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Teachers Network Leadership Institute:
Fair Share for Our Schools: A Multidisciplinary Curriculum: Taking Action: Letter Writing and Other Forms of Advocacy
View the Short Video: Campaign for Fiscal Equality: Students Speak Out

Lesson Materials (word document)

What can we do to help get the money we deserve for our schools?
Students will write a persuasive letter.

Share the story of 11-year-old Samantha Smith (see
lesson materials). Samantha wrote a letter to Soviet President Yuri Andropov asking why there could not be peace between our countries. She was invited to Moscow as a goodwill mission.

Procedure/Teaching points:

  • Review the information shared in previous lessons concerning the CFE money. The main points should be outlined in a chart.
  • Students will decide to whom they will write letter(s):
    • Politicians (local or state)
    • Media (newspapers, television, radio)
    • Celebrities (athletes, performers)
  • Students should decide if the letter should be written in friendly or business style. Review the format of each type of letter.

Student Activity:

  • Students write their letters by themselves or with partners.

Share/ Report Out

  • Invite a few students to share their letters.

Applications/ Follow-up/extensions

  • Revise and edit letters as necessary. Make multiple copies of each letter so they can be sent to as many people as possible. Letters can be sent by e-mail if computers are available.
  • Students can design posters that call attention to CFE funding and inequities in the schools. These posters can be displayed in the school or in other community-based organizations.
  • Students can write and design handouts and distribute them throughout the community.
  • Students can write and perform a series of commercials. These can be performed for the parents to increase awareness of the situation. Contact local media to inform them of the performances.


  • Track responses to the letters and/or other projects. Send follow up letters when indicated. Evaluate the effectiveness of each project and determine which form of community outreach generated the largest response.


Subject Areas:
Language Arts

Grade Levels:  3-5

About the teachers:

Maureen E. Connelly has been involved in education for 30 years. Maureen has had the opportunity to teach in many different kinds of schools during that time. Her teaching experience has been in grades K through 3rd. Presently, Maureen is part of the CC9 Lead Teacher Program at PS 64 in the Bronx. Maureen studied Supervision and Administration at Georgia State University and am certified in that field. Maureen is passionately interested in the educational leadership field because she believes that a principal creates the environment for both teachers and students to grow and develop.


Amy R. Kopchains is currently a resource room teacher for grades K-8 at PS 171 in Manhattan. After school, she works as a Dial-A-Teacher providing homework help for students throughout NYC. Before coming to PS 171 in 2001, Ms. Kopchains taught early childhood special education classes at PS 186 for 14 years. She has also worked in daycare as a director and a special education consultant. Ms. Kopchains has worked in staff development since the 1980’s. She served as chairperson of her district’s QUIPP committee which provided a variety of staff development opportunities for teachers. She is certified as a Teacher Consultant with the New York State Geographic Alliance and has represented New York in national institutes. She has attended yearly conventions of the National Science Teachers’ Association and taken advantage of training in the areas of science inquiry and science safety. Ms. Kopchains continues to give staff development and parent workshops for her school and for the district on a variety of topics.



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