Problem/Solution Letter

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SWBAT write a problem/solution letter with clear claims and supporting solutions while logically organizing their reasons.

Big Idea

This is what I think should be done!

Day 1

60 minutes

Yesterday, students read two articles, "Fighting the Bully Battle" and "Bullying in Schools".  Today, they reviewed their notes and selected an issue about bullying to respond to with a solution.  Their notes included information about types of bullying and possible ways to solve the problem of bullying.

Before beginning the writing assignment, I had students refer to their notes where they have a sample business letter (see resources).  I asked students to identify parts of the letter that are different than a friendly letter (inside address, colon in the salutation, written in block format, noting the spacing).

Prompt:  Select a problem that deals with bullying.  Write a letter to someone in a position to help you foster the steps needed to implement your solution.

1.        Students analyze the prompt using RAFTS.

2.       Students pre-write their ideas using a flow map.  A diagram of a flow map including details is included in the Resources.

a.       Paragraph 1 - Describe the Problem: what is the problem, why is it a problem, reasons and causes of the problem, effects of the problem

b.      Paragraph 2 – Propose a  Solution:  describe the solution, details of one solution  that the reader can help you.  Think to yourself – does the solution address the  causes and effects of the problem, is it logical, is it possible to enforce?

c.       Paragraph 3 - Defend your Position:  why is this the best solution.  Think to  yourself – how would someone make a counter-argument to your solution?   Analyze the strengths of your solution.

d.      Parararph 4 (Conclusion) -Call to Action:  remind the reader of the problem and  the proposed solution, why your solution will work, how do you expect your reader  help.

3.       After preparing a detailed flow map, students wrote a Rough Draft.  If necessary, they  finished it for homework. 

Day 2

60 minutes

Students began today by taking out their rough draft of their problem/solution letter for revision. 

  1.  The first step in revision was to highlight "be" verbs.  They spent time trying to eliminate these ineffective verbs by replacing them with an action verb or combining and reorganizing sentences.  After working on this for 15 minutes, I let students discuss in groups, those sentences that they were having trouble eliminating “be” verbs.
  2. Next, students re-read their work and incorporated subordinate clauses.  At least one at the beginning of a sentence and other placement in the sentences.  If they could not remember subordinate conjunctions, students referred to their notebooks where they had a list of familiar subordinate conjunctions.
  3. Next I had students focus on use of transitions in their writing.  Again, I encouraged students to refer to their notes where they have a list of transitions and reasons for their uses.  Earlier in the year, they created a tree map with this information (Resource)
  4. I do write these steps on the board, for student reference.


After students completed these revision steps, I reminded them to edit for spelling, comma usage, and other punctuation marks.


The last step is writing a final copy.  Many students completed this, if they needed more time than class time, they finished the final copy for homework.