Persuasive Writing Ideas

I posted some persuasive writing pieces that the kids in my class typed up yesterday, and got loads of messages asking about lesson ideas and resources, so I said I’d put together this blog post to hopefully help somebody out.

The PDST has a really-useful document on genre writing, which gives a great seven-step approach to teaching any genre, which I recommend using. I’m going to squash those into four steps for this post.

  1. Familiarisation & Framework: Children exposed to writing in the given genre, and analyse a piece to discover features and structure.
  2. I Do: Teacher writes a piece and thinks-aloud.
  3. We Do: Teacher uses students’ ideas, opinions and edits to write another piece.
  4. You Do: Students plan, write, edit and present their own pieces.

Familiarisation & Framework

Give students a piece of persuasive writing, and analyse it. The main features you should be able to pull out are:

  • Clear Title (‘We Should Not Have to Wear a Uniform’, ‘Donald Trump is a Terrible President’ etc.)
  • Connectives (first, also, moreover, etc.)
  • Persuasive Language (it should be obvious that, clearly, there can be no denying, etc.)
  • Rhetorical Questions (‘Who wants to live in a world like that?’ ‘How many more times must this happen?’ etc.

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‘I Do’

Teacher Think-Aloud: Once we had pulled a list of features out from these pieces, I opened up a new document in Word on the board, and typed up a piece on homework in front of them, talking them through it as I went (you may need to have this prepared beforehand – I’m lucky enough to be a very fast typist!).

I then went back and edited the piece, talking aloud again about using more emotional language, stretching the sentences out, using rhetorical questions etc.)

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‘We Do’ 

Cut and Code: Take a piece of persuasive writing, and jumble up the sentences. Students work in groups to  cut sentences out, rearrange them, and then code the features previously mentioned using a key (highlight connectives in red, rhetorical questions in yellow, etc.)

Walking Debates: Call out a statement (e.g. everyone should own a dog), and have the kids choose a corner of the room (agree, disagree, not sure etc.). I find this can be quite noisy and unproductive, so you might want to try picking one table at a time, and probing them to explain their reasons why.

Correct the Homework: Children act as a teacher to ‘correct’ a piece of persuasive writing, making suggestions and edits for an imaginary student.

Shared Writing: Give the kids a new topic (e.g. Why Every Child ‘Should Have an iPad in School’), and have them brainstorm arguments to make. Work together to compose the piece, with the kids giving the ideas and arguments, but you writing and editing as you go along.

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‘You Do’

  1. Brainstorm: The main thing here is to have a lot of sample ideas that the kids can use to come up with their own pieces.
  2. First Drafts: Kids come up with an idea, assemble their ideas, and then start writing their first draft.
  3. Edit & Redraft: I corrected these first drafts, made suggestions, and gave them back to the kids. I quickly looked over their second drafts, and then, finally, the kids typed up their finished pieces and displayed them in the classroom. It took a long time to get them to this final step, but I was really proud of the pieces they came up with in the end!

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Integration/Other Ideas

Oral Language: This is the perfect opportunity to bring in some oral debates. Keep the groups small, don’t let them pick ridiculous topics, and give them Post-it notes instead of refill pads so they can’t write the whole thing out!

Drama – TV Commercials: To mix up the monotony of all that writing, you could do a drama activity where groups have to make a one-minute advertisment to persuade you to buy a new product. This could be integrated into SPHE/Drama very easily on placement (there’s a whole strand unit for ‘Media Education’. Here are some good examples to show!

  • Coca-Cola – ‘Brotherly Love’

‘Persuasive Prize!’ Buy a bar of chocolate or other prize, and encourage students to write you a piece persuading you to give it to them. The most creative/best written piece wins the prize!

 

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I hope this gives you plenty of ideas on how to approach persuasive writing in your own class. I will post up the sample pieces I used and more resources on Mash/TPT in the next week – I’m working hard on them!

As always, if you have any questions or comments, please get in touch on Instagram @irishguyteaching or at irishguyteaching@gmail.com.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

Teaching Money – Some Ideas

When I was making out long-term plans at the start of the year, I gave myself two weeks to cover money, thinking there would be loads to learn and lots of fun activities to try. A little closer to the time (i.e. the Sunday night before!), I realised there was only one thing in the curriculum for fifth class was ‘compare ‘value for money’ using unitary method’, that all the resources online were either in pounds or dollars, and that the chapter in the book was shockingly boring.

Somehow or another, I made it through to the end of the two weeks, but as is the general theme of this whole site, I’m writing this post to help out someone else who might be stuck in the same boat. These are some of the activities I came up!

Boom Cards

A little more interactive than just giving the kids problems to complete in their copies. I used these to introduce ‘unitary method’ (e.g. if 3 bananas are €2.10, how much does one cost?) and got the kids to complete them in pairs with mini-whiteboards. Here’s the link to the cards – they’re free but you need to create an account!

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‘Grab the Change’

I used some fake notes and coins that I got in Mr. Price for this one, but you could just bring in a big jar of change. Put the kids in groups of four or five, and call out maths problems orally, e.g. ‘I had €10 and spent half of it, then spent another €2.80. What was my change?’ Kids have five seconds to grab the right change and show it you, or someone in the group who acts as score-keeper. Limit the amount of coins you give each group to make this a lesson to remember! You can make the questions harder by adding in discounts and multipack items.

Target Boards

I love using these to revise a mixture of decimal addition and subtraction, orders of operation, word problems etc. There are two levels which let you easily differentiate for kids (make them successfully complete Level 1 before moving on to Level 2!) and you can even get them to make up their own boards if they finish early. You can grab these over on my Mash store at this link.

