Persuasive Letter Writing to Solve Problems

Mark Twain Elementary School

Students will practice persuasive writing as they try to solve a problem that they have encountered at school, home, or in their community.

Students will identify a problem to address and will write a persuasive letter including a suggestion for how to solve the problem.
Letter format papers
Ideas Page and Checklist from http://www.teachervision.fen.com/creative-writing/graphic-organizers/33529.html
Computer
Smart Board and Projector
Remind students that one of the reasons people write is to “persuade.”
Ask the students about things they would like to improve or change around their school.
Vote on one issue to address together. Brainstorm possible solutions for the problem. Decide who can help with the issue.
Together, write a letter to someone who can help with the problem on the Smart Board that states the issue and offers a suggestion for the solution.
Ask students to identify a problem they would like to solve. Have students share ideas with the class to help those who are having trouble thinking of ideas. Ask students to think about who can help solve the problem (a teacher, classmates, family member, etc.)
Give students the organizer to record their thoughts. After checking this with the teacher, the students can write their letter.
Students should proofread letters on their own, then with a partner or teacher. Once they have edited and revised, students can rewrite a final copy of their letters.
Students can deliver their letters if they choose.
Reflect together on if the persuasive letters that were delivered helped solve the problems.
The teacher will assess the letters for correct format, an identified problem, and reasonable solution.
Extensions: The class can continue discussing how to solve problems inside and outside school. One idea is how to write a persuasive letter or share suggestions for how to fix a problem through discussion. Students can look for examples of how problems are solved in stories and evaluate those strategies for their effectiveness in the stories and in their own experience.

Adaptations: Students are able to choose the problem they would like to address. For students who have trouble deciding on a problem or audience, the teacher can have a back-up list for those students to choose from of problems he or she has noticed or heard about from students.

Example problems could include:
Some students in our classroom are forgetting to recycle.
Kickball players sometimes spend part of their recess disagreeing on the rules of the game.
Our coats get knocked on the ground in the cafeteria when other classes look for their coats on the same hooks.
Any other problems your students have mentioned at school.
Hannah Katz-Urvan, 2nd Grade Teacher, Mark Twain Elementary School, Brentwood School District