I begin my introduction of persuasive techniques by assessing students' prior knowledge. My flip chart introduces Ethos with a definition of ethical reasoning. An example is shown on the Ethos Flip Chart of someone who is trustworthy or has expertise in the topic of discussion ("believe in me because I have been in your shoes....").
Accessing prior knowledge for my students revolves around unearthing age appropriate real world experiences. We discuss propaganda or advertisements that try to convince you to do something. One student shared an advertisement that students should eat healthy snacks, presented by an expert, a doctor. Another student mentions a claim by a veterinarian that pets need vaccinations. If you trust the person making the claim, it is a persuasive technique called, "Ethos". We continue sequentially through the flip chart to scaffold from prior knowledge to new information.
This activity relates to the standard by encouraging students to support their opinions in written work. Students provide valid reasons through the use of persuasive techniques to sustain their opinions. Therefore, students must use relevant and sufficient evidence to support their claims or opinions.
I model a sample persuasive writing to students prior to gradually releasing ownership of this activity to them. Second grade students need concrete examples to understand expectations for this activity. First, we discuss the definition of Ethos and clarify any misconceptions during the discussion. We selected a topic to use as a claim from a list of persuasive writing ideas that I give students. Then, I ask students to assist me in completing the Persuasive Writing Graphic Organizer. Once students complete the organizer, I ask students to select only one supportive reason from their list. We draw a picture with a caption that shows our claim with supportive reasoning based on ethos strategy. Then we discuss our product (advertisement using ethos). I ask students to select a different topic for their project so that they are not tempted to copy from the model.
I gradually release ownership to students as they work collaboratively in pairs or triads to create an advertisement or propaganda that exemplifies "Ethos". I provide students with a graphic organizer to guide them in the writing process. Students share their ideas within their collaborative team, using digital resources such as websites listing ideas for persuasive topics, access to online search tools, downloaded articles on various persuasive topics, etc. to gather supports for their drawing. I ask students to follow a caption format, by drawing a picture and text description to show an example of Ethos.
At the conclusion of this activity, students present their final product via an Ethos Presentation activity.
I ask students to communicate their level of understanding. They rated themselves on our scoring rubric that correlated with our goal, introduced on the Promethean Flip chart at the beginning of the lesson. We discussed what we learned and also addressed concepts that are still confusing to students. I scaffold knowledge based on prior experiences of my students to address the complexity of Common Core standards. Partnering students to collaborate together is one way I provide support. Actually, they are supporting each other. However, I am circulating during their activities and readily available to assist. Due to my students' age group, their real world experiences are limited. Sharing experiences during class discussion is meaningful to students. They learn from their peers by actively listening to others' perspectives. I expose students to these complex tasks and abstract concepts in order to build their present knowledge. In later grades, the knowledge they gained in my class becomes "prior knowledge".