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Lesson Plans for the Literacy Lab

Writing for Free Stuff

by Diane McCargar based on
an idea from Shiela Trivisonno

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Lesson Plans:
Lesson Plan 1 Adobe PDF Format PDF

OBJECTIVES

  • Students will learn how to write and type a business letter.

PREPARATION

Because of the preciseness required in writing an address, this sometimes becomes the most difficult part of a letter for students. First, have them practice writing their own address. It is important to also provide them the opportunity to practice typing their address, because on a computer they must pay close attention to capitalization, punctuation and spacing. If you have Internet access you could have them fill out a form on a webpage to send away for free stuff. Here are some websites that will send you free stuff:

Seeds - http://gardencrazy.com (before May 30, 2000)

Huggies coupons - http://www.huggies.com/diaperswipes/specialoffers/

Imperfect T-shirts - http://www.petrix.com/shirt/index.html

Pen, colouring book, golf tees - http://dbdec.nrc.state.ne.us/cornstalk/form.html

Physical Activity Guide to Healthy Active Living - http://www.paguide.com/english/onlineorder.html

(Just so teachers don't feel left out, here is a website of free stuff for teachers: http://www.thecanadianteacher.com/)

After each student has mastered typing their own address, then have them type other addresses including business addresses. You may want to provide them with an address written in a paragraph and have students collect the information and write it in the correct format for a letter. For example,

Maria Valdez lives in Toronto. She just started working as a nurse at The General Hospital. She works in the Cardiac Care Unit. The hospital is located at 234 Main Street and the postal code is K3N 2J3. What is her business address?

PROCEDURE

After students have mastered typing addresses, then they can move on to typing letters. Learning to type letters on the computer is a very practical lesson that you may have used previously, but what about asking students to write a business letter to a company requesting free stuff. This is a great way to motivate students. Many companies will send you free product samples or promotional materials that your students could use. For example, your students could write away for:

Egg recipes
EGGS
7195 Millcreek Drive
Mississauga, ON L5N 4H1

O Canada bookmark and a Paper Canadian flag Public Affairs
Citizenship and Immigration
365 Laurier Avenue
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 1L1

Stop smoking information
Quit 4 Life
Health Canada Publications
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0K9

Oceans Day poster National Wildlife Week poster (available in French)
Canadian Wildlife Federation Resource Centre
2740 Queensview Drive
Ottawa, Ontario K2B 1A2

Map of food production in Canada and I Spy Farm & Food Fun Game (bilingual)
Publications, Agriculture & AgriFood Canada
930 Carling Avenue, Rm. B - 118
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0C7

Road, family and home safety checklists
Safe Kids Canada
180 Dundas Street West Suite 1300
Toronto, Ontario M5G 1X8

EXTENSIONS

Students may wonder why companies are willing to send them something for free. They should understand that their name and address may be used by the company to try to sell them products in the future. This is a perfect segway into a unit on shady promotional campaigns. As far as we're aware, all of the products mentioned above will be sent completely free of charge and do not obligate you to purchase any other products, but consumer beware!