Chapter six of our English textbook covers the concept of writing an essay to persuade.
We grade one writing project per quarter, but this essay is one of the writing projects that we choose not to grade, making it a bit more relaxed for the students.
First, we write a class essay together. This is always great fun! The children typically want to persuade the administration to make some type of change. And in the past, another third-grade class had two of their persuasive essay ideas implemented. The first was adding Chinese food to the lunch menu; the second was having schoolwide Monday morning announcements. So the students have hope of persuading the administration.
But last year, the idea we suggested was allowing students to pick their own teachers. And while this generated a lot of enthusiasm among students, the administration was not persuaded.
This year, after brainstorming through the normal ideas of no homework, extra recesses, teachers not being allowed to give failing grades, and so forth, we came up with the idea of having a class photo day with our school mascot, possibly on school spirit day. (We’re still waiting to hear back if our idea will be part of spirit day this year.)
After we went through the five stages of writing as a class (planning, drafting, revising, proofreading, and publishing), it was time for the children to plan their own essays. Their topic: What do you think is the best winter activity?
They had to come up with two reasons to support their opinions and some facts to support their reasoning. And they needed to end their essays with a good persuasive sentence. This is a really great writing project for this time of year.
The opinion that persuaded us the most?
What do you do to help your students with their persuasive writing?