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Friday, January 2, 2015

Writing, Part 2 (An Overview of Persuasive Writing)

With the right structure and a few great strategies, students can write powerful persuasive essays! Let's take a look at our progress on opinion and persuasive writing so far this year.

Focus on Persuasive Writing
  • Exploring Persuasive Techniques - How can I persuade someone else to do something? We first learned about ethos, logos, and pathos from our friend, Aristotle.
  • Writing an Opinion Paragraph - After a modeling lesson (shown below), students used the simple organizer (opinion-reason-reason-reason-conclusion) and some specific writing strategies to make their paragraphs shine. Our first two pieces tied in with our study of Greek mythology.

  • Writing a Persuasive Paragraph - Using similar strategies, we shifted to persuasive writing. You'll notice two major differences here: opinion writing occurs in first person, while persuasive uses second person, and persuasive writing ends with a call to action.
  • Writing a Five-Paragraph Persuasive Essay - At this point, my students were ready to expand their persuasive writing to five-paragraph essays. They began with an organizer like this then worked on writing good beginnings and endings, as well as using powerful word choices. Students' first five-paragraph essay persuaded someone to try an activity; their second persuaded Santa to hire them as elves (Elf for Hire activity by Teresa Kwant).
  • Researching and Persuasive Writing - As 2015 begins, we will move on to persuasive writing based on research. In this problem-based learning activity, each group will prepare a presentation to help someone (farmer on plain, builder on hill, etc.) limit erosion on their property. They'll research ways to limit erosion (a science standard) then write a collaborative five-paragraph essay/speech and design a poster for their presentation. I can't wait to see what they come up with!
  • Having Some Fun - What does every child wish for during the winter? A snow day! In one more fun persuasive piece, students will try to persuade the principal to give them a snow day. Note to my student teacher: This would be a great piece of writing instruction for you to try!

Persuasive writing is my favorite! Combining a straightforward structure with some tried-and-true narrative writing techniques yields dazzling student writing.