Come Dine With Me

You’ll need a whole load of weekly Lidl/Centra brochures for this one. Put the kids in groups of two or three and have them come up with a three-course menu for four people, with a budget of €25 (for example). It was really interesting to see how different groups went about this – just make sure you ban the calculators so they have to do the work! I got groups to rate one another’s menus in a ‘Come Dine With Me’ activity afterwards.

Using Receipts

You’ll need to gather some receipts for this one (Twinkl have some decent fake ones too!). Photocopy the receipts and ask the kids to add up much was spent on vegetables, meat, a particular product etc. You could ‘black out’ some of the prices and give them clues on how to fill them in, calculate the total amount spent in a week, or even use the receipts to fill in a simple ‘Income & Expenditure’ account. I’m working on making a resource for this idea, so stay tuned!

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Bácáil as Gaeilge!

This was a fun activity that I did with my fifth class for Seachtain na Gaeilge last week. They absolutely loved it, and I was delighted with how much of the Irish they had retained the following day.

I took a recipe for Blueberry muffins from the BBC website online, and translated it into Irish. I then taught the kids the vocabulary (caster sugar, melted butter, oven, mixture etc.), and had them fill out a cloze exercise of the directions the day before.

On the day, I split them into two groups (buachaillí in aghaidh cáilíní!), and set out all the materials before letting them at it. I stayed with the groups and got as much Irish out of themn as possible, but tried to let them do all the actual weighing and mixing themselves.

Although this lesson was a lot of fun and definitely a class favourite, it did take a lot of preparation. As well as the ingredients listed in the recipe, you’ll also need at least one weighing scales, mixing bowls, a sieve, muffin cases and tins, and access to an oven.

If you want to give this a try for Seachtain na Gaeilge, or maybe just to incorporate some fun into your Irish lessons, you can get the recipe template (English & Irish version) here. If you do try it, please let me know how you get on!

P.S. I gave this post a try as Gaeilge below – feel free to (kindly) correct aon bhotún! 🙂

Ceacht taitneamach ab ea an cheann seo, a rinne mé le mo rang an tseachtain seo caite. Bhain siad fíor-taitneamh as, agus bhí ionadh orm an méad Ghaeilge a d’fhoghlaim siad!

Fuair mé an oideas ar líne, agus d’aistrigh mé go Ghaeilge é. Mhúin mé na foclóir Ghaeilge do na páistí (siúcra mín, im leáite, oigheann, meascán srl.), agus ansin bhí orthu ‘cloze exercise’ a líonadh amach.

Ar an lá, chuir mé na buachaillí in aghaidh na cáilíní (dár ndóigh!), agus chuir mé amach tuille rudaí a bhí ag teastáil uathu. D’fhán mé leis na grúpaí, ag spreagadh Gaeilge labhartha, ach rinne mé mo dhícheall an chuid is mó den oibre a fhágáil chucu.

Cé go raibh an spraoi againn, bhí go leor obair le déanamh roimh ré, le comhábháir agus trealamh éagsúla a cheannach agus a bhailiú.

Má tá fonn ort an ceacht seo a triail, is féidir an templéid a d’úsáid mé a fháil ag an nasc seo. Inis dom cén chaoi a n-eiríonn leat!

 

Clay Monsters

The first time I taught this lesson was one of the most nightmare-ish lessons I’ve ever had.

I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, and on the advice of another teacher, added ‘a little bit of water’ to the clay to keep it from drying out. I also gave out the clay to the kids with nothing to go between it and the desk…

Long story short, the lesson ended with the kids exiting through the emergency door, while I cleared all the tables and got three kids to attack them with a bucket of hot water and some old towels. We did (eventually) get the clay out of the tables, but I don’t think the cleaners ever forgave me for the mess we left on (in?) the carpet

I swore that day that I would learn from my mistakes, and since then I’ve had much better results!

My top tip, before I start on the actual lesson, is to invest in jay-cloths – one per child. You can re-use them year after year, and they do a fantastic job of stopping the clay from getting stuck everywhere. I always pre-cut the slabs of clay and fold them up inside a jay cloth, which makes it easy to distribute at the start of the lesson. I’ve also heard of people using mini-whiteboards or clingfilm, but personally I find jay-cloths to be a lifesaver.

Introduction, Stimulus & Revision

Start by explaining to the kids that they will be working with clay to make monsters.

Show pictures of sample projects, and discuss how the child/artist might have made them.

Revise some basic clay-making techniques – slipping and scoring, pinch pots, and pulling forms out of the clay. The video below does a pretty good job of revising the basics (if this is your first time using clay with the kids, you may need to spend some time teaching these)

Independent Work

After you gone over all the techniques, shown them samples, and completed a demonstration, you just have to sit back and let them work it out for themselves. Leave sample pictures on the board for inspiration, and showcase students who are making a nice design or are slipping and scoring really well. Other than that, the main thing to watch out for is that the pieces the kids have stuck on have been slipped and scored properly, and aren’t too thin, or they’ll just fall off or break when dried.

Drying

If you are using air-drying clay (this is what most schools will have) then you need to let the clay dry, preferably overnight, before painting. If you’re using a kiln, you’ll need to fire the clay twice – once before painting, and once after.

Painting

Once your clay is dry, it’s time to paint! Acryclic paints work better with clay, but you can use ordinary poster paint – you’ll just have to ensure each piece of clay gets 3 or 4 layers.

Once your monsters have been painted, take pictures of the best ones and splash them all over the school website. Send them to all your teacher friends on WhatsApp to show what a fantastic teacher you are, and then treat yourself to a tub of ice-cream and a night of Netflix – you did it!