Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

English - Sir, Please Let Me Gunk You: Resources

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

English - Sir, Please Let Me Gunk You: Resources

Article excerpt

Use charity stunts to raise the stakes for persuasive writing.

How do you persuade your teaching assistants to spend the day dressed as a pantomime cow? Or your (male) teacher to don a tutu and a wig for a good cause?

When the last Red Nose Day coincided with the end of our literacy unit on persuasive writing, we realised that it presented the perfect opportunity for the children to put their newly acquired skills into practice. The Comic Relief cause provided a meaningful purpose, members of staff were a ready-made audience, and the children would be able to see the effectiveness of their writing through the entertaining consequences on Red Nose Day.

Their brief: to write a letter to a member of staff of their choice, persuading them to complete a challenge to raise awareness for Comic Relief. Identifying their chosen "victim" and deciding on the nature of the challenge sparked both hilarity and imagination. On a more serious note, the children soon recognised that if they were to persuade people to take part they needed their letter to present a convincing, well-reasoned argument.

Time was spent researching facts on the Comic Relief website, watching film clips portraying the impact the charity has on people's lives (available at and finding out how the money raised is used. The stories captured the children's imagination, provoking an empathetic response and providing opportunities for discussion.

Armed with their new knowledge, the children set to work composing their letters on specially designed Comic Relief notepaper. …

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