April 7, 2011

I wanna...

I wanna lotta things, come to think of it. :)  But that's a topic for another day.  Today I want to share our latest writing pursuit in 5th grade.  I try to mix in creative Writing Workshop lessons with lessons geared towards the Big Three writing genres (expository, narrative, persuasive).  For the past few weeks, we've been writing persuasive letters.  We kicked off the project by reading the mentor text I Wanna Iguana by Karen Kaufman Orloff (I will take any excuse to read a picture book in the classroom...) and discussed whether the character's reasons for wanting an iguana were valid or invalid.  We made this chart:

Next, we brainstormed things that we would like to ask someone (mostly moms and dads) for...

After choosing a topic, we worked hard to come up with VALID and CONVINCING reasons to support each topic.  For example, we did a shared writing piece in which the kids decided to persuade me to get a classroom pet other than a fish. (HAH!  Never gonna happen...In fact the kids don't know that I accidentally killed our fish over winter break.  I've just been telling them he decided to live at home with me...)  We discussed how "Teaches responsibility" and "Learning opportunity" would be more valid/convincing reasons than fun.  It was a great exercise in considering one's audience.

After we made it through the planning phase, the kids plugged away at the letters during Writing Workshop and Daily 3.  During a revising mini-lesson, we discussed persuasive language and I supplied these sentence frames:

The kids were instructed to go back through their letters and add in these sentence frames.  What a difference!  They really elevated the writing.

The final products have been trickling in and are pretty funny:

Kid logic rocks.  What is your favorite type of writing to teach?  I have to say, I really enjoyed this project!


  1. I love this! I needed a project for my kids (we have about a week before we start a BIG writing project with another class) and this is GREAT! I haven't done persuasive writing with them yet. I will definitely be "borrowing" it from you for about a week. Thanks!! =)

  2. Very cute!

    If you're all about picture books to teach writing, you will LOVE "Mentor Texts" by Lynne Dorfman and Rose Cappelli. It's great!


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