The 8th grade students that I have struggle a lot with writing, especially getting their ideas on paper. I try to do a lot of process writing with them in order to make their organization just a little more efficient. My teaching partner has them for a period of guided reading and vocabulary, so I focus mostly on writing and grammar.
I think persuasive writing is the hardest to learn but the easiest to write, as long as you have the format down. So we have been practicing with lots of different prompts and examples, to really get to know the practice of brainstorming.
I started by introducing this, which you can find here, at Our Cool School. Yes, we ate Oreos...their favorite part, I believe!
In most of the prompts I have come across, it reads "state whether you are for or against...". That language was difficult for my students, so we went back a step, and learned about pros and cons, and practiced for a few days with those.
You can grab this freebie here!
Our pros and cons became our reasons, and we learned that our first opinion wasn't always our last opinion. Then it came time to write examples to support our reasons. I used this persuasive map from Read Write Think. But, the one my students really liked was this one, I think because of the layout. Find it here.
1. Should students go outside for recess every day?
2. A dinosaur fossil was found outside your school. Should the school keep it or donate it to a museum?
3. Should students continue to wear student uniforms?
They did really well on all of these prompts! I worked slowly to a timed prompt, which was the last one, and it definitely helped them learn how to organize their writing. Now, if we could get organization and correct punctuation and grammar to all magically end up in the same essay, I would be a happy girl!
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