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Tony G. Cox

Make Essay Writing Fun

Personalizing the Persuasive Essay

Teens can be very persuasive if they want something badly. Here are some ideas for sparking enthusiasm and helping students master persuasive essay writing.
Whether it is borrowing the car or extending a curfew, when teenagers want something they are motivated. Here are some ways to harness that enthusiasm and turn it toward essay writing help. The persuasive essay is a natural place to start when teaching essay writing to middle schoolers, or reviewing essay structures with high school students, since adolescents are already interested in the power of persuasion.

Activities to Spark Student Interest

Have the students brainstorm persuasive essay topic ideas. Make the list meaningful by guiding them to come up with situations they would like to change. These situations can be personal, community-related, or global. Invite students to approach the whiteboard and write their ideas. As a whole class, discuss the list and direct students to pick a topic they would like to write about. Try to encourage students to pick different topics.

Take a topic from the student-generated list and model ideas supporting an argument. Then have students write their own supporting ideas for their chosen topics in their notebooks. For example, if a student’s topic is “Why mom should increase my allowance” the student should list at least five reasons supporting his opinion.

Persuasive Essay Structure

Utilizing available technology, such as an overhead projector, or a teacher-created power point presentation, have students take notes on persuasive essay structure. After developing a topic idea into a complete sentence that forms a thesis statement, students will be able to sketch out their essays using the teacher-provided notes. In pairs, have students help each other help writing essay ideas into the structure. (A teacher-made graphic organizer and an assessment rubric on persuasive essay structure is necessary for this activity.) Use this segment of the lesson to model ways of expanding on topic sentences within the essay. Always referring back to a thesis statement in the introductory paragraph will keep students focused on their argument.

Teach Students to Proofread

One idea is to first have students peer edit for grammar and sentence structure mistakes. This activity is most effective when students work in pairs. Emphasize the importance of re-reading an essay aloud to check for errors. The teacher should circulate the room to answer grammar questions while peer editing takes place. A grammar test is necessary for reference at each peer editing table. Then the teacher can collect the papers and double-check the edits.

Persuasive Essay Assessment

For homework, students write their essays. Have them present to the class incorporating props, diagrams or other visual aids for extra credit. These ideas will help students get a grip on persuasive essay structure, and enjoy writing them. When students take part in creating the assignment and have an opportunity to choose an issue that interests them, they are more likely to understand how to write a persuasive essay.

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