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Letters from the Road

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Summary

Students will identify and differentiate between rural, urban, and suburban communities. They will also identify the parts of a friendly letter and will compose their own letters based on their new knowledge of rural communities.

Coin Type(s)

  • Quarter

Coin Program(s)

  • 50 State Quarters

Objectives

  • Students will identify and differentiate between rural, urban, and suburban communities.
  • They will also identify the parts of a friendly letter and will compose their own letters based on their new knowledge of rural communities.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Language Arts
  • Social Studies

Grades

  • Second grade
  • Third grade

Class Time

Sessions: Two
Session Length: 30-45 minutes
Total Length: 46-90 minutes

Groupings

  • Whole group
  • Pairs
  • Individual work

Background Knowledge

Students should have a basic knowledge of:

  • The community in which they live
  • Communities outside their own
  • Outdoor activities
  • Friendly letter writing

Terms and Concepts

  • Quarter
  • Reverse (back)
  • Rural
  • Urban
  • Suburban
  • Friendly Letter
  • Greeting
  • Community
  • Closing
  • Signature

Materials

  • Chart paper or chalkboard
  • Markers or chalk
  • Artifacts from rural, urban, and suburban communities (images and concrete materials)
  • Sentence strips
  • 1 overhead projector (optional)
  • West Virginia Quarter Reverse page
  • 1 class map of the United States
  • Copies of an age-appropriate text about rural areas, such as:
    • Get Around in the Country by Lee Sullivan Hill
    • Goodnight, Country by Susan Verlander
    • Town Mouse Country Mouse by Jan Brett
  • Writing paper
  • Drawing paper
  • Letter-size envelopes

Preparations

  • Make an overhead transparency (or photocopy) of the “West Virginia Quarter Reverse” page.
  • Gather an assortment of artifacts from rural, urban, and suburban communities.
  • Display the artifacts for the different communities in three corners of the classroom (one corner per community).
  • Create labels for each type of community and place them in corresponding corners.
  • Locate an age-appropriate text that relates to rural areas (see examples under “Materials”).

Worksheets and Files

Lesson plan, worksheet(s), and rubric (if any) at www.usmint.gov/kids/teachers/lessonPlans/pdf/274.pdf.

Session 1

  1. Before the start of class, place an assortment of artifacts (including images and concrete materials) in three corners of the classroom. Each corner should represent a different type of community: rural, urban, and suburban. Place a label for the appropriate community in each corner.
  2. Begin this activity with a class discussion of where the students live. Ask the students to describe the local area. Record all responses on a piece of chart paper or on the chalkboard.
  3. Explain that there are different types of communities in our country and that the students will get a chance to explore the differences between these communities. Direct the students to take a few minutes to walk around the classroom and explore each corner.
  4. Regroup and, as a class, discuss each of the corners of the room. Ask the students to describe what they saw in each corner. The students should be able to accurately describe the characteristics of the three different communities.
  5. As the students describe the three communities, record their responses on three different pieces of chart paper, labeling each with the appropriate community name (“urban,” “rural,” and “suburban”).
  6. Discuss with the students which type of community they believe they live in. Compare the students’ community chart from step 2 to the three community charts that the students have just developed.
  7. Ask the students to consider which type of community they believe has the largest number of people living in it and why. Students should choose urban settings as having the largest populations because there are more jobs in cities, etc. Add this information to the “urban” community chart.
  8. Ask the students to consider which type of community would have the fewest people living in it and why. The students should be able to identify that rural settings have the smallest populations. Explain that rural settings are often agricultural communities and that rural populations need land when growing crops and raising animals. Add this information to the “rural” community chart.
  9. Ask the students what word they hear in the word “suburban.” The students should hear the word “urban,” which they know means “city.”
  10. Explain that suburban communities are towns that are near to, but outside of, cities. Ask the students to discuss why people would choose to live in a suburban community. Some ideas may include that people work in urban communities, but may want more land or less crowding where they live. Add student ideas to the “suburban” community chart.
  11. Explain that, in the next session, the students will be looking more closely at one specific type of community.

