Te Kete Ipurangi Navigation:

Te Kete Ipurangi

Te Kete Ipurangi user options:

ESOL Online. Every child literate - a shared responsibility.
Ministry of Education.

Writing a thank you letter

Teacher: Helen Powell, ESOL teacher, Aorangi Primary School

Year: 3 to 5 Durations 1-2 weeks

Curriculum area


Topic/content: letter writing

Learning outcomes

  •  The children had visited a marae with their class and my aim was to help them meet one of the learning outcomes for the class topic: write a 'thank you letter'.

Language focus

  • Verb + ing
  • Letter format

 Teaching and learning sequence

I did this exercise with two nine-year-old Korean students, over five lessons.

  1. Verbs: Introduce ~ing form and three different ways to form it, that is, add ~ing, double letter + ~ing, or take off ~e + ~ing; strategies to choose which one to use.
  2. Revise ~ing form; pick verbs from list and say which way ~ing form would be made; worksheet to practise (sentences with plain form of verb and the students give the correct ~ing form).
  3. Quick review - group verbs (on cards) according to which way ~ing form would be made. Read ThankYouLetters (Word 25KB) ; note layout, language features; similarities and differences; highlight use of ~ing forms after "Thank you", "I liked", "I enjoyed", etc.

     Practise "Thank you for ~ing" - Teacher says, for example, "What would you say if someone reads you a story?"

  4. Memory match-up game to recognise verbs according to ~ing form.

    framework (Word 20KB) - boxes to show each section of letter and lines left between; done jointly on whiteboard, using the letter in point 3 as a guide. Discuss ideas for letter to marae. Begin joint letter .

  5. Complete JointLetter (Word 32KB) on whiteboard, emphasising required structure and language. Accept students' offerings, then edit and improve together.

    Brainstorm other ideas for what could be said in individual letters. Write own letters in draft form, with teacher feedback during and after writing; help students to edit letters. Final copy of letter - one student finished, and I have Letter Writing (RTF 23KB) .

I spent quite a lot of time on the ~ing form, its formation and uses. I felt this was worthwhile, as it is used in so many ways, as the present participle and as a gerund. The students now seem confident in choosing the correct form for each verb, and should be able to generalise; we used over thirty examples, and they were making few if any errors by the fourth session. So I feel that they have gained three main skills from this series of lessons, which they can now develop and build on: the formation of the ~ing form, its use with certain constructions (thank you, like, etc) and basic letter layout.

Assessment task

  •  Write a thank you letter.

Published on: 09 Jan 2018