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Writing With a Purpose

Main Core Tie

English Language Arts Grade 3
Writing Standard 4

Time Frame

2 class periods of 30 minutes each

Group Size

Large Groups

Life Skills



Utah LessonPlans
brooke rauzon


The class will read Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse or Yours Truly, Goldilocks by Alma Flor Ada, or Dr. Mrs. La Rue by Mark Teague as a lead into writing letters. Teacher will share notes from students. Students will organize ideas to write a letter using the informal letter format to someone.


  • Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse, by Kevin Henkes
  • Letter template
  • Letters collected from students
  • Stamps and envelopes (optional)

Background for Teachers

Read the text prior to reading aloud. If possible, collect notes from previous students to share as appropriate.

Student Prior Knowledge

Students should be familiar with the form for writing letters. Students should know how to use a web to organize information as a draft for writing.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students will participate in pre-writing activities. They will write to communicate effectively.

Instructional Procedures

  1. In a whole group setting discuss reasons for writing a note or a letter.
  2. List student's ideas on the board.
  3. The teacher may want to share original personal notes she has received with the class to illustrate effective communication.
  4. Read aloud the story Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse, modeling fluency, voice and expression.
  5. Discuss as a group how Lilly felt after she wrote the mean letter to her teacher.
  6. Ask, "How many of us have felt angry at someone before?"
  7. Suggest to the students that they could write a letter expressing their feelings but remind them what happened to Lilly. They may want to think about what to do with the mean letter after it is written.
  8. Ask the students to think of someone they love or appreciate.
  9. Gather ideas of people to write kind letters to and list them on the board.
  10. Model how to use a graphic organizer to plan a writing project.
  11. Send students to their desks to create their organizer.
  12. This will be used to write a letter to the person they have chosen to write to for the next lesson.

Strategies for Diverse Learners

Students may add illustrations to their notes and letters.


The teacher may set up a class post office. Students would be able to write notes to each other at a specific time of day during the week. At the end of the day one student could deliver the mail. Each student should be supplied with a class list so that he can write to everyone in the class. If the students cross the names out and write to everyone on the list it alleviates the problem of the popular children getting numerous letters while others get nothing. Students may actually address and mail the letters if stamps are available.

Assessment Plan

Teacher should check the letters before sending to assess student's understanding and skills.


Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse by Keven Henkes

Created: 08/01/2005
Updated: 02/04/2018