Writing skills: Letter of complaint
To encourage the use of phrases which express attitude and emotion in a factual letter.
Time: one hour, with extended language work and homework.
Target language: phrases which express attitude and emotion; phrases of place and direction; collocations connected to road safety
Materials: Letter of complaint lesson plan, found under 'Related resources' below
Teacher's notes and lesson steps:
- As a warm up exercise, start the lesson by one student describing the diagram on ‘Dangerous Road’ and their partner trying to draw it. (Fold the handout over so you can’t see the vocabulary exercise). This is a fun start, which will aid comprehension in step 4. Alternately describe the diagram yourself for all to draw. Check for differences.
- Hand out ‘Dangerous Road’ and complete the vocabulary exercise.
- Explain that all the phrases come from a letter. Ask students in pairs to decide who wrote the letter, to whom and about what. (A mother of two small children, to The Road and Safety Department of the Local Council, complaining about a dangerous stretch of Road, near where she lives.) Say that you are now all going to read the letter, but that it is jumbled up and has gaps in it.
- Hand out the ‘Jumbled Letter’ and allow time to fill in the gaps with the vocabulary from step 2. Monitor and, when individuals are ready, hand out ‘Language Analysis’ (the first instruction being to order the sentences). Monitor and check as they work through it. Students may want to pair up to compare answers as they finish.
- The ‘Language Extension’ exercise is optional and can be done individually, or, to change the pace, as a class. Make it into a game by providing teams with counters to place in the right ‘emotion box’ for each phrase, as they are revealed on an OHP / read out (keep the counter for correct answers etc.).
- Consolidate step 5 by completing the sentences with the correct phrase.
- Hand out ‘Writing Practice’ for homework.