|Exploding the Hunger Myths - High School Curriculum (FF, 1987, 173 p.)|
|Lesson 8: Working together for change|
Students will write letters expressing their opinions about a hunger issue.
· To identify possible letter
· To outline ideas about hunger and its causes
· To write a short letter or card
· Envelopes and stamps
Letters can be turned in (not graded).
1. Discuss with students the idea that letters to public figures can have an impact. Sometimes only a few letters on a particular issue are sent to public officials, so every letter carries weight. Public opinion can have a major impact.
Mention that it is easy for an individual to put off writing a letter. By making letter writing a class project, you can open the door for students to continue letter writing on their own. Encourage students to continue this process.
2. Ask students as a group to list on the board important subjects for letter writing. Possible ideas: farm foreclosures, deceptive advertising, changes in food programs, the need for shelters for homeless people, the export of illegal pesticides to third world countries, and continued aid to countries with bad human rights records.
Positive letters can be written applauding good policy changes or a group's sustained efforts to end hunger. Some examples: Apple Computer pulling out of South Africa; cities declaring themselves sanctuaries for Central American refugees; organizations noted for their commitment to ending world hunger (see Resource Guide); political leaders who propose cuts in military spending and increased support for health care, education, etc.; and successful examples of community organizing to help the poor. Positive letters are rare and are very much appreciated.
3. For each topic listed, ask for suggestions of people and places to send the letters. Some addresses for government officials are listed on the Action Ideas handout (p. xv). Others can be located with help from a reference librarian at your local library. The telephone directory is a good resource for the local area. Package labels often give the addresses of companies making products.
4. Distribute letter-writing materials to students, and ask them to compose short letters about their topics to be sent to selected people. Suggest that each student include a brief description of the problem and how she or he would like the recipient to respond to the problem. Asking questions opens the door to dialogue with the recipient and increases the chance that the student will receive a personal reply.
5. When writing to public officials, make sure to use the correct salutation, closing, and address. Note that the president and vice president of the United States are addressed by title only.
You may need to review the structure of a business letter with the students. Language and composition books generally have good descriptions of the proper format for business letters. A brief format is presented.
6. Ask students to make rough drafts in class. The letters can be completed as homework. If students turn in their letters, help them correct punctuation and spelling, but do not grade.
7. Encourage students to keep a copy of each letter they write.
8. Have students bring final drafts of letters to class. Collect, stamp, and mail, or have students do this.
9. When students receive replies, discuss in class and/or post replies on bulletin board as a way to wrap up this project.
Address for letter and envelope