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Unit 16: In the news

Day 3: Correspondence


  • Students will be able to read and understand Internet text materials related to young people in the Target Language (TL) culture.
  • Students will be able to write a pen pal letter, using a series of short paragraphs with present and past tenses, that narrates a special event in a the life of a young person in the TL culture.
  • Students will be able to read and respond to their classmates' letters.

Setting the Stage (5 minutes)

Teacher asks how often they read email from friends. Then Teacher asks how often they read email from young people living in the TL culture. Teacher leads discussion on students' typical daily activities, including their likes and dislikes. Teacher reads aloud a letter or email that was received from a correspondent living in a TL country.

Input (15 minutes)

Teacher provides text gathered from the Internet to show target language structures and language related to young people's daily activities in the TL culture. Teacher has paraphrased this text into a sample pen pal letter or email.

Students read this pen pal letter or email with Teacher and brainstorm their comprehension of the vocabulary. Teacher projects a Vocabulary Knowledge Rating chart on the front board that students "fill in" during the brainstorming.

Guided Practice (10 minutes)

Teacher leads a whole-class brainstorming session on the theme for the writing assignment – a pen pal letter – that students will complete at home. (The newspaper groups will choose the best letter to be included in one of the sections of their group newspaper.)

Possible themes:
  • Food
  • School
  • Sports
  • Social events
  • The arts
  • Current events

Teacher models letter writing on the front board, showing students how to use appropriate greetings and cultural expressions. Students brainstorm three or four typical questions they might ask their pen pal about the theme they've chosen.

Independent Practice (20 minutes)

Activity 1

Students write their pen pal letter.

Activity 2

Teacher collects all pen pal letters and redistributes them at random back to students. Teacher makes sure that students do not receive their own letter. Students read and then write a response on the same piece of paper.

Closure (5 minutes)

Students gather in their newspaper groups and choose the best pen pal letter they just finished reading and to which they wrote a response. One of the students in the group will take this letter and response home and will be responsible for editing. This letter and response will be included in one of the main sections of the group newspaper.

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