iPad App Debate: How to Write a Persuasive Essay

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SWBAT compose a persuasive letter.

Big Idea

Students will learn how to compose a persuasive letter in preparation for tomorrow's culminating activity where they will compose a persuasive trying to convince me to pick their choice of iPad apps.


Lesson Opener

20 minutes

"Have you ever wanted something SOOOOOOO much that you would do ANYTHING to get it? We are going to talk about persuasion and how when we write, if we carefully craft the words, they can be used to try to convince someone to see things the way do."

I will gather the students on the carpet and start out by reading "I Wanna Iguana" by Karen Kaufman Orloff to the students.

We will then take a look at the word persuade.  I will display the word on the board and ask the students to help me come up with a good definition of the word.  

"Please turn and talk to your neighbor about what things Alex said in his letters to try and convince his mother that he needed Mikey's iguana."

We will take a minute afterword to discuss a few of their ideas.  The I will have them think for a minute about how they would try to convince their own parents or guardians that they needed an iguana.  

What would you have done differently than Alex?  


"I Wanna Iguana" by Karen Kaufman Orloff

Orloff, K. K . (2004). I Wanna Iguana. New York, NY : G.P. Putnum's Sons

Group Project

30 minutes

The students will return to their seats.  I will then walk the students through the steps of writing a persuasive essay using the "Four Square Writing Method" by Judy Gould, Evan J, Gould and Mary F. Burke. My school has chosen to focus on this method of writing as a whole school.  

Together as a class, I will walk the students through the entire writing and thought process.  (Especially since this is the first week of school and the first chance we have had to talk about the writing process.)  

The topic we will work on as a class is:

Write a letter to our school cooks asking them to add a food item to the menu which is not currently served at our school.

We will take a few minutes to brainstorm ideas and then vote on the food item that we should write about.  On the board, I will make a four square chart. (Information on this can be found in the "Four Square Writing Method"  Book mentioned above.  Click on the title of the book above to open the link to where the book can be purchased.

Three of the four squares will contain a reason for wanting that particular food to be added to the menu. Each of the three squares also needs supporting details that support the reasoning.  The last square is reserved for a compelling conclusion statement.  

Each of these squares will become a paragraph in our persuasive letter.  We will also discuss the use of transition words as we move from paragraph to paragraph.  

Together as a class, we will write the letter. I ask students to help me create sentences from our four square outline.


"Four Square Writing Method" by Judy Gould, Evan J, Gould and Mary F. Burke

Gould, J. & Gould, E. J. (2010). Four Square Writing Method for grades 4-6. Dayton, OH :Teaching and learning company.


Independent Project

20 minutes

I actually added this section after I created and taught this lesson.  While teaching, the kids wanted to take the lesson further.  They asked if they could write their own persuasive letters to the lunch cooks.  So added the independent project piece at their request.  :)

The students filled out a four square graphic organizer that they drew in their notebooks, to organize their thoughts. 

They then composed a persuasive essay addressed to the school cooks from their notes. 

Lesson Closer

5 minutes

As excited and animated as I can get, I will announce to the students that tomorrow they will be using this  "Four Square Writing Method" by Judy Gould, Evan J, Gould and Mary F. Burke, to compose a persuasive letter to convince me to purchase the iPad app that they felt was best for our grade.

"Be thinking of ideas!  Because I am not easy to convince!!!!"