ALEX Learning Activity


Don't Break My Heart: Declaration of Independence Break-Up Letter

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  This learning activity provided by:  
Author: Ashley Lucier
System:Autauga County
School:Marbury Middle School
  General Activity Information  
Activity ID: 2402
Don't Break My Heart: Declaration of Independence Break-Up Letter
Digital Tool/Resource:
Break Up Letter Instructions
Web Address – URL:

In this activity, students will write a break-up letter to an object, activity, or person. The letter will follow the formatting of the Declaration of Independence and include rhetorical appeals. 

This activity was created as a result of the ALEX Resource Development Summit.

  Associated Standards and Objectives  
Content Standard(s):
English Language Arts
ELA2015 (2015)
Grade: 10
19 ) Analyze seventeenth-, eighteenth-, and nineteenth-century foundational United States documents of historical and literary significance (including The Declaration of Independence, the Preamble to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address) for their themes, purposes, and rhetorical features. [RI.11-12.9]

English Language Arts
ELA2015 (2015)
Grade: 10
24 ) Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 21-23 above.) [W.9-10.4]

Learning Objectives:

Students will imitate the rhetorical features of the Declaration of Independence by producing writing that is appropriate for the task of persuasion. 

  Strategies, Preparations and Variations  

1. Instructor will explain Break Up Letter Instructions

2. Instructor will check for questions/clarification if needed. 

3. Students will complete a break-up letter following directions given. 

4. Students will highlight rhetorical appeals in their written letters. 

Assessment Strategies:

Instructor will collect letters and grade looking for the following criteria:

1. Did the student follow the format of the Declaration of Independence? 

2. Did the student include the appropriate number of rhetorical skills and identify them in their letter?

3. Did the student use appropriate tone and grammar for the intended audience?

Advanced Preparation:

1. Make copies of Break Up Letter Instructions. *There are two copies of the instructions per page to save paper. 

2. Have paper available for students to write letters. (Stationary paper gives a nice touch to their work, but is not required.)

Variation Tips (optional):

1. Students who struggle with writing can be given a template and a review of how to format a letter. 

2. If instruction of rhetorical appeals has not been given recently, a review of the appeals with examples can be helpful. 

3. Students can extend the assignment by adding visual images to their letter or making it more decorative. 

4. Advanced students can be required to include more than two examples of rhetorical appeals.

Notes or Recommendations (optional):

This activity is appropriate for checking the understanding of a student's use of rhetorical appeals. Since 10th grade ELA includes the study of seminal documents, the activity is useful for teaching in conjunction with an analysis of the Declaration of Independence. 

  Keywords and Search Tags  
Keywords and Search Tags: American literature, creative writing, Declaration of Independence, letter