I have proof that first graders can write persuasively about things they care about. They just needed someone to give them the opportunity and to then appreciate their really bad first efforts. This quote says it all.
(Click on the quote to read a post about this here thought.)
Honestly though, their really bad first efforts quickly morphed into something worth reading and publishing. I'm amazed at what they've been able to accomplish less than ten days into the unit. We have had some help along the way. Lucy Calkins and this book by Sarah Picard Taylor have been very helpful.
Without them, I would have never thought to teach the mini-lesson I taught a few days ago. Up until now, we've been relying heavily upon backing up our opinions with reasons, which is exactly where I've wanted them. (We had to do something about the excessive use of "pretty please" which just isn't as convincing.) A few days ago they learned that a significant small moment can also be used to support their opinions. Honestly, I wasn't sure if they would embrace the concept. Little did I know. Check this out.
Dear Mom, I love you mom. Remember when we went to the flower patch and we were picking flowers together when I was three? It was fun, really fun. That's why I love you, and you are the best mom in the world. I really love you. Love, Dejia
I've already decided Dejia's letter will be a perfect student sample to share when I teach this lesson next year. I'm so glad I was able to accept their first bad efforts. It's paying off!
I'm by no means a persuasive writing expert, but if anyone is curious about additional posts on the topic, check them out here and think about purchasing the book I mentioned above. It's a great resource.