This week we worked on persuasive writing.
Prior to getting my students to write I like to give them time to talk about their ideas, out loud, with a partner. This helps them generate ideas and synthesize their thinking. Sometimes we skip the oral discussion part and I just get kids to write freely ...depending on the writing task, that works too! However, for our first crack at persuasive writing I knew that the oral component would result in stronger, well thought out arguments when it came down to the writing part.
I stumbled upon this "Would You Rather..." activity on my FB feed the other day and knew it would be the perfect 'hook' for my persuasive writing lesson. You can grab it for FREE!
It's such a fun intro to persuasive writing because, let's face it: who doesn't love talking to their best bud during class about ridiculously funny scenarios.
For each question, I got students (in pairs) to highlight their choice, then they had to come up with at least 3 reasons to defend their opinion. They did this orally first.
If their buddy made the same choice, they could come up with reasons to defend the choice together. If the opinions differed, they were encouraged to challenge the validity of their partner's arguments. This inspired students to think critically about their reasons and also helped to eliminate 'weak' reasons such as, "...because I like it".
After going through all the scenarios, students selected ONE to write about.
I think throwing in a bit of 1. choice 2. humor and 3. time to think ideas through with a buddy, really helped my students when it came down to the writing part! Plus, the fact that my kiddos were engaged and laughing while learning made this lesson a home run in my books. But, they weren't the only ones having fun.. eavesdropping was hil-ar-ious! Eight year olds say some pretty funny things!