Introducing Persuasive Writing

NAPLAN returned this year, what a joy! The two main text types covered are narrative writing and persuasive writing and this year, we were blessed with a narrative prompt. We have been working on persuasive texts and this post will share some useful resources I have found to support this unit.

LESSON 1: Getting the conversation started…

I began the unit exploring the argument between Riley and her parents (Inside Out movie). My students watched the below scene and answered the following questions which could be related to many other scenes where an argument takes place. The point of this task is to look at both sides of the argument, discuss body language and the language and determine that is was not an effective argument…leading to a discussion about the characteristics of a good argument.

  • What type of interaction/conversation is this?
  • What do you notice about the body language of the characters?
  • What do you notice about the language used by the characters?
  • Do you think this was an effective argument? Why?

LESSON 2: Moving on… persuasive devices

It was time to explore persuasive devices. My students knew devices such a modality words, rhetorical questions and the rule of three. I then filled in the gaps using this resource from Teachstarter. Students had to match the persuasive device with a definition and an example of it in use. This was an engaging way to work through this task because it was quite the jigsaw piece putting it together and discussing devices students had not thought about, such as personal pronouns, alliteration, repetition.

LESSON 3: Moving on… text analysis

I used this resource with small groups of 4-5 students where they looked at a variety of persuasive writing samples from the NAPLAN marking guide. They collectively had to score and rank each piece using the marking criteria from the guide. After coming back together, results were shared and discussion happened around differing results with students sharing and justifying their decisions. It was a fantastic discussion and I was glad to have two periods for this task.

LESSON 4: This lead to… brainstorming a persuasive text checklist

Brainstorming a checklist for a persuasive text together was effective as it was the best way to ensure student voice and use the text analysis revisit items that needed to be on the checklist. We looked at structure, text and line elements. I filled in the gaps and supported this task by sharing a checklist after the brainstorm and discussed the items the students had missed and the importance of them.

To further this investigation…

As we explored persuasive text devices such as the power of three, modality, personal pronouns, rhetorical questions etc., it was time to go back to the sample text again to add additional annotations and use the checklist that we had just brainstormed. My students really enjoyed this and were fully engaged in the task, they couldn’t wait to come back together to share what they had found and if any of the groups had found something other groups had not.

This worked well because…

  • Students had the opportunity to explore examples of good and great persuasive texts.
  • Rather than receiving a checklist from me, they created their own.
  • They had to collaborate within a small group and make decisions together.

Thank you so much for reading this post. If you decide to use this in your classroom, please feel free to come back and leave some feedback, share your ideas or the persuasive writing completed by your students.


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