Now that we are well into the month of May, students are working on persuasive writing. My fourth graders are writing to third graders who are coming to our school next year. It's a great focus for us as students have an authentic audience and a real reason to write.
Today we worked on writing introductions. Fourth graders can learn some key ideas about introductions, and can use good models to write strong introductions of their own. This page outlines the first part of the lesson:
After students learned about the parts of an introduction, they started to write their own. We are writing letters to incoming fourth graders right now to persuade them that they will enjoy our school. (Kids are very excited to write for this audience about this timely topic!) Some students jumped right into the introduction, describing our playground, lunch, or intramurals in detail. Others had more difficulty.
I turned these struggles into our closure for the session. Students love bringing their writing up to the document camera to display to everyone. Today I asked, "Let's hear from those of you who struggled a bit as you worked."
I wasn't sure how many students would want to share their struggles, but about 10 raised their hands. One student said, "I had trouble with the concession bit, because I couldn't imagine what a tiny person would think." (Ah, looking back on the end of third grade with the lofty maturity of a fourth grader!) After students shared, they could call on other students to share comments or questions. A girl said, "I had trouble with the concession part too."
Another student volunteered to share his difficulty with writing a position statement, and another stood up to share her efforts to write an interesting hook. "I finally wrote something down, it's basic, but I think it will work," she said after she read her piece aloud.
It was a lovely writing session and a pleasant debriefing time, the kind of moment that exemplifies end-of-year fourth grade. And it was a little bittersweet for me because I know that our little classroom community is coming to an end...only 20 more days to have conversations like this.
-The entire persuasive writing unit can be found here.
-This Frolyc activity, ready to send to student iPads, helps students to analyze persuasive text.