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Showing posts from April, 2015

Engaging Students In Authentic Persuasive Writing

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This is the final post  in a series on the issue of preparing students to write persuasively.
When The Writing Begins...Encourage the development of a persuasive toneinto ALL writingstudents undertake. All writers try to influence the reader. Theyhave a purpose when they write and we must embed thisunderstanding in the minds of young writers.The writer evokes a response, or a change in attitude from the readerand is thus fulfilled.
In What Ways Do Writers Influence Us?•By warning us through their writing (fiction and non fiction)•By telling a story that brings the issue to our attention•By telling a story that has a message•By providing examples•By describing details•By begging us to change•By writing letters–public and personal•By writing about something worth preserving or protecting•By describing a scene to highlight a problem•By writing poetry•By writing about how to treat people, places, objects, treasures•By inspiring us to try new things•By inspiring us to be brave or resolute•By…

Adequately Preparing Student Writers to Write PERSUASIVELY

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I have previously stated my belief that teaching students to writepersuasively, (to influence a reader) is about far more than writing to a formula, or recipe!
What is the First Step?I believe we need to introduce young writers to the language of persuasion.





The language ofintroductionI believe, I feel, I think,

The language ofconnectiveshowever, therefore, because, although, yet, in addition to.

The language ofconclusionIn summary, I recommend, In conclusion

In the classroom we begin by fostering quality conversations…
A sea of talk should pervade classroom discussion and conversation around pertinent issues. Talking to learn should be a guiding principle in planning lessons. Successful discussion requires students to reflect on what they are doing as learners. If students don’t know the process of discussion they remain dependent on the teacher to tell them what to do, how to solve problems and how to‘think.’ They are locked out of these  vital conversations.
Developing Opinions:Ample acti…

Sport And A Literate Life

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As a child I demonstrated a visible passion for sport. Football, cricket, athletics were my three passions. Little else mattered. I devoted innumerable hours to perfecting my skills in these sporting zones. It was always football in winter; cricket and athletics in summer. The backyard of our house was the setting for my initial efforts. -Sometimes in a shared sense and sometimes on my own. I kicked the football, leapt in the air and marked the ball, chased it, bounced it –round and round and round the yard. The football and I were almost constantly connected. The onset of darkness at the end of the day was the trigger for calling an end to my pursuit of my sporting dreams. They burned brightly.  Things reached a point when my mother intervened and suggested I move my practice to a more appropriate setting because her flowers were constantly under attack from stray footballs. I was decimating her dahlias. Deadheading her roses. Smashing her sweet peas.
 Cricket was much the same. Bat a…

Learning From Other Writers- Goldberg's Gold

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Natalie Goldberg’s book, ‘Writing Down The Bones' provides so much sound advice on the writing life and the teaching of writing. It’s a mine full of treasure for anyone wishing to better understand and appreciate the how and why questions surrounding writing.


I first read this book about ten years ago. It immediately identified itself as a keeper. I keep it within easy reach on my study shelf. Last Thursday I delved back in to soak up Natalie’s words once more.
I had a medical appointment that day, so I took a friend to keep me company while I sat waiting for my appointed consultation.

Here are some of the words that sang in my head as I waited…
‘Writers are great lovers. They fall in love with other writers. That’s how they learn to write.’*This is all part of learning to read like a writer and finding suitable mentors.
‘Talk is the exercise ground of writing. Talk is a way to warm up for the big game- the hours you write alone with your pen and your notebook.’*This underlines the abs…

Part 2 - I'm Not Persuaded About Persuasive Writing Approaches

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Writing To Influence Others
Writer’s workshop should not remain unaffected by the reading and talking and inquiring that occurs around issues. The sometimes sophisticated conversations that take place in your classroom should find a voice in the writing students undertake. How do we assist students to move from superficial entries to critical examination of inquiry findings? Can we use this lens to change the way students write about issues? How do we assist the power and the passion of student views to filter into their writing?
A classroom conversation might begin thus: 
‘It’s time to make people in and out of school think and talk about some of the real world issues we have been examining.’
Encourage Students to consider the following with their notebook entries:
Do some pieces stand out for you?Place a sticker next to any section of your writing that sounds especially interesting. If you have explored any big themes and ideas in your writing, write them at the top of your notebook page…

I'm Not Persuaded About Persuasive Writing Approaches

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The issue of teaching students to write to persuade presents an ongoing challenge for most schools. Australia’s national testing of students next month may involve students in a writing task requiring them to mount a cohesive argument on a given topic and support their contention with supportive evidence.
What schools tend to do in rising to this challenge is to teach students to use a somewhat formulaic structure that reads like a persuasive recipe (firstly, secondly, finally). It lacks authenticity and true voice.
Teachers tend to teach to this artificial structure which goes something like this:Position statement3 supportive argumentsConclusions restating the original contention
Beyond schools you rarely see such a structure invoked when a writer wishes to genuinely voice an opinion or persuade readers to a particular point of view.
A closer examination of student persuasive writing pieces often reveals a lack of real substance, or knowledgeable conviction in the words. In many pieces…