The sequence of exercises given below can be tailored to fit the needs of specific classes and/or individuals.
One Day-Detail discussion of the unit outline, objectives, purpose, expectation, means of evaluation, group setup.
One Day-Administer Diagnostic Test on Grammar and Punctuation.
One Day—Group and individual discussions of diagnostic test results. (Use of the overhead projector)
One Day—Diagnostic test on letter writing.
One Day—Clustering techniques on attitudes.
Two Days—Modeling of numerous business letters.
Two Days—Letter analysis.
Fundamental needs for writing letters
One week—Selection of Words.
One week—Construct Sentences and Paragraphs.
One week—Writing for Effect.
Three Weeks—Letter writing assignments
One Day—Summation of Unit
Initially, I will administer to all students a diagnostic test to access their mechanics ability.
The next class day I will discuss orally with students their results. If a large number of students have serious problems in any particular area of mechanics, I will instruct on that one; otherwise I will give individual students exercises to be done at home that will help eliminate the problem.
The second diagnostic test will be writing two short letters. One letter of invitation to attend the graduation exercises. First, the letter should be written from the student’s point of view. Next write the letter of invitation as if it was from the Principal to the parents of all graduating seniors. Again, I will be looking for organization.
It is important to me that students express their attitudes toward writing. I will write the words “writing” and “letters”, on the board, each at different times and ask each student to give me one word that comes to mind when they see each of the words. My hope is that this method will enable students to clarify their attitudes about writing; to verbalize those attitudes and to realize that they are not alone in their attitude toward writing.
I am a firm believer that students can write better letters by analyzing those written by other persons. Such analysis will help make them aware of their own weakness; and by studying letter written by other, they should be able to improve their own letters.
Written communications tell a lot about a writer and the organization he or she represents just from the way the messages are set up. Just as a good picture can lose much of its impact on the view if it is improperly framed, an expertly written letter can lose a great deal of its effects if it is set up badly. One the other hand, good form and arrangement can make a business message seem much better than it really is.
I will give students several types and styles of letters. The students will then analyze each letter to see if it is courteous, clear, complete, concise, and contain accurate information, correct placement, correct style, and perfect English. Also students will indicate, if necessary, how they would make changes to bring the letter up to the proper standard and determine whether the letter has a good chance of obtaining prompt, satisfactory action. Many types and styles of letters can be found in Gi1son and Platt’s book,
Letter-Perfect: The Accurate Secretary
, listed in my student’s bibliography.
To be meaningful to the students, all letters must have a definite purpose and that should be fully explained to the students. For example, asking students to write a thank you letter would have meaning because it is something they should do after receiving graduation gifts.
My plan is to have students become familiar with three important fundamental stages for writing effective communications.
At the beginning of each class, I will fully explain each prewriting preparation stage. I have listed objectives and assignment(s) for each fundamental in sequential order. An entire class period will be devoted to each of the writing preparations given below.