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Lesson PlanReading/Authentic Materials

Postcards
Context: This lesson is designed for an upper elementary beginning English as a second
language class. Students have been studying travel and vacation vocabulary and have
previously learned how to write a friendly letter. Students have varying native languages so all
instruction is done in English.
Objective:
Students will use knowledge of the format of a postcard and picture information to
successfully read different postcards.
Students will appreciate culturally relevant travel destinations in the United States.
Students will practice travel and vacation vocabulary.
Standards:
WIDA ELP 3-5 Standard 1, Level 2 (Reading): Locate information in visually or
graphically supported text on leisure activities.
WIDA ELP 3-5 Standard 2, Level 2 (Reading): Match visually supported context cues
with statements to find meaning and facilitate fluency.
VA English SOL 4.5: The student will read and demonstrate comprehension of
nonfiction.
d) Make simple inferences, using information from texts.
e) Draw conclusions, using information from texts.
Materials/Resources:
-List of the parts of a postcard (attached)
-Large model postcard with two sides (picture and blank) and five parts (stamp, address,
greeting, body, closing) (attached)
-Authentic blank postcards (one per student)
-Authentic sent postcards (one per two students)
-Model sent postcards (one per student) (samples attached)
-Blank postcard templates with address/stamp included (one per student)
-Whiteboard/whiteboard marker
Content and Instructional Strategies:
Pre-reading (5 minutes):
1. Today we are going to be learning about postcards. We sometimes send postcards when
we go to new places. Weve been talking a lot about traveling this past week, and I know
we all like to travel to new places. Who has traveled somewhere? When you travel,
sometimes you want to write home to your friends and family to tell them about your trip.
The easiest way to do this is to use a postcard. Who has written a postcard before? I
traveled to the beach last weekend and I wanted to write you a postcard because I missed
you!
2. A postcard is like a letter, which we know how to write. But, its shorter than a letter
and it has a picture on the front to show where you are traveling. Pass out Savannah
postcards. Point to the picture on your postcard. Postcards also usually tell you where

they are from. Point to the words on your postcard that say where it is from. Post a
postcard picture on the board and point to the picture, then post the location label and
point to it. The picture and the words can help you when you read a postcard. My
postcard is from a beach, so I know the words on the postcard will tell me things about
the beach.
3. Now flip your postcard over. Mime flipping the postcard. Post the back of the
postcard on the board.
4. When we send postcards to our friends and families, we have to add some things to the
postcard. Postcards can have lots of writing (show postcards) or a little writing (show
postcards) but they all have five parts: the stamp, the address, the greeting, the body, and
the closing. Post the list of parts of a postcard on the board and point to each part as you
read it.
5. Pass out one postcard to each two students. Please share your postcard with a buddy.
6. First we need a stamp. We know about stamps when we write letters. On a postcard,
the stamp goes in in the top right corner. Add the stamp to the postcard on the board.
Point to the stamp on your postcard.
7. Then we need the address. This tells us who are sending the postcard to. We remember
how to write addresses. Post address on the postcard on the board. Point to the
address.
8. Now we need a greeting. This says hello to the person. This always goes at the top of
the left side. Add the greeting. There are lots of ways to say hello, but usually we
write Dear _______ or Hi, _____ and write the name of the person we are writing
to. Write them on the board and have students repeat. Can you find the greeting on
your postcard?
9. The body of the postcard is the biggest part. In the body, we usually talk about our
vacation. Point to the body. Post the body on the board.
10. Last we need our closing. This says goodbye to the person. The closing goes at the
end. Add the closing to the postcard on the board. There are also lots of ways to say
goodbye, but usually we say Love, _____ or Sincerely, _____ and we write our
name. Write them on the board and have students repeat. Point to the closing on your
postcard.
11. Now that we know how a postcard looks, it is easy to read. Remember, the picture on
the postcard can help you. My postcard is a picture of the beach, so you know it is from
the beach. That will help us figure out what it says. Lets read it together. Have one
student point to each wore while reading the postcard aloud. That made sense. We
know the person is at the beach, so it made sense that she would go swimming and built a
sandcastle.
Skimming/Scanning (2 minutes):
12. Now everyone gets their own postcard. Pass out the postcard. Remember to look at
the picture on your postcard. Postcards usually have pictures of where you are traveling.
Postcards are fun because they can show were you are. In the United States, we have lots
of fun places to travel. Show the person sitting next to you the picture on your postcard.
13. Turn your postcard over and point to the stamp. Now point to the address.
14. We know how to scan for important words when we read. Can you scan for the
greeting? Have one student read their greeting. Now scan the body for the place your
postcard is from. Remember, the front of the postcard can help you figure out where the

