Go On, Convince Me

Room 13 is developing ways to use “voice” in their writing. In young writers this needs to be nourished and encouraged so students gain confidence as writers. 

Umbrellas are something that all the students have had personal experience with. The class was divided into small groups to share the pros and cons of using one. Unanimously, the students agreed that umbrellas needed to do the job of keeping us dry better.

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Fortunately, due to the weather we had different examples of umbrellas to observe at our fingertips. Each umbrella's merits were discussed and opinions expressed about it’s effectiveness. All this oral language was great preparation for the writing that followed.

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Initially, students introduced the topic and gave an opinion about the usefulness of umbrellas. They included a brief history of the technological advances and how they thought an umbrella could be made better. Below are some student examples.

The problem with umbrellas is they blow away when it’s windy. The first umbrellas were made to protect people from the sun. Then the umbrellas were used for fashion and used to keep dry when it is raining. An umbrella would be better if it didn’t break when there’s lightning or blow away in a storm. It would also be better if it didn’t blow inside out when it’s windy. By Luke

The problem with umbrellas is they don’t keep you warm. An umbrella has a handle that you hold onto and if you had a backpack umbrella you won’t have to hold it. The first umbrellas were made to shade people from the sun so they didn’t get sunburn. Then umbrellas were used to keep you dry when they used water proof material. An umbrella would be better if it didn’t break when it’s in a storm and if it didn’t turn inside out. If an umbrella didn’t break in the rain people would be using umbrellas all the time. By Chase 

The problem with umbrellas is they aren’t helpful in storms because they blow away. Umbrellas protect you from the rain. An umbrella has a handle to hold. Umbrellas have different coloured canopies. The first umbrellas were made to shade people then they were created to keep people dry. The umbrellas were also used for fashion and men started carrying them too. An umbrella would be better if it didn’t use up one hand. It is annoying to hold because you can only hold one other thing. By Lennon

The problem with umbrellas is they can’t keep your whole body dry. Umbrellas are supposed to protect you from the rain. An umbrella has a runner so it can go up and down and a handle to hold. A rib makes it stable. The first umbrellas were made to shade people from the sun so they don’t get sunburnt. Then they were made to protect people from the rain. An umbrella would be better if it didn’t break or go inside out when the wind blows down. By Liam

The problem with umbrellas is they flip up. An umbrella has a handle to hold onto and they have a cap. The first umbrellas were made to shade people and you would be in fashion if you had one. An umbrella would be better if it didn’t break in the rain like my one did. By Matthew

Designing an umbrella of their dreams was next on the list and students took turns to share their designs in a small group. Feedback was given about potential pitfalls to the design and suggestions to remedy these problems were made. 

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Persuasive writing helps students identify specific reasons for their opinions, and provides the opportunity to research factual information that supports their opinions. Students begin to understand how writing can influence or change someone’s thoughts or actions. This is important as they are exposed to plenty of persuasive language through the media. Fortunately, there are a lot of picture books around that we can discuss during our Shared Reading sessions which we can learn more about persuasive writing from.

Keywords: opinion writing, ‘voice’, reasoning, oral language

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