English, Journalism, Social Studies
Vocabulary development includes an understanding of the origin of words and their meaning. “A Word About Epistles, Communiqués and Letters,” this guide’s Word Study, presents students with the etymology of “letter” and “book,” distinguishing “epistle” from “Epistle,” and epistolary novels. Discussion questions are included.
In the Know contains terms used in the You and Your Rights resource guide. These terms are defined using legal and psychological glossaries. In addition, the lesson provides selected terms that are defined for student use.
Find a Place
Geography, Journalism, Media Arts, Social Studies
“Places in the News” introduces students to datelines in the form of a newspaper search. Teachers may do this activity using the print or online edition.
A geography element is added when students are asked to locate places on a map. Maps are provided at nie.washingtonpost.com in the More Resources section for use with this activity.
Write a Friendly Letter
English, Journalism, Media Literacy, Sociology
Teachers may begin this activity with a discussion of letters that students have written and letters that their families receive. Have these been in the form of thank you notes?
Thank you notes (handwritten or sent by email) may be written to express personal and professional appreciation — for gifts, special occasions and opportunities, job interviews and assistance.
“Thank you, Grandma” is intended as an introduction to writing the personal thank you note. Four examples are provided, starting from the simplest to the more detailed. Questions are provided for discussion and application of guidelines.
Two letters of appreciation, written in 1903 and in 2016, were written to school officials. Note the context in which they were written. The third letter is an example of what may be sent to patrons and others in the community who assist school clubs, athletic and academic endeavors. These are meant to give students awareness of other people who would appreciate acknowledgement. Discussion questions and suggested writing activities are included in the handouts.
Also include is an article from a parent to her child's teacher. Read and discuss "The letter I had to write to my child's teacher." What details are included in the letter that relate to the teacher's classroom management?
Look for Advocacy Letters
English, Journalism, Media Arts, Media Literacy
Businesses, organizations and individuals committed to a cause will buy advocacy advertisements in newspapers. The full-page advertisements, in particular, grab reader attention, succinctly take their stand and state their cause. Some can be very effective in their reaching their target audience.
They may appear in the form of a letter to thank customers, to acknowledge a position taken by the president or to urge action by members of congress. Show students examples of these advertisements to determine the target audience, the message and the effectiveness. Students may be asked several weeks in advance of this lesson (or after) to look for advertising in the form of a letter.