Monday, 28 July 2014

THE ART OF PERSUASION

Over the years I have noticed, that often students struggle with writing, be it a narrative, persuasive or creative genre. Other than the writer’s block that has struck every one of us now and then, most students find it difficult to express their thoughts and ideas in writing.
To best target this problem of written expression, I decided to scaffold their writing along each of the different components that form the structure of a given genre. Owing to its straightforward structure, I decided to experiment on the persuasive genre and proceeded to devise some engaging interactive notebook templates that would play a key role in the different processes involved and so I devised my next product on Persuasive Writing.


I have gathered that a key variable in writing effectively is not only to be genuinely interested in the topic but to also possess ample content knowledge. Having a ten year-old son, who takes every unsupervised opportunity to play video games, I decided that perhaps this would be a great topic to arrest my fifth graders’ attention and so began work around the first of a series of topics, titled, Video games do more harm than good.

This was well received as students enthusiastically collected information researched in a graphic organizer and armed with enough content knowledge, survey results and statistics on the topic proceeded to write the introduction under the flap of a video CD template. Students were able to include all the parts of the introduction: the hook, background information on issue, personal opinion and thesis having had a previous lesson just on writing an effective introduction.

What made the interactive template of the body of the essay so special was that information on the the arguments could be brainstormed in bullet points on the three flaps on the outside of the activity sheet glued at the left tab on card stock or in student’s notebook. The entire body of the essay incorporating the brainstormed arguments and supporting details were then written under the three flaps separated by three paragraphs as a complete whole in students’ notebooks. The same was done with the conclusion interactive template.
Later students re-visited their writing and edited with a red/green pen. This formed their first draft. Students then re-wrote their edited version onto another fancy sheet of paper, where they edited again and peer edited. This was their second draft. Finally, students published/typed their writing and in the process engaged in some more editing. The end result was a writing piece that could generate nothing but a feeling of great accomplishment, given that it had undergone a rigorous process to bring it to near perfection.

Here's a snapshot of the editable sample writing posters, interactive templates and signal words posters showcasing the stages of a persuasive piece of writing. The product comes complete with a student checklist and peer evaluation as well as a teacher assessment rubric.




PERSUASIVE WRITING INTERACTIVE NOTEBOOK

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