Formal letter (information enquiry)
Pre-Intermediate A2 level
To provide product writing practice of a formal e-mail in the context of inquiring information from a language school
To provide gist and scan reading practice using a text in the context of a formal information enquiry e-mail to a language school
Procedure (45-45 minutes)
Prezi Slide 1 as a background. Start the lesson with grouping. Distribute coloured paper stripes with the website link on them: http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/interactives/letter_generator/ The stripes must be of three-four colours (depending on how many groups you want to have) Start playing the video (Prezi Slide 2). Before playing explain that they are going to watch a TV commercial. Elicit what 'commercial' means. Ask students to watch and say what will happen further when you stop the video. Play and stop the video at 0:24. Elicit their predictions The play the video further to check their ideas and stop at 0:32. Then ask what is being advertised. Then play the recording till the end. Ask them: T.: Have you ever attended any courses? T.: How did you find out the information about the course? Its details? T.: What do you do if you can't find all the necessary information on the website? (the anticipated answer is to write an e-mail, so try to lead the conversation to get this answer)
Explain that students are going to read an e-mail. Distribute HO 1. Ask them to read the e-mail and answer the following questions (Prezi Slide 3): 1. Who is writing? 2. Whom is the writer writing to? 3. Does the writer know the person who he/she is writing to? Are they friends, relatives? Let students work individually first and then let them check in their groups. Elicit feedback . Answers: 1. Adriano 2. To a language school 3. No. They are neither friends nor relatives. Ask them if they think it is a formal letter or an informal one and why. Show them the structure of any letter/e-mail and ask them: 1. How many parts does it have? (three) 2. What are they? (top of the letter, body and foot) Ask them to look at the text again and indentify what things must be in the parts mentioned above. Distribute the small plan cards (one set per each group) and ask them to work in groups and divide them according to the parts of the e-mail. Elicit the answers. Put the big plan cards according to the parts of the e-mail. Answers: TOP: greeting BODY: reason for writing, personal information connected with the course questions FOOT: closing phrase signature
Show them Prezi Slide 4 and ask them what questions Adriano wants the school to answer. Give them some time to find the information in the text if its necessary. Answers: How much do the courses cost? When do the courses begin and finish? Where can I stay? T.: What expressions does Adriano use to get the information he wants? ('Could you please send me...', 'I would like some information about...') T.: Does he sound polite? (yes) Remind them it is a formal letter. T.: Each of you will have 1 or 2 phrases. Some of them are for formal e-mails, others are for informal ones. You must come out to the board and stick it to the right column and right part of the letter. Check the work on the board. Answers: FORMAL INFORMAL TOP Dear Sir/Madam, Dear Jack,; Hi Mike, BODY I am writing, I'm writing; I would like some informantion I'd like some information FOOT I look forward to hearing from you Looking forward to hearing from you Write soon Your faithfully Best wishes Point to the top and foot of the formal e-mail phrases and ask if Adriano knows the name of the person he is writing to. (no) Show them two more cards with 'Dear Mr Brown' and 'Yours sincerely' and highlight that we use these phrases when we know the name.
Ask your students to choose one of the five words in each section (Prezi Slide 5) to compile the letter. (to make it funny students shouldn't see the task yet) Take the cards with the chosen words and insert them into that gaps (write the task before the lesson on the other side of the board): 'Join the course "_________ for dummies". Professional _____________ coaches. Small groups or private lessons. For more information e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org' Give them two minutes and ask what questions they might ask. Write the quesions on the board. Distribute coloured sheets of paper, elicit the task and explain the following: T.: Right. You're going to write a formal letter. You start writing the e-mail. But when I say "Freeze", you stop, even you're in the middle of the word. Ask them ICQs: T.: When do you have to stop? (when the teacher says 'FREEZE') T.: Can you finish the word when I say 'Freeze'? (no) Before students start to write show them Prezi Slide 6 as help. The students begin to write. Check that everyone has written something before saying 'Freeze!' for the first time. Try to hurry the ones along that are lagging behind a little. Having said 'Freeze!', transfer each paper to the next group so that everyone's working with another piece of paper with a letter on it. Give the following instruction which is to read, correct, improve and continue. So, they work on the letter that they've received and then they continue that letter. A bit later say 'Freeze!' and off we go again. Transfer letters, read, correct, improve and continue. It's always good to get the paper back to the original group just before the ending and again the same instruction - read, correct and improve and this time you say 'close'. So they bring it to a finale.
When students have finished, show them the criteria for feedback (Prezi Slide 7): Content Appropriacy of language Organisation Language mistakes Give them 3-4 minutes to check the letter and elicit feedback After the feedback, ask them to look at coloured stripes they were given at the beginning of the lesson and advise them to use the resource if they need some help in organising their letters.