Session 2

  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 West Virginia quarter reverse. Locate West Virginia on a classroom map. Note its position in relation to your school’s location.
  2. With the students, examine the coin design. Have the students point out the elements of this design, including the mountains, trees, and river, and also the words “New River Gorge.
  3. Based on the class discussion, have the students consider what kind of community they believe is shown on this coin.
  4. Have the students discuss what they believe people living in this part of West Virginia would do for work and for fun.
  5. Ask the students what kinds of things they think they would do if they were to go on a class field trip to this area. Record student responses. Explain that, throughout the year, people camp and hike along this river, bungee jump and repel from this bridge, go rafting in the water, and enjoy many other outdoor activities.
  6. As a class, pretend to go on a field trip to the New River Gorge. Explain that, on this field trip, the students are camping there overnight and want to write a letter to someone special to tell them all about the camping experience.
  7. As a class, discuss how one would go about writing a letter to someone. Talk about what kind of letter this would this be and what kind of information should be included.
  8. Introduce the selected text about rural areas. Preview the text and illustrations and allow the students to generate observations and predictions about what is happening at each point in the text.
  9. Read the selected text to the class. Attend to any unfamiliar vocabulary.
  10. Discuss the different parts of a letter, including the heading, greeting, body, closing, and signature.
  11. As a class, discuss what the students might want to express in the body of the letter that they will be writing. Direct the students to focus on what they previously discussed about rural communities. You may wish to give your students more background information about the New River Gorge area at this point. Record student responses.
  12. Direct the students to write their letters, encouraging them to use descriptive writing. Have the students create an illustration based on their imaginary experiences camping near the New River Gorge.
  13. Have each student exchange his or her letter with another classmate and point out and name the parts of the classmate’s letter.
  14. Distribute an envelope to each student. Have each student address the envelope to his or her person of choice, add a return address, and draw a stamp.
  15. Collect the letters for assessment. Explain, if necessary, that the addressees will not actually be receiving these letters; this is only a pretend mailing.

Differentiated Learning Options

  • Allow students to dictate or type their letters.
  • Provide a framework for the letter for students to use as a guide.
  • Have students create a postcard of their experience.
  • Using index cards, create a concentration game for identification and recognition of the parts of a letter. Cards can include the definition, an example, or picture.

Enrichments/Extensions

Have students examine the types of communities shown on a variety of new quarter reverses. They could determine what type of community is depicted and write a letter to their teacher based on a fictional visit to that community.

Use the student the letters for assessment. Explain, if necessary, that the addressees will not actually be receiving these letters; this is only a pretend mailing

There are no related resources for this lesson plan.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.3 Writing
Grade(s): Grade 3
Cluster: Text Types and Purposes
Standards:

  • W.3.1. Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons.
    • Introduce the topic or text they are writing about, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure that lists reasons.
    • Provide reasons that support the opinion.
    • Use linking words and phrases (e.g., because, therefore, since, for example) to connect opinion and reasons.
    • Provide a concluding statement or section.
  • W.3.2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
    • Introduce a topic and group related information together; include illustrations when useful to aiding comprehension.
    • Develop the topic with facts, definitions, and details.
    • Use linking words and phrases (e.g., also, another, and, more, but) to connect ideas within categories of information.
    • Provide a concluding statement or section.
  • W.3.3. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.
    • Establish a situation and introduce a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally.
    • Use dialogue and descriptions of actions, thoughts, and feelings to develop experiences and events or show the response of characters to situations.
    • Use temporal words and phrases to signal event order.
    • Provide a sense of closure.

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

  • RL.2.4. Describe how words and phrases (e.g., regular beats, alliteration, rhymes, repeated lines) supply rhythm and meaning in a story, poem, or song.
  • RL.2.5. Describe the overall structure of a story, including describing how the beginning introduces the story and the ending concludes the action.
  • RL.2.6. Acknowledge differences in the points of view of characters, including by speaking in a different voice for each character when reading dialogue aloud.

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

  • RL.2.7. Use information gained from the illustrations and words in a print or digital text to demonstrate understanding of its characters, setting, or plot.
  • RL.2.8. not applicable to literature.
  • RL.2.9. Compare and contrast two or more versions of the same story (e.g., Cinderella stories) by different authors or from different cultures.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.2 Writing
Grade(s): Grade 3
Cluster: Text Types and Purposes
Standards:

  • W.2.1. Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply reasons that support the opinion, use linking words (e.g., because, and, also) to connect opinion and reasons, and provide a concluding statement or section.
  • W.2.2. Write informative/explanatory texts in which they introduce a topic, use facts and definitions to develop points, and provide a concluding statement or section.
  • W.2.3. Write narratives in which they recount a well-elaborated event or short sequence of events, include details to describe actions, thoughts, and feelings, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide a sense of closure.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: L.2 Language
Grade(s): Grade 3
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 3
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: SL.2 Speaking and Listening
Grade(s): Grade 3
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 3
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: W.2 Writing
Grade(s): Grade 3
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 3
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 3
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 3
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: 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: Language Arts
Domain: All Language Arts Standards
Cluster: Literature
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

  • Students read a wide range of literature from many periods in many genres to build an understanding of the many dimensions (e.g., philosophical, ethical, aesthetic) of human experience. 

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 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