Grade 1
Friendly Letter
W3 CCR Anchor Standard
Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.
Writing Intranet page
First Grade Writing Resources
What is the definition of a Friendly
Letter?
An authentic piece of writing that communicates personal ideas. A friendly letter is written in the personal voice of
the writer to a specific person as his/her audience.
What are the main elements of Friendly
Letter?
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Who is the possible audience?
What will I use for examples of this
genre? (Immersion)
**For additional titles see grade level
Immersion Book List on the Writing
Intranet page.
What are some mini- lessons that may
need to be taught?
*See Writing Intranet page for samples of
mini-lesson plans.
Letters provide authentic ways for communication.
Friendly letters are written with a friendly tone.
Have four main parts: greeting, body, closing and signature
Letters, postcards and emails are all personal written communications with different conventions and elements.
Postcards are abbreviated forms of letters and have abbreviated elements.
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Peers
Parents
Teachers
Grandparents or other relatives
Dear Mr. Blueberry by Simon James
Dear Mrs. La Rue: Letters From Obedience School by Mark Teague
Click Clack Moo by Doreen Cronin
The Jolly Postman by Allan Ahlberg and Janet Ahlberg
Toot and Puddle by Holly Hobbie
Suggested Books:
Dear Peter Rabbit
The Jolly Postman
Dear Bear
Dear Teacher
Yours Truly, Golilocks
Dear Annie
Library Mouse: A Friend’s Tale
First Year Letters
I Wanna Iguana
Planning for mini-lessons during a unit of study should be determined based on ongoing observations during
writing.
Ideas- The heart of the letter shares a personal message with the reader.
Organization- Structure the letter with elements of a friendly letter. (date, salutation/greeting, body containing
message, closing, signature)
Voice- Feelings and emotions of the writer are portrayed in the writing.
Conventions- Mechanics of a letter with appropriate placement of sections and punctuation.
Adapted from: Regie Routman in Residence, (Heinemann:Portsmouth, NH)
Elementary Language Arts
Required parameters are missing or incorrect.
2011/2012
Grade 1
Friendly Letter
What are my expectations for
instructional time and publishing?
Word Choice- Rich colorful writing that uses words that create a picture for the reader.
The amount of instructional time it takes to complete a writing unit needs to be pre-determined by the teacher during
the planning stage of the unit.
Suggested format: Letter
Adapted from: Regie Routman in Residence, (Heinemann:Portsmouth, NH)
Elementary Language Arts
Required parameters are missing or incorrect.
2011/2012
Grade 1
Friendly Letter
This instructional model is not a day-by-day plan, but an overall picture of how to have students successfully write Friendly Letter. The best units of study are
those in which the teacher takes into account their own areas of expertise, their students’ curiosity, prior experiences, and interests.
W3 Write narratives in which they recount two or more appropriately sequenced events, include some details regarding what happened, use
temporal words to signal event order, and provide some sense of closure.
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Plan
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Immerse
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and
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Discuss
and Chart
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Process
Think carefully about the audience for the students’ writing.
The more meaningful the audience, the more students will
invest in the writing. Letters can be written for peers, parents,
teachers and/or relatives.
Gather many examples of friendly letters. Be familiar enough
with the elements of the genre to be able to enrich it for the
children.
Your goal in this unit is to be sure that all students can
generate a friendly letter that can be sent to a recipient.
Read many examples of literature that includes letter writing.
(ex. Dear Mr. Blueberry by Simon James)
Have students browse and examine literature that includes
letter writing, with your guidance.
During this immersion phase, begin a chart titled, “What
makes a good friendly letter?”
Every time you read a new text, change the color of the marker
(shows growing knowledge). You may want to put a copy of
the book title on the chart as you add insights.
As you are reading aloud or after reading a story, record what
the students notice about the letters. For example: “What are
the elements of a letter?” Take the letters apart with students
and notice what makes them “good”. Continue to chart what
the author did and remind the students that they can do it too!
Keep charted responses short and meaningful; add
illustrations or pictures as necessary.
Make sure that students know that letters can be written about
anything that happens to them– at home, at school, on the
playground, on the bus.
Adapted from: Regie Routman in Residence, (Heinemann:Portsmouth, NH)
Elementary Language Arts
Required parameters are missing or incorrect.
On Going Assessment
• Find out what students already know about the letter writing
and chart their responses.
• Use their responses (their knowledge, questions, omissions,
confusions) to guide your teaching.
• Be thinking, “What else do they need to know and
understand before they can successfully write in this genre?”
