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A Cowboy’s Life

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Summary

Students will identify and use the key components of a friendly letter. Students will use voice and expressive language in their writing.

Coin Type(s)

  • Quarter

Coin Program(s)

  • 50 State Quarters

Objectives

  • Students will identify and use the key components of a friendly letter.
  • Students will use voice and expressive language in their writing.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Language Arts
  • Science

Grades

  • Second grade
  • Third grade

Class Time

Sessions: Three
Session Length: 30-45 minutes
Total Length: 91-120 minutes

Groupings

  • Whole group
  • Individual work

Background Knowledge

Students should have a basic knowledge of the writing process.

Terms and Concepts

  • Quarter
  • Obverse (front)
  • Reverse (back)
  • Friendly Letter
  • Greeting
  • Body
  • Closing
  • Signature

Materials

  • 1 overhead projector (optional)
  • 1 overhead transparency (or photocopy) of the "Wyoming Quarter Reverse" page
  • "It’s a Cowboy’s Life" worksheet
  • 1 class map of the United States
  • 1 copy of a text that gives information about the state of Wyoming, such as:
    • C is for Cowboy: A Wyoming Alphabet by Eugene Gagliano
    • Wyoming by Alexandra Hanson-Harding
    • The United States of America: A State-by-State Guide by Millie Miller and CyndiNelson
  • Chart paper
  • Markers
  • Writing paper
  • Pencils

Preparations

  • Make an overhead transparency (or photocopy) of the "Wyoming Quarter Reverse" page.
  • Make copies of the "It’s a Cowboy’s Life" worksheet (1 per student)
  • Locate a text that gives information about the state of Wyoming (see examples under "Materials").

Worksheets and Files

Lesson plan, worksheet(s), and rubric (if any) at www.usmint.gov/kids/teachers/lessonPlans/pdf/261.pdf.

Session 1

  1. Describe the 50 State Quarters® Program for background information, if necessary, using the example of your own state, if available. Then display the transparency or photocopy of the Wyoming quarter reverse. Locate Wyoming on a classroom map. Note its position in relation to your school’s location.
  2. Ask the students to examine this picture and tell you what they know about it. The students should respond that the image shows a cowboy on a horse. Explain to the students that the image represents the bucking bronco, a symbol of the state of Wyoming.
  3. Ask the students to brainstorm what kind of things a cowboy would do. List student responses on chart paper.
  4. Introduce the students to the selected text about Wyoming. As a group, preview the text. During the reading, students should attend to facts about the state of Wyoming and what a cowboy’s life might be like in Wyoming. Add any other information about cowboys to the chart. Guide the students to use information about the landscape in their descriptions. During the reading, attend to unfamiliar vocabulary and concepts.
  5. After reading the selected text, review the students’ ideas about the cowboys of  Wyoming.Explain to the students that they will be writing letters from the perspective of cowboys in Wyoming during the next lesson.

Session 2

  1. Display the transparency of the "Wyoming Quarter Reverse" page. Review with the students the material covered in the first session. Recall the specifics of a cowboy’s life as learned in the reading. Engage the students in a discussion of what they think being a cowboy in Wyoming would be like. Guide the students to include specific features of Wyoming in their discussion.
  2. Tell the students that they will be writing a letter from the perspective of a Wyoming cowboy. Ask the students to share what they know about writing friendly letters. Display a piece of chart paper on which to create a model of a friendly letter. Explain to the students the key components of a friendly letter, including the date, greeting, body, closing, and signature. Model writing a brief letter to a friend telling about the students’ own state and point out the key components.
  3. Explain to the students that these kinds of letters should show the writer’s personalities and include feeling words. Tell the students that including feelings and interesting words shows the writer’s voice.
  4. Using a marker of a different color, label the five parts of the friendly letter and review these components.
  5. Distribute the "It’s a Cowboy’s Life" worksheet. Explain to the students that they will use the class chart to choose some of the actions of a cowboy and list them on their own worksheets. Then the students will write how a cowboy might feel during these actions (for example, tired after riding a horse all day, thrilled after winning a rodeo). Tell the students that they are to use this worksheet as the prewriting activity for their friendly letters.
  6. Allow the students time to complete the "It’s a Cowboy’s Life" worksheets. Collect the worksheets.

Session 3

  1. Display the transparency of the "Wyoming Quarter Reverse" page. Review with the students the material covered in the previous sessions and distribute the completed "It’s a Cowboy’s Life" worksheets.
  2. Distribute writing paper. Tell the students to use their worksheets to write a friendly letter about life in Wyoming. The students should use the five components of a friendly letter.
  3. Have the students use the writing process to complete their friendly letters about Wyoming. Have the students include an illustration with their letters.
  4. Allow the students time to share their work. Display the students’ letters and illustrations in the classroom.

