Materials: chart paper, large black marker, enlarged poster of a letter showing the five parts of a letter, four-square graphic organizer, blank letter-writing template, pencil
Objective: To write a persuasive letter to President Andrew Jackson telling him why he should allow the Cherokee people to live in their ancestral homeland.
Tell the class that they are going to pretend that they are living during the time of President Andrew Jackson and that the Indian Removal Act has just been passed. They are friends of the Cherokee who want to defend their right to stay on their homeland. Each one will be writing a letter to the president to try to persuade him to change his mind and allow the Cherokee to stay in their homes in Georgia.
Using chart paper, ask the students to brainstorm reasons why the Cherokee should be allowed to stay and record those ideas. Such ideas might include:
Everyone should have a right in America to live where they want
The Cherokee has lived there all their lives
The Cherokee will miss the mountains, forests, farmland and rivers used to hunting, farming and fishing there
They love their land
They have tried hard to live alongside the settlers
They have not done anything wrong to be pushed off their land
Then display an enlarged poster that shows a sample letter and where the five parts of a letter (date, greeting, message or body, closing and signature) are labeled. Explain to the class that their letter needs to include all those parts.
Display an enlarged 4-square graphic organizer on chart paper that shows linking words
Topic: The Cherokee want;
If the Cherokee had…
Linking word: because or first
Linking word: and or second
Linking word: another reason or also or third
Conclusion: So please
Lead the class through the planning and then writing of a letter to Jackson together as a class first. This modeling will help them see how to plan and organize their reasons on this graphic organizer and then write the letter. Upon completion, have students point out its features.
Distribute copies of the 4-square graphic organizer and blank template that displays a letter writing format that will guide them in including all letter parts. Direct them to begin with the graphic organizer where they will jot down their ideas. Young students need direction every step of the way so direct them to conference with you upon completion of the graphic organizer.
Students then use their graphic organizer to guide them in the writing of their letter. Direct them to have their ‘no excuse’ word-wall handout in full view so that they can attempt to spell high frequency words correctly.
Remind them that the purpose of this letter is to really persuade Andrew Jackson to change his mind and use his presidential power to protect the Cherokee and allow them to stay on their homeland.
Once completed, confer with each student again to help them in the editing and revising process.
The culminating activity will be to dramatically read aloud their persuasive letter in a small group or to the rest of the class.