This day marks the end of a unit of study focused on argument reading and writing. ELA class is not the only place that students produce this type of writing. They have also written arguments or persuasive essays in social studies, science and math classes. To determine student progress in this particular type of writing during sixth grade, they are given an extended period of time to move through the entire writing process. They will have two 90-minute blocks to research a topic, determine the pros and cons, draft, revise, edit and submit a final copy of a multi-paragraph essay.
Hopefully, each student will be engaged by one of the two topics that were chosen for this assessment. Background knowledge may help each person decide to write about a topic related to sports or one about pets. I read aloud each prompt and allow the students a few minutes to consider them and make a choice. It is interesting to note that the class is divided half and half between each!
The two articles that accompany the sports prompt are here and here. And the two articles that accompany the pets prompt are here and here.
There are three parts to a Persuasive Essay:
Part One-Introduction Paragraphs
Part Two-Body Paragraphs
Part Three-Conclusion Paragraphs
There are three parts to a Introduction Paragraph:
TS- Explain what you think is true or right.
CD- Give three really strong examples that PROVE why you are true or right.
CS-Say your TS again in stronger more emotional words
1st Example of Introduction Paragraph:
(indent———>I strongly agree that all students should get iPod Touches. Three reasons this should happen are that every child would be smarter, happier, and safer. If you care about these things, and I know that I do, then you will purchase new iPod touches for all the children of East Newark
Comments: this is a good for beginners. It would get a 100 on my checklist for Intro Pargraphs but is still fast and easy to write.
2nd Example of Introduction Paragraph:
(indent———>Please picture in your mind a world where children all had iPod Touches. Can you imagine what a wonderful world it would be if all children were smarter, happier, and safer? I can, so I strongly agree that all children in East Newark Students should be supplied with iPod Touches.
Comments: this is a good type because it is structured, easy to write, and has advanced grammar.
Structure: There is a sandwich of TS,CD,CS that is brief but very specific. The focus of the paragraph goes from general to specific.
Easy to write: the fact that we have used these same transitions in our 4 Steps (Please picture in your mind… Can you imagine…?) makes writing these sentences easy, even if you are stressed because of testing time constraints. Feel free to use advanced Phase II transitions too (Imagine, if you will, …)
Advanced Grammar: These sentences look simple but really they utilize imperative, interrogative, and compound sentence types. If you use the advanced Phase II transition then you also use complex sentences.
3rd Example of Introduction Paragraph:
(indent———>Jose is a 13 year-old boy living in East Newark, NJ. Jose has a problem. Jose is NOT as smart, happy, or safe as he could be if he had an iPod Touch. You want Jose to be smarter, right? You want him to be happier right? What about SAFER?! Of course you do. And so do I. That’s why we must work together finding funding to pay for new iPod Touches for each boy and girl like Jose in East Newark.
Comments: This style represents when a writer is trying experiements. It is ONLY for 8th grade writers experimenting with structure, grammar, and style
Structure: You may have noticed that I didn’t apply the colors of the Jane Schaffer this kind of paragraph. That is because this kind of paragraph breaks out of that structure. This is only allowed once the other two example of Introduction Paragraph have been mastered. The structure is set up more like a story with a problem that the character tries to solve.
Grammar: When your writing is being judged you want to make sure it is:
- easy to read
Getting all these three at once is something even masters struggle with.
© 2010 David Mach
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