: Defining) In preparation for the Mid-Unit 3 Assessment, invite students to turn to an elbow partner and define the abstract nouns they use in their letters. Clarify definitions as needed and encourage students to repeat the correct definitions to their partners.
  • For ELLs: (Language Dive) During or after Work Time A, guide students through Day 2 of a two-day Language Dive. Refer to Day 2 of the Language Dive Guide: Model Invitational Letter and Language Dive Chunk Chart: Model Invitational Letter. Distribute and display the Language Dive Sentence Strip Chunks: Model Invitational Letter and Language Dive Note-catcher: Model Invitational Letter. Refer to the guide for the use of the large index cards.

Closing & Assessments

ClosingMeeting Students' Needs

A. Peer Critique: Invitational Letter (15 minutes) 

  • Invite students to find a new partner and to label themselves A and B.
  • Tell students they will now participate in a peer critique. Focus them on the Working to Become Ethical People anchor chart and remind them specifically of the habit of respect. Remind students that when providing peer feedback, they need to be respectful.
  • Briefly review the Criteria for an Effective Invitational Letter anchor chart again and remind students to look for evidence of these criteria in their partner's work.
  • Distribute sticky notes and use the Peer Critique anchor chart and the Directions for Peer Critique to guide students through a peer critique.
  • When 2 minutes remain, use a checking for understanding technique (e.g., Red Light, Green Light or Thumb-O-Meter) for students to self-assess against the second learning target and how well they demonstrated respect when providing peer feedback
  • For students who may need additional support with auditory processing: Invite students to brainstorm different words and phrases they could use to provide kind, specific, and helpful feedback to their partner. Write the words and phrases on chart paper and encourage students to refer to it as they work with their partners. (MMR, MMAE)
  • For ELLs: (Fishbowl: Peer Critique) Before inviting partners to begin the peer critique, invite two confident students to read each other's letters and then model and think aloud examples of specific, kind, and helpful feedback for the class. (Example: "In the second paragraph, you are very clear about what your presentation will be about. You describe where the presentation will take place, but you need to also include the time.")
  • For ELLs: (Sentence Starters) Provide sentence starters on the sticky notes for students to complete during the peer critique

Homework

HomeworkMeeting Students' Needs

A. For ELLs: Complete the Language Dive Practice: Model Invitational Letter in your Unit 3 homework.

B. Accountable Research Reading. Select a prompt and respond in the front of your independent reading journal.

  • For ELLs: (Oral Response) Read aloud, discuss, and respond to your prompt orally, either with a partner, family member, or student from grades 2 or 4, or record an audio response

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