Persuasive writing in the classroom

What is persuasive writing?

A piece of text in which the writer’s purpose is to convince the reader to agree with their opinion. The writer takes a position for or against an issue and pulls in thoughtful reasoning and textually based evidence to convince the reader to believe or do something.

Why should I teach persuasive writing?

  • To expose students to different forms of writing especially one that allows students to think thoroughly about their beliefs on a topic.
  • When studying and analyzing speeches. Students can take what they learned from exemplars and use those best practices to strengthen their persuasion skills.
  • To teach students to differentiate between fact and opinion when writing and reading.
  • To help students translate their oral argumentative skills into written word.

Using Newsela with Persuasive Writing

 

Activity 1

Title:

The importance of education as told by a student

Article:

Opinion: Tanzania's bold education investments brighten its future

 Activity:

Essential Question: What role does education play in the success of a country?

Entry Documents: Students will read the following two articles for background knowledge.

This article about the Tanzania Education System

World Education

Mini-Lesson: Teacher will use the entry documents to present different perspectives about the importance of education. Teacher will provide students with a resource (notecard or handout) where they can keep track of the language and facts used to convince the reader.

Writing Workshop: Students read both entry documents, highlighting information they find that either supports or refutes the importance of education. Students craft a persuasive letter stating their opinion and using information from both texts to support their view.

Publish: Students submit their writing in the form of a Write Response in Newsela

Feedback: Grade and provide feedback to student’s written response in the Binder

 

 

Activity 2

Title:

How can legislators support climate or health care initiatives in our state?

Article:

Historic pact to slow climate change is celebrated in Paris

 Activity:

Texts for this activity:

Mini-Lesson: Teacher will share how other students have been inspired to take action after reading on Newsela. This story is inspiring for many reasons. How can we interact with politicians to make changes like these? What issues did we read about in the Text Set that affect our community?

Sample Ideas:

  • Healthy lunch
  • Cost of medicines
  • Water usage

Writing Workshop: Students will write persuasive letters using evidence from the text to ask a member of congress or senate from their state to make a change in their local community.

Extension: Students will research local politicians and mail the letters share their voice in order to provoke change in their communities.

   

Activity 3

Title:

How can legislators support climate or health care initiatives in our state?

Article:

Mrs. Obama battles for healthy school lunches; Congress agrees on bill

 Activity:

Resources for this activity:

Mini-Lesson: Teacher will share how other students have been inspired to take action after reading on Newsela. This story is inspiring for many reasons. How can we interact with politicians to make changes like these? What issues did we read about in the Text Set that affect our community?

Sample Ideas:

  • Healthy lunch
  • Cost of medicines
  • Water usage

Writing Workshop: Students will write persuasive letters using evidence from the text to ask a member of congress or senate from their state to make a change in their local community.

Extension: Students will research local politicians and mail the letters share their voice in order to provoke change in their communities.

   

Activity 4

Title:

Letter to the editor

Article:

NBA encourages kids to play multiple sports

 Activity:

Students will read this article and form an opinion on the topic by writing a persuasive letter-to-the-editor.

Students will read the article once through for meaning. They will think about their initial reaction to the article and if they agree with the author or not Students will then engage in a second read, this time highlighting text that supports their opinion.

In the persuasive letter, this information should be included:

  • greeting to the author
  • clearly stated opinion
  • two pieces of evidence from the text that support their opinion
  • closing
   

Activity 5

Title:

Using biographies to inform our writing

Article:  

Monumental effort by Girl Scouts

 Activity:

Have students read this article and highlight text that shows the importance of adding a statue of a woman to Central Park. Have students pair up with a partner and compare their lists.

Using the biography section of the Newsela Library students will identify a woman they think should be celebrated. They will then take the information learned and create a persuasive letter to promote the building of a statue for this important figure.

They should consider the following information when creating their letter:

  • How has this women contributed to society?
  • Why does she deserve to be celebrated?
  • How are we impacted today by her contributions?

In groups of 4, have students read their persuasive letters. Ask the audience to rank how effective the author was in persuading them. Have the group vote on which statues should be created.

Extension: Have students create a sketch of their proposed statue.

   

Activity 6

Title:

What other careers would benefit from a union?

Article:

NBA stars entering labor talks seeking better benefits for retired players

 Activity:

Pose this question to your students: What is a union? Brainstorm initial thoughts. Have students read through this article, making note of examples that show the purpose of a union. Students should highlight these examples.

As a class, create a list that defines the purpose of a union and its responsibilities.

Then, have students browse the Dream Job articles. They should identify a career and come to a decision about the importance of a union for that specific career. Students should create a persuasive letter from the position of someone in that career as to why or why not a union would be beneficial. They can refer to the Lebron James article as a mentor text.

In their persuasive letters, students should remember to include:

  • Their main purpose for writing the letter
  • Reasons to support their purpose
  • Conclusion
   

Activity 7

Title:

Writing for a cause: Ranchers vs. Environmentalists

Article:  

To hunt or to protect? Western states struggles with wolf management

 Activity:

Essential Question: Should states where wolves are coming off the endangered species list still protect them?

Mini-Lesson: Create an anchor chart that shares key characteristics of writing from a specific point of view.

Possible characteristics include: - Who is the person? - How might they feel about the issue? - What is their role in the issue?

Brainstorm with students possible perspectives for this article. Examples include: - Environmentalist - Rancher

Class predicts what these key perspectives might think/feel after reading the headline.

Student Work: Edit the Write Prompt to state the essential question above. Either allow students to choose the perspective that best fits their viewpoint before reading the article or assign students a perspective.

While reading, students should highlight and annotate facts and descriptions that will help the student compose their writing from the selected point of view.

Publish:Students submit their writing in Newsela

Feedback: Teacher provides feedback to students in Binder

Extension: Pair students together who wrote from different perspectives. Have them read each other’s work independently. The students should then share their feedback for their partner’s work. This could sound like: While I wrote from the rancher’s perspective, I thought your environmentalist argument that if we don’t protect wolves, they might end up on the endangered list again was really persuasive.

   

Activity 8

Title:

Speech Analysis

Article:

Famous Speeches: Barack Obama's election night victory speech

 Activity:

Select a second speech by a public figure from the Newsela Library.

Examples:

Students will compare the speeches using the questions below. They can use a Venn diagram or t-chart to organize their thinking.

These guiding questions can help with their comparison:

  • What are the similarities between the speeches?
  • What are the differences between the speeches?
  • How do the orators convey their messages?
  • What techniques do they use to engage the audience?
  • What language is repeated?

Students should then take the information and write an analysis essay of the two compositions.

Students exchange screens to learn from peers before whole-group discussion.

   

Share:

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