I want to review with students the concept of a persuasive letter and what better way than having them convince ME they deserve an extra recess. So begins the teamwork. Each team must convince me that their team and their team only should get an extra recess. I give the students five minutes to come up with reasons and record them. After five minutes, a reporter from each team reads their reasons. The reasons included, "We never talk when we're not supposed to," "We do all of our homework," "You love us," and "We're good kids." There were other less convincing answers too such as, "We will behave better if we get extra recess," and "It won't be fair if you don't give us all extra recess."
We had the conversation of which answers were the most convincing but we also talked about how to make the less convincing arguments more so. (We also had to have a conversation about the word argument as many of my students only know the disagreement definition). It was a fun way to review and strengthen their understanding of convincing arguments.
After the fun review, students were ready to begin their letters. I tell the students to take their graphic organizers out and begin writing. When they finish writing they should find someone else who is done, exchange letters and edit them. Because students finish at different rates, there is sometimes a need for me to edit which is OK. I don't like to be the first one to edit so I may pull a student who's already edited and have them do another before I edit.
This entire block of time was dedicated to writing and editing and sharing ideas.
Since we already heard a lot of ideas during the planning process, I thought I would use share differently today. We used a Mix Pair Share (Kagan and Kagan, 2009) and students read their completed letters to each other but the rules were that they couldn't share with someone who already edited their letter. This way lots of people got to hear lots of different ideas and they will be able to use the ideas to enhance their own letters in the final copy stage.