Here’s what the Common Core has to say writing standards for sixth grade:
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6.1 Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6.1a Introduce claim(s) and organize the reasons and evidence clearly.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6.1b Support claim(s) with clear reasons and relevant evidence, using credible sources and demonstrating an understanding of the topic or text.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6.1c Use words, phrases, and clauses to clarify the relationships among claim(s) and reasons.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6.1d Establish and maintain a formal style.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6.1e Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from the argument presented.
Test prep can be so dry and boring…unless, of course, you are the good people at the Teacher’s College Reading and Writing Project, who have done amazing work to make teaching everything a rich and interesting experience. Last year, I was lucky enough to be able to attend the TC February Institute, where many workshops focused on persuasive writing. One of the innovative things I learned about was the use of videos in Reading and Writing Workshop – and especially how to use videos to lay the groundwork for persuasive writing. Enter the Great Chocolate Milk debate!
I learned that we could use news clips and dairy industry videos to introduce claims and counter claims about serving chocolate milk with school lunches: good thing? bad thing? Well…listen to both sides, decide and then use the evidence to write to persuade. Brilliant! What better way to get my kids to sit up and pay attention to persuasive writing mini lessons than to serve it up with chocolate milk?!
I took lots of notes during my workshop at TC, but Lucy and her team are so generous with their work – it is also available online for teachers everywhere to delve in and give it a try. I took a little bit from here, a little more from there and here’s how it all went down in my classroom today:
We began by brainstorming about what persuasion is all about in the first place, and charted or thinking. I found this little clip to reinforce those basic ideas before we moved on (my kids loved it):
Then we charted the bare bones of a persuasive essay in our Writer’s Notebooks: