Which character from children’s literature should be president? This differentiated writing prompt asks third, fourth, and fifth grade students to persuade others to vote for their favorite book character. Specially designed student sheets help them organize, choose specific words, elaborate, vary sentences, and employ transitional terms. Watch as their opinion paragraphs begin to shine!
You can use this prompt in April for School Library Week or anytime! If you want to have more fun with it, hold an all-class or all-school election to choose one character for president.
Created by master teacher Brenda Kovich
, this activity is classroom tested and kid approved.
(Click on Preview above to take a peek at all of these materials!)
• A Note to the Teacher
• Lesson Plans (2 pages)
• Writing a Persuasive Paragraph poster/anchor chart
• Scaffolding and Differentiation (3 pages of guidance)
• Modeling Sheets (6 pages)
• Rubrics (one for each level – basic, emerging, and detailed)
• Ballots – for optional book character election
(18 pages - available as printable or paperless Google files*)
• My Opinion – guidance in determining opinion, writing a topic sentence, and writing a call to action
• My Reasons – brainstorming + three selected reasons
• My Organizer – basic and detailed versions
• My Hook – making a simple request, asking a question, setting the stage, using onomatopoeia, and other
• My Wrap-Up – matching the beginning by restating the request, answering the question, exiting the stage, using onomatopoeia, and other
• WOW Words – themed list to help with word choice
• Elaborating with Examples – considering examples for each reason
• Elaborating with Details – bolstering sentences with active verbs, sensory details, specific nouns, and descriptive words
• Elaborating with Lists – packing sentences with lists of actions
• Varying Sentence Beginnings – replacing first word with synonym, adding a describing word, telling how/when/where, comparing with a simile, beginning with an –ing word
• Varying Sentence Types – experimenting with questions, commands, and exclamations
• Editing Checklists (one for each level – basic, emerging, and detailed)
• Queen of Hearts Stationery (2 versions)
*Three links are provided – one for each level (basic, emerging, detailed). Simply share the appropriate link(s). Students click to create a copy of the file. They can then type directly into the file (and share it with you.) It’s perfect for Google Classroom and/or students who use Chromebooks.
Session 1: Generating Opinion & Reasons – Ask, “Which character from children’s literature would make the best president?” Explain that persuasive writing can sometimes be used to get what you want. Go over structures and strategies with Writing a Persuasive Paragraph. Have students generate topic sentences and write calls to action with My Opinion. Then ask them to brainstorm and narrow reasons with My Reasons. Optional: Announce a book character election.
Session 2: Organizing – Model hooks and wrap-ups. Remind students that all parts of the paragraph should fit together well. Ask students to organize their opinions, reasons, and calls to action. Level 2 students also work on hooks. Level 3 students develop a cohesive plan with related hooks and wrap-ups for an overarching slant, or theme.
Session 3: Drafting - Explain how to move ideas from the organizer to paragraph form. Have students write their first drafts, focusing on organization, word choice, and mechanics. Use a word processor if available. It makes revising and editing much easier. Otherwise, use St. Patrick’s Day stationery or lined paper.
Session 4: Elaborating - Model processes for elaboration. Level 1 students add one or more examples. Level 2 students add details and examples to their reasons. Level 3 students add details, examples, and lists to bolster sentences.
Session 5: Revising - Model processes for varying sentence beginnings. Explain that shaking up sentence types also improves voice. (For advanced students, you may also discuss how long sentences explain and short sentences punctuate.) The class explores how transitions may be used to link ideas. Level 1 students adjust sentence beginnings so each begins differently. Level 2 and 3 students work on varying sentence beginnings and types, as well as using transition terms.
Session 6: Editing and Publishing - Students use leveled checklists to edit and publish their paragraphs.
Optional: Display persuasive paragraphs (or have students read them aloud). Hold a book character election.
Are you looking for more materials to help your students write persuasive paragraphs? Try my circus-themed video, anchor charts, modeling and student sheets
Other Persuasive Writing Activities:
• January Persuasive Paragraph - Snow Day! Winter Writing Activity
• February Persuasive Paragraph - Groundhog Day Writing Activity
• March Persuasive Paragraph - St. Patrick's Day Writing Activity
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I'm committed to continual improvement. This resource was updated and enhanced on January 6, 2018.
Clip art was created by Kate Hadfield