Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wild, Wacky and Wonderful Wednesday and Persuasive Writing

It's Wednesday!  Not Monday.  Not Tuesday.  Wednesday.

I have had to repeat that to myself all day today, since my long weekend threw off my brain.   Thankfully my class has gym on both Mondays and Wednesdays, so I didn't have to worry about taking them to the wrong special.

Since it's Wednesday, it's time to link up with Alisha from First Grade Follies for her second ever Wild, Wacky, Wonderful Wednesday linky party.

Here's what's been going on in my life and my classroom:


The kids had a blast playing Bingo and several other fun games today for G-Game Day on our ABC Countdown.  They always get quite wild and excited when they have a word or get Bingo.

As I've already posted about, last week my kids got decked out in some funky 80's clothes.  They were so cute!

Groovy Green
I just got my new sharpener from Classroom Friendly Supplies in the mail today.  I can't wait to try it out!  Stay tuned for a demo in the near future.

Now, it's time to join Jivey for Workshop Wednesday.  This week's theme is persuasive writing.

This year, persuasive writing was a new unit for all of us in first grade.  Although it took us all a bit to wrap our minds around the idea of persuasive letter writing, we all came out on the other side of the unit feeling good about how our kids had done.  In fact, even some of my struggling writer's caught on to this style surprisingly well.

Here are some of the ideas and resources I used to teach persuasive writing.

To begin the unit, I introduced the students topersuasive writing by reading  I Wanna Iguana by Karen Kaufman Orloff.

Next, I used several pages and posters from Brigid's awesome Persuasive Writing Pack to teach the kids what it means persuade someone and the difference between facts and opinions.  I highly recommend checking up her pack.  It has some awesome Fact and Opinion posters, sorts, and note-taking pages.  They really helped my students understand the concepts.

To help students apply their understanding of Fact vs. Opinion, we reread I Wanna Iguana and then discussed the different examples of facts and opinions that Alex includes in his letters.  For example, it's a fact that iguanas are quiet, but thinking that iguanas are cute is a matter of opinion.

After that, I introduced students to the OREO format of persuasive writing and we really dug deep into how to think of reasons that mattered to the audience of the letter and examples of those reasons.  Some  ideas we talked about were including personal stories or bargains (If you give/do...I will...).  The kids really enjoyed coming up with bargains.  They had some very creative ideas including promising to do 5 extra pieces of homework one night if I didn't give them homework that night.  I'm not sure they thought that one through.  Hehehe.

As the students caught on to how to write letters, I began to get them thinking about craft some more.  We talked about author's voice/style and how different writers have different voices.  To help the students see this idea in action, I used I Wanna New Room, Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, and The True Story of the Three Little Pigs.
After I read excerpts of each book, I asked the students to describe the voice of the character who was trying to persuade someone.  Then, we compared and contrasted the voices.  Here's how we described them:
  • Alex (I Wanna Iguana and I Wanna New Room)- sounds relatively smart and responsible; only a little bit of "pleading/begging;" uses facts that appeal to his audience
  • Pigeon (Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus)- sounds whiny and annoying; totally begging and pleading; doesn't consider his audience.
  • Wolf (The True Story of the Three Pigs)- sounds somewhat smart, somewhat sneaky; tries to appeal to "common sense;" stays calm and cool, rather than pleading
Finally, we discussed which tone was more convincing.  I used this discussion to help get the kids away from saying "please" over and over again because it sounded whiny like the pigeon, rather than smart and convincing like Alex.

Overall, the persuasive writing unit was a super fun one.  The kids enjoyed it and I enjoyed it.  I look forward to visiting everyone else's Workshop Wednesday posts to gather even more new ideas to make the unit even better next year.

Now, before I head off to lift weights and perhaps lesson plan, I have to announce tomorrow's Tricks of the Trade topic.  It is...

How do you store your posters/bulletin board materials?

Link up tomorrow to share your Tricks of the Trade! :)


  1. I love the OREO method too! Thanks for linking up! :)
    ideas by jivey
    Follow Me On Facebook! :)

  2. I forgot about the True Story of the Three Little Pigs-I normally use it to teach point of view...but it would be great for persuasive too! Thanks for the idea.

    Hunter's Tales from Teaching

  3. Oooo, I haven't thought to use The True Story of the Three Little Pigs for persuasive! Nice! I will definitely have to remember that for next year so I can spiral the genres throughout the year! Thank you!

    Collaboration Cuties

  4. Love, love, love the True Story of Little Pigs. So many cool lessons hiding in there. :) Great post.
    Brandee @ Creating Lifelong Learners

  5. Hey Becky!
    Thanks for linking up! You will LOVE your Classroom Friendly sharpener! My principal bought one for each teacher in my building after trying mine! Teachers were sending kids to my room just to sharpen pencils! Ha!
    Hope you're having a great week! You're getting closer to summer!
    First Grade Follies

    1. Hi Alisha,

      Thanks for hosting again. I love the concept of the linky. Also, I tried out my sharpener and it does seem great! I just have to figure out how to clamp it to the table a bit better. It sharpens so well though. I hope the kids will be able to use it.

      Have a great weekend!

      Compassionate Teacher

  6. Lots of great ideas! I never thought of using unifix cubes as bingo markers. Love it! I know that's not even the main point of your blog entry, but it's just brilliant!

    Teacher at the Wheel