Would you like to improve your students’ persuasive writing? Just move them through these four steps: structure, ideas, sentences, and words. In this professional development video, master teacher Brenda Kovich
discusses how this works in her fourth grade classroom.
The beginning of the video explains steps for pulling lively paragraphs out of third and fourth grade kids:
1. Start with a strong structure (opinion-reason-reason-reason-opinion).
2. Add ideas to fill in the gaps and elaborate.
3. Improve voice by shaking up sentences.
4. Get specific with word choice.
The second part models the writing process as Brenda writes and edits a paragraph for you. First, she displays the prompt:
Which character from Greek mythology would make the best president? Persuade your audience to vote for him or her.
Using the traditional persuasive writing structure, she writes a simple paragraph:
You should vote for Gaia, She cares about all creatures. She’s big and strong. She’s popular with the other gods. Vote for Gaia.
Unfortunately, this is the type of writing that many of us get from our students. Fortunately, the next three steps can move them from mediocre to magnificent! You’ll see how some simple templates (which are included) encourage kids to add ideas, shake up the sentences, and improve word choice.
In a conversational voice, Brenda completes the templates in response to the prompt. Then she uses them to rewrite the paragraph, sentence by sentence, editing and explaining as she goes. In the end, the paragraph looks like this:
Do you want to make your vote count? Vote Gaia, A.K.A. Mother Earth, for president! Big and strong can’t even begin to describe her. However, her love for every creature, great and small, demonstrates her compassion. She has the best interest of all – mortals and immortals – at heart. This popular goddess can rally the other gods. Therefore, they will protect us. As you can see, Gaia is the best candidate for the job. What are you waiting for? Vote Gaia today!
In this video, you get to peek inside the classroom (and head!) of a veteran teacher. It provides a springboard to your growth as a writer and teacher of writers. And hopefully, it will encourage you to model writing for your students – by composing and editing right before their eyes.
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A Note from Brenda:
I’ve learned a lot in 34 years of teaching. Now it’s time to share it with you. I decided to create this video as a little experiment, so I’m giving it away for free. Please let me know how you like it by rating this product. If teachers like this format and feel that it’s helpful to them, I’ll create more.
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Related Persuasive Writing Activities:
• Characters from Myths - Writing Opinion and Persuasive Paragraphs
• Characters from Literature - Writing Opinion and Persuasive Paragraphs
• Snow Day! - Writing a Persuasive Paragraph
• Groundhog Day - Writing a Persuasive Paragraph
• The National Anthem - Writing Persuasive Paragraphs
• You Should Try It! Five-Paragraph Persuasive Essay
• Snow Day! - Writing a Five-Paragraph Persuasive Essay
Additional Writing Video:
• Video, Handouts, and Posters to Model Building a Better Paragraph