Monday, November 18, 2013

Persuasive Writing

Let me first start out by saying (and I'm sure I've said it plenty of times before) I LOVE LOVE LOVE using pictures books and mini lessons to teach reading!  It never ceases to amaze me how many of my students enjoy reading picture books  (or having picture books read to them) , yet so few of them do it!  I guess that's lucky for me because they are so well behaved any time I read to them. I truly have no behavior issues whenever I read a picture book!  So there's bonus #1!! 
I love teaching persuasion!  I really do!  You should teach persuasion, too!  It's fun!  It's exciting!  Everyone is doing it....oh wait, I think I got a little off track there! kick off the unit I usually start by reading of Hey, Little Ant.  After I read the book, and before we discuss it, we complete a little questionnaire about the book...then we discuss it as a whole group.
FREEBIE ALERT: Click on the handout to download a copy of it!
I probably stole borrowed the questions from something I saw online, but darned if I can figure out from where (if they're your questions just let me know and I'll be happy to give you credit!).  I added the ant font and the little frame because hey, it's cute and who says fifth graders don't like cute?!  I also like to play a video on youtube of a couple performing the book for a bunch of kids.  You can watch the video by clicking HERE.
From there I go on to introduce some of the ways authors use persuasion (testimonial, bandwagon, emotional appeal, repetition, slogans, etc.). We create an anchor chart and then identify the different methods used in Hey, Little Ant
The next day we read The True Story of the Three Little Pigs.  Before we read the story we review our anchor chart and I ask students to be considering the different types of persuasion used in the story.  I really enjoy reading this book to my students!  After we read the story, and again before we discuss it, I ask my students to decide...

They not only need to decide if they believe the wolf or pigs, but  they have to come up with a couple of reasons WHY!  Once they've done that they complete this cute adorable little house.  I don't have a close up (sorry!) but they cut out a picture of the wolf or the pigs and glue it on the left side of the paper.  Then they write up their reasons (in complete sentences of course!) on the right side.  After they get the writing part done they color the house to represent straw, sticks, or bricks....apparently in one version the wolf has a lot of money and is able to buy purple bricks (or pays someone to paint the purple - I'm undecided! - see top row, middle house!)  Then they cut the houses out and I hang them on the wall, those who believe the wolf's story on the left and those who believed the pigs' story on the right.  I'm thinking I might have been a little TOO convincing when I read the story because as you can see way more students picked the wolf over the pigs.  Funny enough, the three students who were absent that day all picked the pigs after they read the story themselves in a small group.  OOPS!  What can I say, I'm a sucker softie for wolves who treat their grannies so sweetly!  Once this is done, we again discuss the different ways the author used persuasion and the parts of the book (and background knowledge in some cases) that convinced us one way or the other.
After we read this, I put out picture books for students to read in their free time if they so desired.  Here are just a few of versions of the Three Little Pigs that I put out for them.  I was simply amazed at how many versions there are! 
Throughout the unit we also read Can I Keep Him? by Steven Kellogg, Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems, Dear Mrs. LaRue Letters from Obedience School by Mark Teague, and CLICK, CLACK, MOO Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin.

After each picture book (one per day) we discuss the types of persuasion used and then do some type of follow up activity.

After reading Can I Keep Him? students pick an animal (not one that's in the book) and come up with 5 reasons they should be able to keep the animal, 3 reasons a parent might say NO!, and then 1 response for each parent reason.  They then break into pairs and role play the reasons and responses.
After Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus students write a sequel to the original book.  This year we had Don't Let the Pigeon....Fly the Helicopter, Conduct the Train, Drive the Buggati (expensive sports car for those of you who have no idea like me!)  We then took the 10 sequels and made a class book with them.  They came out fabulously!  I mean best ever!  I provided them with a step-by-step direction (I found it HERE of how to draw the pigeon and off they went!
After Dear Mrs. LaRue students pick one specific letter written from Mrs. Larue to Ike (the dog) and responded (in proper friendly letter form of course!) to her letter as the character of Ike.

After Click, Clack, Moo we completed a cause and effect chart as a whole class.  Then students broke into small groups and selected another book written by Doreen Cronin.  They then compared and contrasted their books by completed a Venn diagram.  Finally each group shared out to the whole class.

From year to year I switch up which books I use, add some in, take some out, etc. but these are the ones we did this year.  As the unit progresses each day I also add new books to our classroom that we won't actually use in class.  I have a special area for books that relate to what we're doing in class at any given time and students know exactly where this area is.  Once in this area they'll find signs like the one below so they know which area of study each book goes with.

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