Here is a fantastic way to teach the persuasive essay! Student "Law Firms" will read closely to consider Odysseus's conduct while in Polyphemus's home. Over the course of 4 or 5 days they will draft "opening arguments," "arguments and rebuttals," and "closing remarks." They will be so engaged in preparing themselves for trial day that they won't even know they've written a persuasive essay until it's done! This lesson is totally original, and includes the following:
1. An introductory handout providing 20 claims, asking students to consider evidence and choose a client (Odysseus or Polyphemus)
2. A fantastic graphic organizer for students to map out their argument. Unlike anything you're likely to have seen, this is actually a great organizer for any 5 paragraph essay.
3. Step-by-step instructions on writing opening arguments for a trial. Again, this is really just a great way to teach the introductory paragraph.
4. Outlines for crafting arguments and rebuttals that teach students how to write the body paragraphs of any 5 paragraph essay. These pages require students to include evidence from the text and analysis to back up their argument.
5. A step-by-step outline for writing closing remarks. You guessed it... this is a great way to teach students how to write a conclusion.
6. An easy-to-follow handout for each student to assist them in conducting their own mock trial in the classroom.
Encourage friendly competition in preparation for the trial, don't even inform students that they are writing an essay until they are done, and this activity promises to significantly raises the bar on persuasive writing for the year.