with Bruce Van Patter 2009-2010 School Visits

My return to South Lebanon Elementary!

Today we focused on writing persuasively. And what a great time we had!

I had four kids think of types of people or animals and four kids think of activities or jobs, then Mr. Ferguson chose one card from each group to give us our random topic.

The topic: Should giant pigs be allowed to play soccer?

The verdict: We had three good reasons for and against. Many of them had to do with the big pig popping the ball, which apparently is a good thing to some kids and not so good to others. I thought the ideas, pro and con, were funny and creative. In the end, the school thought that big pigs would be fun to watch play soccer!

In addition to all the free material on this site, I have downloadable books that are perfect for keeping kids writing in school or at home!

(click on books to see)

The Adventures of Pirate Dog
Picture prompts are a great way to inspire kids to write! Here are 26 of my best drawings with fun, pre-writing worksheets

Write Your Own
Kids can add the
dialogue and their special touches to my funny comic strips filled with wacky characters!

Sparks: Year One
Here’s a fantastic resource for teachers: a whole year of weekly creative writing lessons built around wacky holidays!

More to come!

Workshop persuasion

The combination of cards we got in this workshop was "Superheroes playing outside."

Then the Persuasobox gave us a book review as our form of persuasive writing.

So we imagined a book called The Sidekick in which a superhero boy goes to a playground to find a trusty pal. But by using his powers, the boy -- Goofy Guy -- scares off all the other kids. Who's left? A squirrel!

The third-graders did a great job coming up with the top ten reason to like this book or dislike the book. That's not bad for an imaginary book! I then drew this picture of my favorite scene in the book, when Goofy Guy spins the carousel too hard. Only the squirrel seems to like it!

In this workshop, we got the combination of a big, ex-football player and skateboarding. The Persuasobox gave us an advertise-ment to write.

We imagined a product that was a turbo-powered skateboard that could be used to get around tacklers. This guy who is using it is our "character." He's a high school kid who was cut from the team because he was too slow.

The skateboard had some amazing extras. It had a detachable water bottle, a video screen to watch your replays, and best of all, a GPS that you could input the other team's plays and it would move you around the tacklers!

The fourth graders came up with all kinds of pros and cons for the product. At first, they were my ad agency. Then they became the product reviewers! Great job everyone!

What does this picture on the left have to do with a letter to the editor? We combined a fancy-dressed woman and exploring to come up with an underground town in the Sahara which is a time-travelers' stopping point. They call everyone above ground "Stakers."

The question in the town is, "Should Stakers be allowed to come into the town?" The reason this arose is because this woman had accidently found her way in, sinking down through the sand whirlpool. She's actually a classy thief, looking for the broach that powers the time portal. It was her grandmother's broach before someone found out its powers and stole it.

So the fifth-graders did an excellent job of coming up with both sides of the issue. There were great reasons for both letting Stakers in and for keeping them out. I drew a picture of her trying to escape with the broach.

Great minds think alike! What fun it was to have kids come up with quirky ideas that we combined into ideas for persuasive arguments.

I hope you all had as much as I did. Persuasive writing doesn't have to be boring! Thanks for making it interesting, everyone!

Speak up! Let people know what you think!

And don't forget to check out the fun stuff on my site!

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