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Teachers Network Leadership Institute:
Fair Share for Our Schools: A Multidisciplinary Curriculum: Letter Writing Campaign
View the Short Video: Campaign for Fiscal Equality: Students Speak Out
Writing to City Council Person/ State Legislator to request aid for the school and for the representative to visit the school

Lesson Materials (word document)
 
Aim:
1) Students will brainstorm ideas of ways to make their school/ classroom better.
2) Students will write pervasive letters to their city council/state legislator telling about their school needs and inviting them to school.

Motivation: Read book on Martin Luther King that has excerpts from his “I Have a Dream” speech. It should also discuss how he experienced things that were not fair or needed changing and then worked to make the changes happen.

Teach: Just like MLK and Rosa Parks, who thought about ways to make life better for people, you as students can think what would make our school and/ or classroom a better place to learn. For example: If we had a printer for our computer, then we could print out some of the stories you have written. I will write down your ideas on the chart paper. Make a list of their ideas. (Teachers: You will need to direct their thoughts into constructive ideas. For example if they say more snacks, you might direct it to more healthy snacks.)

Possible ideas:

  1. More recess/ gym: Students need more exercise for health reasons. More adults needed at recess to help organize games of kick ball, jump rope, basketball, softball, etc.
  2. Computer/printers in classrooms: Can be better working/ more up to date so that programs actually work on them/ more computers, etc.
  3. After school programs: To help with homework, tutoring, and more time for gym, arts, computers.
  4. Summer program with trips, arts, computers, sports, etc.
  5. Less kids in each class so students have more time with their teachers/ can get more individual help.
  6. Cleaner bathrooms/ yard.
  7. Better lunches.

Day 2: Letter writing

Teach: Just about everything we thought of yesterday would make our school/classroom better will cost money. For example: Computers cost money, more teachers cost money to pay their salary. Schools get money from the city and state. We can write a letter to our city council person/ state legislator and tell them why we think our school should get more money to pay for what would make it better.

Show a model of a letter to a legislator on the overhead or chart paper. (See sample)

Read the letter and explain how the letter writer first introduces him or herself and then tells why they are writing and why. Show a sample of the paper they will get set up with lines for writing in the appropriate places. (Sample included) Model writing a letter on the paper. Write down the steps:

  1. Write the proper headings. (Legislator name/ address and date)
  2. Introduce yourself.
  3. Tell what you think should be done to improve the school/ classroom and why.
  4. Sign your name.

Give out the paper and have student write a draft.

Materials:
Suggested MLK books.
Paper set up in letter format for student writing.
Sample letter to legislator.
Addresses and districts of city council people and state legislators.


Subject Areas:
Language Arts


Grade Levels:  K-2

About the teacher:

Lisa R. North is currently a Reading Recovery teacher at PS 3, District 13, in Brooklyn, NY. Reading Recovery is an early intervention reading and writing program for first grade students. Before becoming a Reading Recovery teacher, Lisa taught first grade for eight years. This will be Lisa’s thirteenth year of teaching. She received her Masters Degree in early childhood education from Bank Street College of Education.

LRN1212@aol.com

 

 

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