Workshop 4: Teaching Persuasive Writing
Key Practices To Observe in Workshop 4
In this workshop, you will see a number of effective practices for helping
students develop as writers, including the following:
- Teachers "invite" writing by leading students to write
about matters they know and care about. The reason for writing is to
accomplish something students find important: persuading others to bring
about a desired change in the school or community. Students are writing
for realistic, authentic purposes and are drawing on their own experiences
- Teachers and students spend ample time preparing to write: brainstorming,
talking, reading samples, making a list of features, conferencing, using
a graphic organizer, and planning their arguments and methods of support
for their ideas.
- Teachers promote student ownership by encouraging students to share
their thoughts about writing samples, ask questions, and make decisions
about their own writing.
- Teachers foster a positive atmosphere for writing by
demonstrating respect for students and their writing, by expecting
students to respect each other, by promoting student ownership, by
students to share their thoughts, by offering positive response to
students, by arranging for open discussion, and by listening carefully
- Teachers arrange for students to read and discuss samples of writing
like those they are preparing to write.
- Students analyze and evaluate samples and form lists of characteristics
they can refer to as they develop their own writing. Teachers display
model pieces on the overhead projector so students can both see and
hear the sample and/or provide written copies for the students to refer
to as they think about the writing.
- In discussing samples, teachers use questioning techniques and synthesize
students' ideas to promote both an awareness of criteria for good
writing and an understanding of why these features are important.
- Teachers are sharply focused, methodical, and clearly intentional
in conducting lessons about writing, such as lessons on building
a persuasive argument, thinking about readers, or using an appropriate
tone. Students are expected to apply these lessons in completing their
- Teachers reveal useful techniques for managing a writing workshop,
such as mini-lessons, teacher- and peer-conferencing, analysis
of samples, sharing of ideas and works-in-progress, and modeling writing.
- Teachers concentrate on helping students develop skills as writers;
the emphasis of instruction is not solely on a particular piece of writing.