How I Spent My Summer Vacation
1. Preplanning
Lesson objective:
After the lesson, students will write a friendly letter containing a greeting, body containing three grammatically correct sentences, closing, and signature with 100% accuracy.

Materials & Technology:
· How I Spent My Summer Vacation by Mark Teague
· SMART Notebook document “Friendly Letter"
· Postcard Template
· Crayons

2. Lesson Opening
I will begin by asking the students the following questions:
  • Have you ever dreamt about an exciting vacation?
  • Did you ever wonder what you would do if you could plan your own summer vacation?
  • Have you ever received a postcard?
  • If you went on an exciting vacation, who would you want to tell about it?

Sometimes when people go on a vacation they write postcards to their friends and family telling them about all the fun that they are having on their trip. Also, after a long trip it is nice to let someone know that you are thinking about them. Today we are going to read a story c
called How I Spent My Summer Vacation by Mark Teague. It is about a little boy named Wallace who had a crazy summer vacation.

How I Spent My Summer Vacation by Mark Teague

After reading the story I will ask to recall the definitions of fiction and non-fiction and to tell me if they think How I Spent My Summer Vacation is fiction or non-fiction. We will briefly discuss why it is fiction and I will ask students for some examples from the story that could make this story fiction. I will then tell students that they will be making up a fictional vacation and writing a postcard to a family member/friend telling them where they went and what happened, just like Wallace sent to his Aunt Fern. I will turn to this page in the story and show the students the postcard that Wallace wrote.

3. Lesson Body
Model: I will show students the sample postcard on the SMARTBoard. (Friendly Letter.notebook) I will review what the terms greeting, body, closing and signature mean. I will then show them the following postcard with examples of what these terms mean. I will then show students examples of postcards/friendly letters and non-examples. Through these examples I will question students about what makes it a friendly letter and why it is not. I will be looking for them to understand that it includes a greeting, body, closing, and signature.
Friendly Letter Example Screenshot

Non-Example of a Friendly Letter Screenshot

Lead: After reviewing what the terms mean I will show students the sample of my postcard and review it with them. I will then put up a blank postcard and have students tell me what goes on each line (greeting, body, etc.) Once students demonstrate an understanding of the parts of a friendly letter, I will then give them a few minutes to brainstorm a fictional summer vacation. I will then give each student print out of a blank postcard.(Postcard Template.doc) They are to fill out all the parts of the post card, using the lines to guide them. Students will use this postcard to create one online.

Test: Students will then log on to the online postcard generator
Screenshot of Postcard Generator

They will follow the following steps using their postcard they created as a guide:
1. Click “Next”
2. Type in the address of the person they are sending their postcard to
3. Click “Next”
4. Click “Next” (to skip the image description)
5. Type their greeting (Dear Mom, To Uncle Nick, etc.)
6. In the body type three sentences complete sentences about their vacation.
7. Type a closing (Love, From, etc.)
8. Type their name
9. Click “Next”
10. Chose a stamp
11. Raise their hand
After students raise their hand I will review their draft and click print. After the student’s postcard has printed they are to draw a picture of their fictional place they described on the front of their post card.

  • More advanced students will have to write five grammatically correct sentences with 100% accuracy about their fictional summer vacation.
  • Some students may use the software Ginger to help assist them with their spelling and grammar.

4. Lesson Closing
Praise students: I am so proud of everyone's hard work today. You all did a great job!
Summarize Lesson: I will ask students, "What are the four parts of a letter?" I will allow them time to answer. I will then ask, "Why do you think it is important to know how to write a letter?"
Transition: "Please make sure your computers are shut down, all materials are put away, and show me that you are ready to begin our next activity."

5. Evaluation
The teacher will evaluate if the student correctly filled out their postcard using all four parts (greeting, body, closing, signature) and if they wrote three complete sentences that are grammatically correct in the body with 100% accuracy.