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Title: Free Stuff

Subject: Language Arts


Grade Level: 7

Topic: Students will write a compliment or complaint letter to


businesses about a product or service with the possibility of
receiving “Free Stuff”.
LEARNING OBJECTIVE

Students Will:
1. Understand the brevity of a business letter.
2. Create focused and catchy letters.
3. Publish a typed letter that is suitable for mailing.

STATE ADOPTED STANDARDS ADDRESSED


1.0 Written and Oral English Language Conventions
Students write and speak with a command of standard English conventions appropriate to
the grade level.
1.4 Demonstrate the mechanics of writing (e.g., quotation marks, commas at end of
dependent clauses) and appropriate English usage (e.g., pronoun reference).

MATERIALS
1. Sample Complaint Letter
2. Sample Compliment Letter
3. Business Letter Format Worksheet

SET UP AND PREPARE


1. Set up overhead projector.
2. Make transparency copies of Worksheets
3. Copy a class set of worksheets for all students.

ANTICIPATORY SET
Explain the assignment of writing a complaint or compliment letter to a business about a
product or service. Students are to think of a product or service they like or have had a
problem with. (Students may write either a letter of compliment, letter of complaint or
both--but obviously not to the same company.)

At the end of the unit, the class will make a bulletin board and post all the return letters so
the other students can see the replies. In some cases, the students will receive coupons or
replacement products and other advertising products. So students learn not only how to
write an effective business letter, but also how to be a conscientious consumer.

1
GUIDED PRACTICE
Place worksheet 1 on the overhead projector and distribute to students:
Discuss main ideas included in a complaint letter and lead class in discussion.
• Describe product or service
• Include date and place of purchase
• State specific problem
• Ask for specific action

Place worksheet 2 on the overhead projector and distribute to students:


Discuss main ideas included in a compliment letter and lead class in discussion.
• Describe product or service
• Include date and place of purchase
• Describe satisfaction with product or service

Place worksheet 3 on the overhead projector and distribute to students:


Discuss formatting a business letter.

INDEPENDENT PRACTICE

Students work in groups to brainstorm ideas for choosing a product or service they like or
have had a problem with. (Students may write either a letter of compliment, letter of
complaint or both--but obviously not to the same company.)

Students will work independently to write the body of the letter.

Students use the correct business letter format to express their satisfaction or
dissatisfaction with the product or service.

It is important that the students use these steps in the body of the complaint letter:

• Begin with something positive about the product.

• State very specifically what the problem is. (Do not say "The jeans I bought are a
piece of junk." But rather say "The inside seam of the jeans frayed out, and now
they have a three inch hole."

• Tell them exactly what you expect them to do about the problem. Be realistic--do
not ask for a new bicycle if your problem is only with the bicycle seat. Asking
them to replace the seat would be reasonable.

• Enclose any receipts, product codes or numbers, proof of purchases, or any other
identifying materials.

• Close by stating your confidence in their company's desire to "make it right."

2
EVALUATION OF THE LESSON
Students should submit their handwritten narratives to the teacher for background
information as well as the typed final copy of business letter. Students will be graded
according to following rubric:
1 2 3 4
Focus No focus Very loose focus Letter Letter stays
occasionally focused on
strays specific incident
Organization Very difficult to Occasionally Body of letter is Body of letter is
follow body of attempts to follow structured structured as
letter some sort of according to directed
organization some
organization
Word Choice Student uses Student uses Student uses Student uses
inappropriate language of appropriate appropriate and
language borderline language effective words at
appropriateness all times
Clarity Letter is Student probably Letter is clear Letter is clear and
incomprehensible had some and easy to read easy to read
particular subject in most cases
in mind when
writing letter.
Sentences Mostly comprises Frequent Occasional Letter uses
fragments or run-onfragments and fragments or run- complete
sentences run-on sentences on sentences sentences
wherever
desirable
Legibility Narrative is Narrative is very Narrative is Narrative is
illegible difficult to read usually legible legible
Usage/Spelling Word usage and Word usage and Word usage and Word usage and
poor spelling make poor spelling spelling is spelling is correct
reading the letter make reading usually correct nearly always
almost impossible letter difficult
Varied No complete Sentences all Exhibits some Sentences are
sentences sentences written follow same sentences varied
structure variation appropriately
Format Letter does not Letter is missing Letter may have Letter follows
contain any two or more problem with one business letter
components of elements of a or two elements format, including
business letter business letter of business letter company address

CLOSURE
Have students send their letters and then share the responses with the class.

NEXT STEPS TEACHER SHOULD TAKE

3
At the end of the unit, the class will make a bulletin board and post all the return letters so
the other students can see the replies.