• What do I need to do, say, read, model, show, and explain
before they are ready to effectively write on their own?
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Check students’ growing understanding by asking, “What
have we learned about writing a friendly letter?”
While charting students’ responses, make note of how
their understanding of the genre is growing (or not).
Cut a large friendly letter into pieces to have student’s
help you put it back together using their knowledge of the
parts of a friendly letter.
Develop a student friendly rubric with the students to guide
their writing. The rubric should include the following
standards from the MCCSC:
-recount two or more appropriately sequenced events
-include details regarding what happened
-use temporal words to signal event order
-provide sense of closure
2011/2012
Grade 1
Friendly Letter
Teacher
Demonstrates
Writing
Sustained
Writing
Time
Write your friendly letter in front of students as you:
 Talk about your letter first to model conveying a message
to a special person in the structure of a letter. Draw
pictures, if necessary, and write your friendly letter.
 Make all of your decisions in front of your students. You
may say something like this, “Kids, I’m going to be
thinking out loud as I write my letter. I’m doing that so
that when you write you’ll know what kind of thinking
writers do.”
 Refer to the class chart often so that students see that you
are thinking like a writer by noticing what other authors
have done, always reinforcing that our letters are
important to us. They help us communicate something
important to others.
 Ask students to pick a person who will be the audience for
their letter.
*Students can write to an adult in the school.
 Before students begin to write have them sit in small
groups and share their message.
 Teach focus lessons to support student needs and to learn
the format of a friendly letter.
Adapted from: Regie Routman in Residence, (Heinemann:Portsmouth, NH)
Elementary Language Arts
Required parameters are missing or incorrect.
Ask students, “What did you notice about my writing?”
Check to see if they are picking up on your writing process,
for example:
 Re-reading (to figure out what to say next to revisit
and rethink what you’ve written)
 Revising as you go
 Some editing as you go
 Thinking about characteristics you’ve listed together
on the class chart.
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When students are engaged in writing and know what
to do, the room has an engaged working hum.
The teacher is able to conduct mini-conferences with
students.
This writing time can include shared writing,
dictation, picture writing, and scribble writing and
writing with incomplete or complete spelling.
Write a letter online
http://www.readwritethink.org/classroomresources/student-interactives/letter-generator30005.html
2011/2012
Grade 1
Friendly Letter
W5 With guidance and support from adults, focus on a topic, respond to questions and suggestions from peers, and add details to strengthen
writing as needed.
Revise
 Celebrate the work and the writer’s strengths.
 Use conferences to assess students’ writing progress.
(hold public
 Focus on content first.
 Notice patterns, for example, you may need to teach
content
mini lessons that support the friendly letter format.
 Acknowledge the child and the hard work he/she has put
conferences,
(Organization).
into this piece of writing.
and/or
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Continually determine through observation and
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Whole
group
discussions
for
making
teaching
points
and
individual
discussion which focus lessons to teach to small
having
focus
lessons
(mini-lessons).
conferences
groups or the whole class to help students move
during and
 Identify what the writer needs to move forward.
forward.
after
 Revise your writing in front of the students.
drafting)
Negotiate
Editing
Expectations
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Involve students so they are part of the decision-making in
determining what they are able to do independently.
Create an “Editing Expectations Chart” that lists all of the
agreed upon conventions with the students.
Hold students accountable for editing expectations agreed
upon as a class.
Hold editing conferences once students have done all they
can on their own.
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Possible agreed upon conventions may be:
We will have capital letters at the beginning of each
sentence.
We will put a punctuation mark at the end of each
sentence.
We will spell words on the Word Wall correctly.
Note whether students are taking responsibility for
doing most of the editing work.
W6 With guidance and support from adults, use a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers.
Publish
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Think about a variety of publishing options. For this unit,
you may want to publish 3-4 letters that can be sent to the
intended audience.
Share the writing with the intended audience so students
will understand that writing is a purposeful, powerful form
of communication.
Have students write to each other so that they can become
the recipient of a letter.
Adapted from: Regie Routman in Residence, (Heinemann:Portsmouth, NH)
Elementary Language Arts
Required parameters are missing or incorrect.
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Final published work that goes public should be as
perfect as we as we can get it.
Ask, “Has each student taken pride in producing
interesting, accurate, readable content with his/her
best efforts?”
Use rubric to score student writing.
Use Writing Checklist as a tool for documenting
progress in writing standards.
2011/2012
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Friendly Letter Plans - Waterloo Elementary: First Grade