The open blog entries are becoming harder and harder for me to write, as I was always that student that never knew what to write about. I do much better when I have a specified topic at hand. Determining my own topic is the hardest part of writing for me. This week as I reflected on class I decided the class topic of Persuasive Writing would suffice for my blog entry.
As I read and listened in class I learned quite a bit about the persuasive genre. i had never thought about how often every day we are persuaded to do things. This is usually done in the media, commercials, as described by the presenting group. I was thinking on my way home and realized that all that junk mail from banks and credit card companies is persuasive writing in itself. The purpose of the mail is to convince you that you need the services they offer. As I thought about all of the persuasion we encounter daily I wondered to my self if we become immune to it and eventually begin to tune it out. Also while thinking about all the different ways we are persuaded each day, I began to think about the countless ways we can teach children about persuasion and implement it in our classroom. Many of the real life persuasion we encounter begins as a written piece. A commercial is not just filmed on the fly, much planning and editing needs to take place before the cameras can be brought out. We can mimic this in our classrooms. Advertisements in the mail and newspaper are also writing pieces we can have our children create. The options are endless when it comes to the persuasive genre. This was a new idea to me, as I had seen persuasive writing mainly as a letter.
In our Tompkins (2012) textbook persuasive writing is broken down into three types of writing, posters, letters and essays. With this versatility, persuasive writing can be used in almost any subject in the classroom. I was never aware of the correct or most useful format of a persuasive piece of writing. Tompkins (2012) introduced these to me in the chapter. This was helpful to see how to create a strong writing piece that is convincing to the reader. These outlines are simple enough for young children (second grade) to use, but also can be helpful for older students.
Grading, as I have discussed before, is a worry for me. Tompkins (2012) described that persuasive writing should be graded in a similar manor to any other piece of writing students create.
Not only is persuasion used in writing, but it is also a powerful speaking tool and skill for students to learn. We want our students to be able to justify their ideas in the real world. This is where persuasion comes in. Most commonly, I have seen verbal persuasion used in activities resembling debates. This is a powerful skill, because not all children are able to be debating for their own true beliefs, some may need to switch to the other side for sake of numbers. This forces students to think from a different point of view which is a higher level thinking than we generally force our students to do. I have always enjoyed debates and plan to bring them into my classroom along with persuasive writing. I want my students to be able to feel as though they have a voice and can defend what they feel and believe, although they need to understand just because they have good ideas, they may not always be able to get what they are persuading for.
It was ironic that persuasion was our class topic, because when I was in a fourth grade classroom subbing the day after class I encountered a time of persuasion. The students were asked to persuade the teacher to allow them to be able to pick their own partners. They needed to work as a class and come up with their reasons, then present them to the teacher. This was not a planned activity, nor was it long. It only took about five minutes while the teacher was actually stalling the class. Although stalls are not generally a good idea, this was a productive activity. I was impressed with the thinking these students did and how their demeanor changed when they were trying to persuade the teacher. They were professional as they stood tall and sounded confident. Overall the activity was interesting as I had just learned more about the persuasive genre the night before. Needless to say, the students were allowed to work in partners. They had a sense of accomplishment in achieving what they wanted.