Learning to Give, Philanthropy education resources that teach giving and civic engagement

Writing to Persuade
Lesson 3
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Lesson
Handouts
Academic Standards
Philanthropy Framework

Focus Question(s):

How can a persuasive essay communicate the impact and value of a service-learning experience?

Purpose:

Students learn effective techniques and complete prewriting activities for writing a persuasive essay. As a culmination of the unit, students choose one of the three styles of writing--news article, personal narrative, or persuasive essay--to write, edit, and publish about their experience with giving time, talent, or treasure for the common good. 

Duration:

Two 50-minute class periods; plus time to write, edit, and publish stories

Objectives:

The learner will:

  • use a graphic organizer to identify the parts of a persuasive piece of writing.
  • list three pros and cons to support the main thesis.
  • complete Attachment One: Supporting Facts and Statistics to recognize good supporting details in an argument.
  • fill in a graphic organizer to plan the outline for a persuasive essay.
  • write either a news article, a personal narrative, or a persuasive essay about a philanthropic experience.

Materials:

  • Student copies of Attachment One: Supporting Facts and Statistics
  • Student copies of Attachment Two: Rubric: Persuasive Writing
Handout 1
Supporting Facts and Statistics
Handout 2
Rubric: Persuasive Writing
Handout 3
Unit Posttest
Handout 4
Unit Posttest Answer Key

Instructional Procedure(s):

Day One
Anticipatory Set:
Ask the students what techniques they use when they are trying to persuade their family members or a friend to do something. Listen to different methods of persuasion and write a few techniques down on the display board. Tell the class that today they are going to use their persuasive skills to convince others to give their time, talent, or treasure for the common good.

  • Tell the students that persuasive writing isn't objective, but seeks to call the reader to action or to a point of view using facts, logic, and arguments. The op-ed page of a major newspaper is a good source for examples of persuasive writing. An op-ed is an article written by a guest columnist (opposite the editorial page) expressing an opinion and persuading readers to accept a point of view (sometimes with humor). Advertisements and political campaigning are other sources of persuasive writing.
  • Use a graphic organizer (samples at http://www.eduplace.com/graphicorganizer/) on the display board to tell the students about the parts of a good piece of persuasive writing: central theme (clearly stated purpose), opposing viewpoint, supportive arguments, evaluation, and call to action.
  • Read aloud a persuasive piece of writing such as an op-ed and have the students identify the elements. Fill in the graphic organizer on the display board with details the students identify. See Bibliographical Resources for persuasive articles to read aloud.
  • Tell the students that they are going to plan to write a persuasive piece about their philanthropic experience. The writing will inform about the service and try to persuade readers to get involved in addressing the same or a related need.
  • Help the students choose their focus with a prewriting activity. At the top of the paper, students write a statement that they are going to support in their essay. Then have them list pros and cons in a T-chart under the statement. This will form the arguments and help them see another point of view.
  • The most common format for persuasive writing is the five-paragraph essay. Paragraph one is the introduction. The next three paragraphs are three arguments, each supported with specific facts, examples, and statistics. The fifth paragraph is the conclusion and call to action.
  • Tell the students to avoid opinions and generalizations as supporting arguments. To provide practice in identifying good supporting arguments, give students copies of Attachment One: Supporting Facts and Statistics.
  • Have each student (or pairs of students) create a graphic organizer like the one on the display board. They will brainstorm the elements of their persuasive piece as a prewriting activity. Give students copies of Attachment Two: Rubric: Persuasive Writing to use a guide for planning their writing.
Day Two
  • Ask the students to take out their folders of their saved prewriting activities. Have them look over their planning work from the three lessons and review the three types of writing styles. Review the three styles of writing: news article, personal narrative, and persuasive essay. Tell the students that their final assignment for the unit is to choose one of these styles for writing a final article about their service experience. They should use the appropriate rubric to guide them as they write their piece.
  • Brainstorm with the class appropriate places they can publish their writing. Some ideas include a school or community newspaper. Students can create a special edition of a class newsletter, printing copies to share with families and other students (audio and visual). Encourage them to think about where they will publish their writing so they understand their audience as they write.
  • After students finish writing their articles, pair students for peer editing. Then have them edit and revise before they hand in their final drafts to the teacher.
  • Guide students in getting their articles published in a public forum.

Assessment:

Use students' work on Attachment One: Supporting Facts and Statistics to assess whether they recognize a good argument for their persuasive essays. Review the graphic organizers and T-charts to assess whether they are ready to start writing the persuasive essay.

Assess students' final writing by using one of the three rubrics provided in the unit.

Cross-Curriculum Extensions:

A persuasive writing piece has a strong opening paragraph with an unusual detail, question, quote, or surprising fact. There is an extenive database of quotations organized by themes and issues on the Learning to Give website http://www.learningtogive.org/search/quotes/.

Students may choose to publish their stories using other media than writing. They may record audio or film versions of their stories.

