CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers: Extending a Royal Welcome

Social Studies, English Language Arts
1 to 2 lessons
To write a formal letter, to understand the protocol of gift exchanges with foreign dignitaries
Students write a formal letter identifying an appropriate gift to the Queen on the occasion of a royal visit.

Lesson Plan

Before Exploring

Engage in a class discussion about visitors to our homes, towns, cities, or provinces and how we acknowledge or welcome them. Ask students if they have ever had a visitor in their home to whom they may have given a gift. Explain that when dignitaries visit a town/city they often receive the "keys to the town/city," and that an exchange of gifts is a common practice to commemorate the value of a relationship.

Outline the Opportunity

Have students explore the clips titled "The princess bride", "Princess Elizabeth visits Nanaimo", and "Caribou slippers for Charlie" from the topic Canada's New Queen on the CBC Digital Archives website. Students should review the clips to understand the value placed upon the Queen's visits and how she was made welcome.

In small groups, have students consider what they would deem an appropriate gift for the Queen if she were to visit their town/city/province/territory today. Individually, students will write a formal letter to their municipal, provincial, or federal government to suggest what the gift should be and why it is the ideal gift to present to Queen Elizabeth II. Students can engage in peer editing and revising to help ensure the following:

Correct format for formal business letters,

Varied sentence structure,

Good organization with specific details to support their choice, and

Appropriate use of writing conventions.

Revisit and Reflect

Students will read one another's letters and discuss which gifts they felt were most fitting and why. Have students submit their letters for posting on the school website or bulletin board.


Students can enact the formal event at which the Queen is presented with the gift. Have students research the protocol of such an event. Part of the event would include the students providing a description of the gift and why it was chosen to signify the value of the royal visit.

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