Teaching and Learning Strategies for the Thinking Classroom

By Alan Crawford; Wendy Saul et al. | Go to book overview

SIXTH CORE LESSON: WRITING TO
PERSUADE
This lesson shows you ways to help students learn by reading and writing persuasive text. After introducing the topic of persuasive writing, the lesson begins by having students examine two pieces of persuasive writing in order to become familiar them with this type of communication. Then they discuss the strategies and forms of persuasive writing. Finally, they produce a piece of persuasive writing themselves, and evaluate it according to a set of detailed criteria. In the course of the lesson we use several strategies: brainstorming, coding, building a specification sheet, using a T-Chart for note taking, and utilizing the rubric as an aid in peer evaluation.
HOW TO READ THIS LESSON
As you read the following demonstration lesson, please bear in mind that its purpose is to demonstrate teaching methods. Think about this lesson in two ways.
1. Imagine that you are a student who is participating in this lesson. What is your experience? What kind of thinking are you doing? What are you learning?
2. Then think yourself into the role of the teacher who is leading the lesson. What are you doing? Why are you doing it? How are you handling the three phases of the lesson— anticipation, building knowledge, and consolidation?

LESSON

The teacher introduces the topic of writing to persuade this way:

Teacher:Today's activity involves a skill that will be of use to you throughout your life. Often we see situations that we do not like and the question arises: What can we do to change this situation? It is not enoughsimply to complain to one another. A more effective approach might be to talk to the person in charge, someonewho has a bit of power and is able to change the situation. If we talk convincingly, perhaps we will have someeffect. But one of the most powerful tools we have is our ability to write. A persuasive letter not only enables usto refine and think through our arguments, but it also remains as proof that we have, in fact, complained. Ifyou wish to carry your complaint further, you have this letter as evidence.

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