Beacon Lesson Plan Library
Santa Rosa District Schools
After reading [Dear Mr. Blueberry], a book by Simon James that models letter writing, students write their own letters to their teacher.
The student writes legibly using manuscript form (for example, prints numbers and upper- and lower- case letters; uses left to right sequencing; spaces between words and sentences).
The student uses descriptive words to convey ideas in writing.
The student uses an organizational structure in writing (including beginning, middle, and ending; using supporting details).
The student uses spelling approximations and some conventional spelling.
The student uses end punctuation and capitalizes initial words of sentences, names of people, `I`, days of the week, and months of the year.
The student uses complete sentences in writing.
-James, Simon. [Dear Mr. Blueberry]. New York: Aladdin Paperbacks, 1996.
1. Gather materials.
2. Create your mailbox by covering a tissue box with construction paper and decorating it.
1. Assemble students in the large-group reading area.
2. Ask questions to spark interest such as: “Have you ever seen a pond?” “Has anyone ever seen a whale?” and “Have you ever seen a whale in a pond?” Discuss responses.
3. Introduce the story by saying, “This book is about a little girl who thinks she has a whale in her pond. She writes letters to her teacher during the summer for help with her whale. Let’s read the book to find out what happens.”
4. Begin reading. Pause throughout the story to ask students for predictions. Discuss the conclusion of the story.
5. After reading [Dear Mr. Blueberry], introduce letter writing by flipping through the book to show and discuss the parts of a letter.
6. On chart paper, model writing a simple letter. Discuss the parts of your letter.
7. Distribute paper and a pencil to each child.
8. Explain that they will write a letter to their teacher. You may give them a topic to write about, or you may wish to let each child choose his/her own topic.
9. Instruct the children to begin writing. Tell them to put the letter in your mailbox when finished.
10. You will need to write a short letter of response to each child after reading their letters to you.
Use the Grading Rubric in the Associated File.
1. This activity should be done toward the end of the first grade year or later.
2. If you have multiple copies of the book, you may have children read the story in a small-group setting.
3. You may wish to use the Whales Website (See WebLinks) to conduct a science lesson on whales after this activity.
4. A wonderful addition to this activity would be to provide each child a stamped envelope, addressed to you, the teacher, for use during summer vacation. This would cost approximately $10.00 for the stamps and envelopes. Of course, you would need to return a letter, or a postcard, which would be cheaper to send, to the children who write to you. E-mail is a good alternative if available to the teacher and student.
Web supplement for Dear TeacherWhales
A Grading Rubric for assessment.
File Extension: pdf