This exercise also helps students understand how other people attempt to persuade them—whether it is a friend, classmate, or through advertising and the media. With an understanding of persuasive tactics and practice in presenting their arguments, kids will improve their critical thinking skills and become better at expressing what they want. As kids answer each prompt and attempt each practice argument, encourage them to back up their appeal with at least three logical reasons.
Many Scholastic news articles are perfect to use because they are short, and for the most part have a structure that is similar to how I want my students to write. The articles often include: Mint should stop making pennies. Once students read the article about pennies, they were ready to form an opinion.
After discussing the pros and cons with partners, the class took sides. With students divided into two groups, they took part in a spirited Visible Thinking debate called Tug of War. After hearing many of their classmates voice their reasoning for keeping or retiring the penny, the students were ready to get started putting their thoughts on paper.
Using the name of a popular cookie is a mnemonic device that helps my students remember the structural order their paragraphs need to take: Opinion, Reason, Example, Opinion. Because this was our first foray into example writing, we worked through the organizer together.
My students did pretty well with the initial organizer and we used it again to plan out opinion pieces on whether sledding should be banned in city parks.
Once students had planned out two different opinions, they selected one to turn into a full paragraph in their writer's notebooks. The organizers made putting their thoughts into a clear paragraph with supporting reasons and examples very easy for most students.
With each practice we did, my students got stronger and I introduced different organizers to help them and to keep interest high. Giving each student one sandwich cookie to munch on while they worked on these organizers helped keep them excited about the whole process.
After we worked our way through several of the Scholastic News opinion pieces, my third graders also thought of issues pertinent to their own lives and school experiences they wanted to write about, including: Should birthday treats and bagel sales be banned at school?
Should all peanut products be banned? Should we be allowed to download our own apps on the iPads the school gave us?
As we continued to practice, different organizers were introduced. Those are shown below. Simply click on each image to download and print your own copy.
The organizer below is my favorite to use once the students are more familiar with the structure of opinion paragraphs. It establishes the structure, but also helps students remember to use opinion-based sentence starters along with transition words.
Below is a simple organizer some of my students can also choose to use. Other Resources I Have Used Scholastic offers many different resources for helping your students become better with their opinion writing, or for younger writers, understanding the difference between fact and opinion.
A great one to have in your classroom is: Click on the images below to download and print. There are many more sheets like these in Scholastic Teachables. A couple weeks into our persuasive writing unit and I have already seen a lot of progress from our very first efforts. We may not have mastered this writing yet, but we are definitely on our way and that mountain doesn't seem quite so high anymore.
I hope you find a few of these tips and my graphic organizers helpful! I'd love to hear your tips for elementary writing in the comment section below.
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Other teachers in my building use the resources for their grade level as well. They make them for grades Find and save ideas about Persuasive writing on Pinterest. | See more ideas about Persuasive essays, Examples of persuasive writing and Persuasive text.
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