postcard is from. Have several students say where they are from and talk a bit about
each place (cultural references). Now can you scan for the closing? Have one student
read their closing.
Decoding/Intense Reading (3 minutes):
15. Now that we know the parts of the postcard, they are easy to read. Read your postcard.
Remember to use the picture on the front to help you. While students are reading,
scramble the parts of the postcard on the board.
Checking Comprehension (3 minutes):
16. Turn to your partner and act out something that happened in your postcard.
17. My postcard on the board is messed up. We need to fix it. Who can put the stamp
where it is supposed to go? Have a student put the stamp in the correct spot. Continue
with the address, greeting, body, and closing.
Transferable Strategy (1minute):
18. Now that we know the parts of a postcard, they will be easy to read next time we see
one. When we read anything, it helps us to know the different parts. We also practiced
using the picture to help us figure out what we read. We do this any time we read
something that has a picture.
Post-reading (1 minute):
19. For homework tonight, you are going to write a postcard to me. Pretend you are
traveling to somewhere in the United States. Draw a picture of the place on the front, and
write about it on the back. I already added my address and a stamp for you, but dont
forget to write a greeting, body, and closing.
Evaluation:
Informally assess each students level of understanding and competence during group practice
and individual work. Adjust instruction accordingly.
Differentiation and Adaptations:
This lesson is designed for novice language users who have little prior knowledge of the
language. If some students have prior knowledge of the language, they can serve as facilitators
for those who do not.
Reflection:
What I liked about this lesson:
The model postcards I made were realistic enough to give students experience but had
controlled language.
The students seemed engaged with the authentic materials.
The students had lots of time to respond in different ways to show me that they
understood.
I did a good job incorporating culture through my discussion of the different places on
the postcards (although I wish I had had more time for it)
I wrote my lesson plan very carefully to ensure that I did not use any past tense, which
my students would presumably not yet know. I sometimes went off script and did
catch myself using more complicated structures a few times, but overall my language was
comprehensible for novice speakers.

I think I chose an activity that integrated reading strategies, linguistic functions, and
culture well.
I chose activities that allowed me to check comprehension without the students having to
speak (acting out the activities and formatting the postcard).
What I would change about this lesson:
The authentic postcards I used were somewhat confusing (very strange greetings/closings
or none at all). With more time, I would have collected more (so each student could get
one instead and the pair would have two to discuss) and chosen ones that conveyed the
appropriate format better.
My sample postcard was too small for the class to read from their seats. I should have
made copies for each student or made it much bigger.
With more time, I would have made sure students had the opportunity to discuss their
postcards with a partner.
I should have collected the postcards before assessing comprehension of the formatting
(moving the pieces around on the board) for a more authentic assessment; the students
could have looked at their postcards to get the answer.
I needed to spend more time in the pre-reading stage explaining to students how knowing
the format of the postcard and using the picture would help them to read it.
I should have activated prior knowledge by asking students if they had ever sent or
received a postcard before (to whom, from where, what did it say?)

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Stamp
Address
Greeting
Body
Closing

Dear Class,
I am in Virginia Beach! It is
about one hour from
Williamsburg in a car. At the
beach, I am swimming a lot. I
also love to build sandcastles. I
miss you!
Sincerely,
Ms. Hutcheson

Ms. Hutchesons Class


241 Jamestown Road
Williamsburg, VA 23185