Differentiated Learning Options

  • Allow students to work in pairs.
  • Allow students to write their reports or use a scribe rather than use the computer.

Enrichments/Extensions

  • Have students research other states and write friendly letters from people living there.
  • Have students write responses to each other’s letters while focusing on using writer’s voice effectively.
  • Use the students’ class participation and worksheets to evaluate whether they have met the lesson objectives.
  • Use the students’ letters to evaluate inclusion of all elements of a friendly letter and use of writer’s voice.
There are no related resources for this lesson plan.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: SL.2 Speaking and Listening
Grade(s): Grade 2
Cluster: Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas
Standards:

  • SL.2.4. Tell a story or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking audibly in coherent sentences.
  • SL.2.5. Create audio recordings of stories or poems; add drawings or other visual displays to stories or recounts of experiences when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.
  • SL.2.6. Produce complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation in order to provide requested detail or clarification. (See grade 2 Language standards 1 and 3 for specific expectations.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: SL.3 Speaking and Listening
Grade(s): Grade 2
Cluster: Comprehension and Collaboration
Standards:

  • SL.3.1. Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 3 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
    • Come to discussions prepared, having read or studied required material; explicitly draw on that preparation and other information known about the topic to explore ideas under discussion.
    • Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions (e.g., gaining the floor in respectful ways, listening to others with care, speaking one at a time about the topics and texts under discussion).
    • Ask questions to check understanding of information presented, stay on topic, and link their comments to the remarks of others.
    • Explain their own ideas and understanding in light of the discussion.
  • SL.3.2. Determine the main ideas and supporting details of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
  • SL.3.3. Ask and answer questions about information from a speaker, offering appropriate elaboration and detail.
  • SL.3.4. Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.
  • SL.3.5. Create engaging audio recordings of stories or poems that demonstrate fluid reading at an understandable pace; add visual displays when appropriate to emphasize or enhance certain facts or details.
  • SL.3.6. Speak in complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation in order to provide requested detail or clarification. (See grade 3 Language standards 1 and 3 here for specific expectations.) 

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: L.2 Language
Grade(s): Grade 2
Cluster: Conventions of Standard English
Standards:

  • L.2.1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
    • Use collective nouns (e.g., group).
    • Form and use frequently occurring irregular plural nouns (e.g., feet, children, teeth, mice, fish).
    • Use reflexive pronouns (e.g., myself, ourselves)
    • Form and use the past tense of frequently occurring irregular verbs (e.g., sat, hid, told).
    • Use adjectives and adverbs, and choose between them depending on what is to be modified.
    • Produce, expand, and rearrange complete simple and compound sentences (e.g., The boy watched the movie; The little boy watched the movie; The action movie was watched by the little boy).
  • L.2.2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
    • Capitalize holidays, product names, and geographic names.
    • Use commas in greetings and closings of letters.
    • Use an apostrophe to form contractions and frequently occurring possessives.
    • Generalize learned spelling patterns when writing words (e.g., cage --> badge; boy --> boil).
    • Consult reference materials, including beginning dictionaries, as needed to check and correct spellings.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: L.3 Language
Grade(s): Grade 2
Cluster: Conventions of Standard English
Standards:

  • L.3.1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
    • Explain the function of nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs in general and their functions in particular sentences.
    • Form and use regular and irregular plural nouns.
    • Use abstract nouns (e.g., childhood).
    • Form and use regular and irregular verbs.
    • Form and use the simple (e.g., I walked; I walk; I will walk) verb tenses.
    • Ensure subject-verb and pronoun-antecedent agreement.
    • Form and use comparative and superlative adjectives and adverbs, and choose between them depending on what is to be modified.
    • Use coordinating and subordinating conjunctions.
    • Produce simple, compound, and complex sentences.
  • L.3.2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
    • Capitalize appropriate words in titles.
    • Use commas in addresses.
    • Use commas and quotation marks in dialogue.
    • Form and use possessives.
    • Use conventional spelling for high-frequency and other studied words and for adding suffixes to base words (e.g., sitting, smiled, cries, happiness).
    • Use spelling patterns and generalizations (e.g., word families, position-based spellings, syllable patterns, ending rules, meaningful word parts) in writing words.
    • Consult reference materials, including beginning dictionaries, as needed to check and correct spellings.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.2 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grade 2
Cluster: Key Ideas and Details
Standards:

  • RI.2.1. Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.
  • RI.2.2. Identify the main topic of a multi-paragraph text as well as the focus of specific paragraphs within the text.
  • RI.2.3. Describe the connection between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text. 

