This lesson is engaging because writers get to talk about a favorite fun park. It’s also thought provoking in that it encourages students to think about their surroundings and changes that can be made.
Here’s the storyline: Students are going to write a letter to the staff of a fun park. They’re going to tell the staff all the things that they like about the park. Then, they’re going to offer a suggestion that can improve the park.”
The suggestion can be realistic and the letter can actually be sent. Or the students can really think creatively and imaginatively and suggest ANYTHING even if it seems outlandish and impossible. It’s up to you (or your students)!
If you and your own children are planning a summer visit to an amusement park of any kind, read the storyline of this prompt to them before you go. Go have a blast. Then, sometime after, have them think of any changes that could be made to the park and consider writing a letter.
Whether or not the letter is serious and realistic, or outrageous and hysterical, the students are still learning proper letter format and the importance of pointing out many positives before suggesting an improvement.
NOTE: This lesson can address the following Common Core Standards: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.K.1, W.1.1, W.2.1, W.3.1, W.4.1, W.5.1, L.1.2.A, L.1.2.C, L.2.2.A, L.2.2.B, L.3.2.B
Now for the lesson!
To get a full understanding on how I conduct each writing lesson you may want to read the Writing Prompts Introduction post. The lesson outlined below (and all other prompts posted) will make more sense and be easier to follow and use. Here’s the lined paper I use for Grades K-2 and Grades 2-7
- Start off by asking students to name places that they like to visit: an amusement park, a zoo, a local carnival, a local park, a museum, a stadium etc.
- Give them some time to briefly share their positive experiences at those places.
- Ask the students if they’ve ever noticed anything negative or needed something that they couldn’t find at that place. Give them a couple minutes to respond.
- Explain to the students that one way to make a park aware of a need or something negative is to write a polite letter.
- Now tell the storyline: “You’re going to write a letter to the staff of a fun park. You’re first going to tell them all the things that you like about the park. Then, you’re going to offer a suggestion that can improve the park.”
- Give the students some time to think of a fun place that they like to go to and can write about.
- As a group, brainstorm possible suggestions:
Create more shade
Add more water fountains
Offer more nutritious food
Have more snack carts
Create an area for babies to crawl and play
Add a spray ground
8. Show the 5 sections:
Describe the 1st positive
Describe the 2nd positive
Offer a suggestion
Now to Write!
Guide the students through the following steps. (There are samples in italics for your own guidance).
- Write the date on the first line, right side. Make sure the month is capitalized and that there is a comma between the day and the year.
- Skip a line.
- Write the greeting on the 3rd line, left side. (Dear Capital Letters and a comma).
- Skip a line.
- Write the introductory paragraph on the next line, left side. In your own words introduce yourself. Tell when you last went to the park and with whom. Tell your positive thoughts about the park.
Hi! My name is ________. I am 8 years old. Last month, my family and I went to Wet’n Wild. It was so fun!
6. Describe the 1st positive.
First of all, I love the wave pool. (Explain why.)
7. Describe the 2nd positive thing.
Second of all, the water slides are so big and fast. (Describe one.)
8. Offer a suggestion and explain it.
One thing that I noticed is there wasn’t a lot of shade. My aunt brought her baby girl. She had to leave our group often to go inside and get a break from the sun. I’m writing to ask if you can create more shade throughout the park.
10. Write a positive conclusion.
So many people like visiting Wet’n Wild. Adding more shade can make it even better for everyone. Thank you for your time.
11. Skip a line.
12. Write the salutation on the left side: Kindly, Respectfully, Sincerely, etc.
13. Write your name under the salutation.
Once the letter is complete, students can address an envelope and send it or hold on to it.
Suggested games to play following this lesson are:
Sentence Scramblers Using:
Word Scramblers (Using the names of States)
Smiley Face (using names of states or amusement parks)