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Persuasive 3rd Graders

by Alyson Hill, 3rd Grade Teacher

Persuasive Letters is one of the 3rd Grade writing units. We first defined the word "persuade" and made a list of all the things we wanted to change or persuade someone to do. We even wrote a class letter to Mr. Fixx as a model, "Can we please have a swimming pool at TCS?"

We used OREO to help organize our writing: Opinion, Reason, Evidence, Opinion. The children next came up with their own topics wrote letters, many to Mr. Fixx or their parents.

We invited Mr. Fixx into our class and shared some of our letters with him.

 

Here is his response:

Dear Third Grade Parents – –

I just spent a delightful 45 minutes with your children as they shared a recent assignment with me. Under guidance from Miss Hill and Mrs. Kling, they have been learning to write persuasive letters, making an argument in favor of something they want to achieve. They are clearly sophisticated at this, having practiced on all of you when they wanted to stay up late or get takeout pizza. 

The writing is actually quite sophisticated and the arguments were well formed, even if ​some of the ideas were ​somewhat impractical or unlikely to be supported by the general parent body. I was greatly entertained, very impressed, and at times amused. 

If it were up to your 3rd Graders, the school year would be the same length but they would be picked up at the traffic circles in the morning by roller coasters and they would get down to the playground and ballfields even quicker by using cable zip lines. Those would also help them ​"​keep cool on hot days.​"​

There would be an ice cream machine at school that would not only be enjoyable but that would teach children how to "precisely figure out how much an ice cream cup w​eighs​ and they would learn how to measure ice cream to fit in the cup." This ice cream machine, by the way, would be ​"sprayed in gold and molded like a Ninja Slug,​"​  whatever a Ninja Slug is.

If it were up to your children, the playground would have a super jumbo water park to "help us get good exercise" and "could have a giant bubble around it in the winter."

Your 3rd Graders made a persuasive argument for a vending machine at school, "because kids are always kind of hungry after snack. The writer concluded, "I think we should have a vending machine because it would help the Middle School kids and the Lower School kids if they forget to bring a snack."

They also think a swimming pool on campus would be a great idea – – and so do I – – because "we can learn to swim because swimming is a life-saving skill." They also want to make everything in classrooms gold because "if someone was sad, shiny gold will cheer them up."

And finally, they strongly advise me to let them "have a Bring a Pet to School Day because it would give us extra exercise in PE and if you're allergic you could stay home that day." To persuade me, the two students offered "to clean your office for a week, paint your office over, and scrub the windows until they shine."

 

​Some other students are still working on their letters and so I am braced for more. ​

To be able to write a persuasive letter or argue your parents into something requires empathy and reading your audience. Their writing was terrific, their typing was impressive, and their arguments anticipated objections. You can be very proud. Congratulations to Miss Hill and Mrs. Kling. I very much enjoyed the time with your children. Ask them about it.

John