Students are used to being bombarded with persuasive messages in their everyday lives, and they are also masters of persuasion (especially when it comes to trying to convince their parents to buy them items like an iPod or a Kindle Fire). The unit I teach on persuasive writing and persuasive techniques seems to be one of the units in which my students are the most passionate. My students’ passion “for” or “against” the various topics we discuss makes teaching this unit a lot of fun!
The first part of the unit involves persuasive writing. Being able to write persuasively is an important skill for students to acquire. As with all large writing assignments, I begin by modeling the new form of writing with my students. I make sure to use the same graphic organizer that my students will later be using to write their own essays. We also look over example essays. I recommend using articles from Time for Kids (TFK). In the articles, they give information on the topic being discussed, as well as short student-created essays “for” and “against” the topic. I laminated the articles I found and used some files I created to make a bulletin board for our unit (see below). You can find my files here.
Some questions I like to pose during our persuasive writing unit include: Should our district adopt school uniforms? Do you think online schools are as effective as traditional schools? Should our community build a new recreation center or a new library?
Here is a picture of my students' persuasive essays. The essays glued on blue paper were "for" school uniforms, and the essays glued on red paper were "against" school uniforms.
What are some of the topics you like to discuss during your persuasive writing unit?