Lesson plan

Strategic School Persuasion

Persuasive writing is at hand! With authentic and relevant school-related topics, students will encounter and use organizational structures found in persuasive essays.
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  • Students will be able to organize a persuasive essay, which includes an opinion and corresponding reasons.
(5 minutes)
  • Introduce the topic of prewriting organization to your class. Explain that writers sometimes use sequencing organization, such as when they are writing a story.
  • Ask student volunteers to share their opinion about familiar topics, such as certain types of foods, pets, etc.
  • Tell your students that today, they will be learning how to organize a persuasive essay using some school-related topics.
(15 minutes)
  • Introduce the main parts of a persuasive essay: the introduction (which contains the opinion), the body (which includes the reasons), and the conclusion (which summarizes and restates the opinion).
  • If desired, ask your class to help brainstorm a mnemonic device, diagram, or illustration that can help them remember each part of a persuasive essay.
  • Introduce a school-related topic to model this process for your students. For example: Should teachers ask students to work individually or in groups?
  • Using sentence strips and three different colored markers, color code the introduction, body, and conclusion as follows:
    • For the first sentence strip, use one color to state your opinion (e.g. Students should have opportunities to work together in groups.)
    • For the next three sentence strips, use a second color and model the process of writing three reasons for that opinion (e.g. Working in groups gives students opportunities to get to know each other.; When students work in groups they can help each other if one group member is struggling.; Students can learn cooperation and sharing by working together.
    • Using the last sentence strip, use a third color to model the process of writing a concluding statement (e.g. It is important for students to work together in groups.)
  • Place all of the sentence strips in order on a pocket chart.
  • Model the process of creating paragraphs using these ideas. Emphasize the importance of elaboration.
(15 minutes)
  • Divide students into groups of three or four.
  • Introduce another school-related topic for persuasive essay organization. For example: Where should students go on a field trip? or Should a class take a virtual field trip?
  • Distribute sentence strips and markers to each group.
  • Ask the students to write an introduction on one sentence strip, three opinions (each on one sentence strip), and a conclusion on the final sentence strip.
  • Circulate around the room to assist as needed.
  • Once all groups are finished planning the structure of their persuasive essay, have individual groups share their work by placing their sentence strips in the pocket chart and explaining their ideas.
(15 minutes)
  • Lead the students in a brief brainstorm of various devices that can be used in the classroom (e.g. tablet, desktop computer, laptop computer, and phone).
  • Invite students to complete the Devices in the Classroom worksheet independently.
  • Circulate around the room and prompt students as needed.


  • For students who need a little extra practice generating reasons that match opinions, ask students to complete the What’s the Reason? worksheet.


  • For students who need a little extra challenge, ask them to use a newspaper or school newspaper and create a persuasive essay, responding to one of the articles or a letter to the editor.
  • If desired, prepare the basic outline in separate moveable lines on an interactive whiteboard. Show the students how you can select each sentence that matches each different part of the persuasive essay.
  • Use an interactive whiteboard to create a game in which students take different elements of a persuasive essay (mixed up) and place them in order.
(10 minutes)
  • Ask the students to complete the Talking Points: School Lunches worksheet.
  • Check to see that students’ claims and reasons correlate to form a cohesive plan for a persuasive essay.
(5 minutes)
  • Ask your students to create a diagram that shows the overall structure of a persuasive essay and to label the parts.
  • Invite students to share their diagrams or illustrations with the rest of the class.
  • Conclude the lesson with a brief discussion of the purpose of persuasive essays.

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