Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Persuasive Writing

First grade is being required to add persuasive writing this year for the first time. The county provided five lessons that we could use... Not exactly the resources needed to teach a three week unit! So... as a collaborative community our first grade teachers decided to work together to write lessons that we could really use - lessons that we could love. We started with adding persuasive writing to our first grade wiki. Our wiki has become our place to house all of our resources in a single place that are available on-line! Then we began looking for resources and teachers added them to the wiki as they found them - books, chapters, blog posts about persuasive writing, PowerPoints from the Internet - resources that we could order, grab or steal!

We soon came upon the small, quick read, A Quick Guide to Teaching Persuasive Writing by Lucy Calkin's Reading and Writing Project. Our principal ordered the inexpensive books which we all read and quickly decided that persuasive letters would be a great first grade start into this new writing genre. Before long a couple of the first grade teachers agreed to write some lessons in the four-part Lucy Calkins' format that we have adopted. I admit our first lessons were hand-written notes that were typed into a Word document and then sent through e-mail for another to edit. Soon someone suggested that writing the lessons into Google Documents would allow real collaboration (wasn't me, but what a GREAT idea was that!) The lessons could appear as they were first conceived, then edited by all of the teachers as the lessons were taught! And that is exactly what is going on.

Today we met at the halfway point in the unit to share charts, books, ideas and student work. The charts that were shared have already been added to the wiki. The books that were passed around have already been added to the top of the lessons in Google Docs. The ideas will be added as the lessons are revised and examples of some of the student letters that were shared appears below! How cool is this!
Dear. Mrs. Phillips,
I think we need a water park playground. Dry playgrounds are boring. Dry slides are making you go slow. It is too dry. It is not wet. We cannot play in water. There is no diving. There is too much sun. We cannot swim.
from Carter
P.S. - This playground is boring.
Dear Mom and Dad,
I really want a puppy. I'll walk it. I'll bathe it once I finish taking a bath. I'll clean my room for a month. I'll feed it too. I really want a puppy, because remember when I went to Ariann's house? I spent half of all my day with Second. I loved it when I got to hold Second and we got to play together too even though he bit me a few times. I still want a puppy. Having a puppy will give me more responsibility. Thank you.
Love your baby girl, Jasmine

Dear Mom and Dad,
Can you get me and Miles a puppy because we love puppies and we don't have one anymore and that makes us sad. I will help you take him or her for a walk, and I will help you when he or she is hungry. I will love him or her. I will help take care of him or her and I will help you with everything.
Love, Your daughter, Mia


Kelly said...

I did this unit with my second grade class this year. I used the TC book and designed my own lessons. It was AMAZING. The kids felt so empowered. I also felt like I was teaching them truly important writing skills. More importantly, they learned the importance of writing and the effect their writing can have on the world. I can't wait to do an even better job next year. I am glad to see others feel the same way.

dayle timmons said...

Kelly, Would you be willing to share some of your lessons? Our second grade is also do this unit and they'd love to share some ideas.

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