Sunday, April 1, 2012

Space-y Persuasive Writing

Sunday evenings.... the rush is on to get what I put off all weekend completed in just a few hours.  Papers to grade, literature units to work on, and my kiddos backpacks to look through and get ready for tomorrow.  I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!  The weather has been so beautiful here that we've spent the weekend outside... going to baseball games, running, and planting a garden.

Last week, we began persuasive essays.  Since we've been studying space, I chose a space related topic as our persuasive writing prompt.  I have used mini-lessons throughout the year to help students with great beginnings, vivid verbs, transition words,  dollar words, and wrap-ups  when writing narrative and expository essays.  So this week I introduced persuasive essays. I used a Powerpoint presentation using the first few pages out of my Power-Up Persuasive Writing packet.  In addition to all of the information we have learned about space thus far, I read a couple of books to my students about space exploration before beginning this persuasive.  Here is a pic of both of them.

Then the students brainstormed as I wrote on chart paper about all the things they learned from these two books about space exploration.  I passed out the writing prompt that is on space from my Power-up Persuasive Writing packet.  We read and discussed this prompt together.  The prompt talks about the fact that the Space Shuttle Program has been halted and asks the student  their position on this topic.  The boys and girls had many things to say about this after learning so much about space these past few weeks.  As a majority, they felt very strongly about the fact that the space shuttle program should resume.  Then we used a TAP-F chart graphic organizer to organize our ideas. A TAP-F chart is a foldable.  Simply fold a piece of paper so that the two ends meet in the middle.  Then on the left hand side, students are to label with T   A   P   F  .  This stands for topic, audience, purpose and focus.  Then we filled this in together.  Next on the far, right hand side I had students draw a T.  Then on one side they labeled all the "pros" to the topic and on the other "cons" to this topic.  We used the items we had written on the chart while brainstorming to help us with this.  I asked students to pick at least 3 pros and 3 cons.  This was relatively easy for them to do since the students simply looked at the chart we had used when brainstorming.  I was extremely impressed with their reasons for the space shuttle program to resume.  We spent a lot of time discussing that they must support their position with facts rather than opinions.  This is really tough for 3rd graders, but they did fantastic.  I even had one student mention that many NASA workers would lose their jobs due to the cuts in the space shuttle program.  I thought that was an impressive reason for a 3rd grader to come up with.  Finally the middle of this foldable is where the students sketch a rough draft of their essay.  They write a focus sentence, their suporting statements which should be fact based and not opinion based and a wrap-up sentence. Here is a pic of one of my student's TAP-F chart.
 Here are some pics of the finished project.  I think they turned out fantastic for our first persuasive writing.  This was also the first time I introduced my students to their writing binders.  They loved keeping their Tap-F chart, prompt, and sloppy copy in this binder.
I used the first 3 pages of my Power- Up Our Persuasive writing pack for the powerpoint presentation.  Also included in this pack was the persuasive prompt we used for space along with directions for creating a TAP-F foldable graphic organizer.

If you want to take a peek at this Persuasive writing pack, you can find it HERE for $2.50  at my TPT store.

Talk to y'all later.  I need to get back to work... grading papers and working on my Westward Expansion unit.   Have a fabulous evening! 


Christi at Ms. Fultz's Corner said...

Great idea! I always kick of our persuasive unit by having the students write a letter to someone in the building in an attempt to persuade them to do something fun for our class. They've written to the cafeteria crew asking to sit at whichever table they want, the recess crew asking for extra recess, and one sweet student wrote to the principal asking if they could change the recess rule about not climbing the trees. ha!

You also make me want to start our space unit NOW because it's one of my favorites.

Christi ツ
Ms. Fultz’s Corner

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