Persuasive Essay Lesson

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Although I know many of the people who visit here are not strictly English language arts teachers, my hope is that these posts will provide tons of value to those who are, and to those who teach subjects, including writing.

So let’s begin with argumentative writing, or persuasive writing, as many of us used to call it.

Here they are still doing verbal argument, but the experience should make them more likely to appreciate the value of evidence when trying to persuade.

Before leaving this step, I would have students transfer their thoughts from the discussion they just had into something that looks like the opening paragraph of a written argument: A statement of their point of view, plus three reasons to support that point of view. Next I would show students their major assignment, the performance assessment that they will work on for the next few weeks. It’s generally a written prompt that describes the task, plus the rubric I will use to score their final product.

An activity like This or That (one of the classroom icebreakers I talked about last year) would be perfect here: I read a statement like “Women have the same opportunities in life as men.” Students who agree with the statement move to one side of the room, and those who disagree move to the other side.

Then they take turns explaining why they are standing in that position.Most of the material on this site is directed at all teachers.I look for and put together resources that would appeal to any teacher who teaches any subject.This overview will be most helpful to those who are new to teaching writing, or teachers who have not gotten good results with the approach you have taken up to now.I don’t claim to have the definitive answer on how to do this, but the method I share here worked pretty well for me, and it might do the same for you.Before I start, I should note that what I describe in this post is a fairly formulaic style of essay writing.It’s not exactly the 5-paragraph essay, but it definitely builds on that model.If you are an experienced English language arts teacher, you probably already have a system for teaching this skill that you like.Then again, I’m always interested in how other people do the things I can already do; maybe you’re curious like that, too.Although many students might need more practice in writing an effective argument, many of them are excellent at arguing in person.To help them make this connection, I would have them do some informal debate on easy, high-interest topics.


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