Bibliographical References:

 

Lesson Developed By:

Betsy Flikkema
Associate Director
Learning to Give

Handouts:

Handout 1Print Handout 1

Supporting Facts and Statistics

Arguments in persuasive writing should be supported by facts and statistics. The following arguments are followed by three supporting statements. Two of the statements contain opinions and generalizations. One is a statement of fact. Read each set of arguments and pick out the statement that is a fact or statistic.

 

It’s important to wear sunscreen when you are outside in the summer.

It smells good.

It’s really smart to wear sunscreen.

Even a suntan is evidence that the sun has damaged the skin.

 

You should always drive the speed limit.

Driving fast is dangerous.

Speeding is a contributing factor of one-third of fatal car crashes.

Speeding isn’t fun.

 

Our family should get a dog.

I have time before and after school to walk the dog.

It is fun to run with a dog.

Dogs make good pets.

 

Frozen fruit pops are healthier than ice cream.

They taste better.

There is no fat in frozen fruit pops.

Grape is the best flavor.

Handout 2Print Handout 2

Rubric: Persuasive Writing

Objective  Self           Peer        Teacher
The essay begins with a strong statement that gets attention and communicates the point of view of the author.      
The writing clearly and accurately communicates the central theme/the purpose of the philanthropic act.      
The writing states the opposing viewpoint, shows understanding of another perspective, and uses respectful and positive language.      
The supportive arguments are clear and in simple language, based on facts and statistics.      
The essay includes an evaluation and call to action.      

The writing uses correct grammar, punctuation, and spelling.

     

 

Handout 3Print Handout 3

Unit Posttest

Circle the best answer.

1.   The best example of an act of philanthropy is

a.   giving time, talent, or treasure for the common good.

b.   paying off a debt.

c.   lobbying for no smoking in all public meeting places.

d.   campaigning for a candidate.

e.   accepting what is given to you with appreciation.

2.     A newspaper op-ed is a good resource for

a.   factual information about a historical event.

b.   gathering fair and impartial information about an upcoming election.

c.   browsing the headlines.

d.   reading a columnist’s point of view on a current issue.

e.   finding food, entertainment, and attractions in the immediate area.

3.     The process of interpreting personal feelings and impact of an experience is most often referred to as

a.   recalling.
 
b.   inferring.
 
c.   day-dreaming.
 
d.   guessing.
 
e.   reflecting.
 
4.     A personal narrative most often contains

a.   factual information and statistics.

b.   events and reflections.

c.   reviews of books and poems.

d.   an accounting of monies spent and earned.

e.   homework assignments and to-do lists. 

5.   Someone who gives time, talent or treasure for the common good is most appropriately referred to as

a.   a philanthropist.

b.   a wealthy person.

c.   a charity worker.

d.   a do-gooder.

e.   a donor.

6.   The first paragraph of a news article is structured to help the readers

a.   find the details for a research paper.

b.   come up with a attention-grabbing opening.

c.   form an opinion.

d.   decide whether to read the rest of the article.

e.   make up their minds about the issue.

7.   Which type of news article contains a clear purpose, arguments, and supporting details?

a.   front-page news story

b.   personal narrative

c.   op-ed

d.   all of the above

e.   none of the above

8.      Which is an example of a revealing detail that shows rather than tells?

a.   The sun burned my exposed neck.

b.   The kids were cold.

c.   We are happy.

d.   The day was hot.

e.   The seat is comfortable.

9.      What feature in the newspaper cannot report about philanthropy?

a.   front page story

b.   political cartoon

c.   letter to the editor

d.   op-ed

e.   none of the above

10.  Freedom of the Press ensures that newspapers

a.   are allowed to express an opinion.

b.   can write about issues that offend the government.

c.   give accurate information.

d.   can express different points of view.

e.   all of the above

 

Handout 4Print Handout 4

Unit Posttest Answer Key

1.    The best example of an act of philanthropy is

c.   lobbying for no smoking in all public meeting places.

2.      A newspaper op-ed is a good resource for

d.   reading a columnist’s point of view on a current issue.

3.    The process of interpreting personal feelings and impact of an experience is most often referred to as

e.   reflecting.
 
4.      A personal narrative most often contains

b.   events and reflections.

5.      Someone who gives time, talent or treasure for the common good is most appropriately referred to as

a.   a philanthropist.

6.      The first paragraph of a news article is structured to help the readers

d.   decide whether to read the rest of the article.

7.     Which type of news article contains a clear purpose, arguments, and supporting details?

c.   op-ed

8.      Which is an example of a revealing detail that shows rather than tells?

a.   The sun burned my exposed neck.

9.      What feature in the newspaper cannot report about philanthropy?

e.   none of the above

10. Freedom of the Press ensures that newspapers

e.   all of the above

Philanthropy Framework:

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Unit Contents:

Overview:Telling Our Stories of Giving Summary

Lessons:

1.
Newspaper Stories
2.
Writing a Personal Narrative
3.
Writing to Persuade

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