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.2 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grade 2
Cluster: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
Standards:

  • RI.2.7. Explain how specific images (e.g., a diagram showing how a machine works) contribute to and clarify a text.
  • RI.2.8. Describe how reasons support specific points the author makes in a text.
  • RI.2.9. Compare and contrast the most important points presented by two texts on the same topic.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.2 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grade 2
Cluster: Craft and Structure
Standards:

  • RI.2.4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 2 topic or subject area.
  • RI.2.5. Know and use various text features (e.g., captions, bold print, subheadings, glossaries, indexes, electronic menus, icons) to locate key facts or information in a text efficiently.
  • RI.2.6. Identify the main purpose of a text, including what the author wants to answer, explain, or describe.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.3 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grade 2
Cluster: Craft and Structure
Standards:

  • RI.3.4. Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 3 topic or subject area.
  • RI.3.5. Use text features and search tools (e.g., key words, sidebars, hyperlinks) to locate information relevant to a given topic efficiently.
  • RI.3.6. Distinguish their own point of view from that of the author of a text.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.3 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grade 2
Cluster: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
Standards:

  • RI.3.7. Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur).
  • RI.3.8. Describe the logical connection between particular sentences and paragraphs in a text (e.g., comparison, cause/effect, first/second/third in a sequence).
  • RI.3.9. Compare and contrast the most important points and key details presented in two texts on the same topic.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.3 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grade 2
Cluster: Key Ideas and Details
Standards:

  • RI.3.1. Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.
  • RI.3.2. Determine the main idea of a text; recount the key details and explain how they support the main idea.
  • RI.3.3. Describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.2 Writing
Grade(s): Grade 2
Cluster: Research to Build and Present Knowledge
Standards:

  • W.2.7. Participate in shared research and writing projects (e.g., read a number of books on a single topic to produce a report; record science observations).
  • W.2.8. Recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.
  • W.2.9. begins in grade 4.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.2 Writing
Grade(s): Grade 2
Cluster: Production and Distribution of Writing
Standards:

  • W.2.4. begins in grade 3.
  • W.2.5. With guidance and support from adults and peers, focus on a topic and strengthen writing as needed by revising and editing.
  • W.2.6. With guidance and support from adults, use a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.3 Writing
Grade(s): Grade 2
Cluster: Research to Build and Present Knowledge
Standards:

  • W.3.7. Conduct short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.
  • W.3.8. Recall information from experiences or gather information from print and digital sources; take brief notes on sources and sort evidence into provided categories.
  • W.3.9. begins in grade 4.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.3 Writing
Grade(s): Grade 2
Cluster: Production and Distribution of Writing
Standards:

  • W.3.4. With guidance and support from adults, produce writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task and purpose. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1–3.)
  • W.3.5. With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing. (Editing for conventions should demonstrate command of Language standards 1-3 up to and including grade 3.)
  • W.3.6. With guidance and support from adults, use technology to produce and publish writing (using keyboarding skills) as well as to interact and collaborate with others.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: All Language Arts Standards
Cluster: Use of Spoken, Written, and Visual Language
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

  • Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: All Language Arts Standards
Cluster: Applying Knowledge to Language
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

  • Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and nonprint texts.

Discipline: Visual Arts and Music
Domain: K-4 Visual Arts
Cluster: Standard 6: Making connections between visual arts and other disciplines
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

  • Students understand and use similarities and differences between characteristics of the visual arts and other arts disciplines
  • Students identify connections between the visual arts and other disciplines in the curriculum

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: All Language Arts Standards
Cluster: Applying Strategies to Writing
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

  • Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: All Language Arts Standards
Cluster: Effective Communication
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

  • Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.

Discipline: Social Studies
Domain: All Thematic Standards
Cluster: People, Places, and Environment
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

Teachers should:

  • Enable learners to use, interpret, and distinguish various representations of Earth such as maps, globes, and photographs, and to use appropriate geographic tools
  • Encourage learners to construct, use, and refine maps and mental maps, calculate distance, scale, area, and density, and organize information about people, places, regions, and environments in a spatial context
  • Help learners to locate, distinguish, and describe the relationships among varying regional and global patterns of physical systems such as landforms, climate, and natural resources, and explain changes in the physical systems
  • Guide learners in exploring characteristics, distribution, and migration of human populations on Earth’s surface
  • Have learners describe how people create places that reflect culture, human needs, current values and ideals, and government policies
  • Provide opportunities for learners to examine, interpret, and analyze interactions of human beings and their physical environments, and to observe and analyze social and economic effects of environmental changes, both positive and negative
  • Challenge learners to consider, compare, and evaluate existing uses of resources and land in communities, regions, countries, and the world
  • Direct learners to explore ways in which Earth’s physical features have changed over time, and describe and assess ways historical events have influenced and been influenced by physical and human geographic features

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