Student Work: by A.

Before I taught persuasive writing, I had the students write a persuasive essay about iPods at school (they are forbidden here). Here is A.'s essay (I corrected some grammar and spelling, but not much):
I think that iPods should be allowed in school.

I believe that if we had iPods in school, then we would work when we should and we would be more successful.

I also think that if we had heavy metal rock on it then we would not be able to concentrate therefore we would have to be limited to certain songs and/or artists.

I think that it would be a problem though if the teacher needed to say something or the bell rings because we wouldn't be able to hear so as a solution think that we should only be allowed to have one earphone in.

I know that there are some rough spots that would have to be worked out, but I still think that it would be better.
This essay is pretty indicative of the essays that I got back from my students. There are a lot of problems with this, and I left some of the mistakes in. Each paragraph is only one sentence long and then it is time to move on to something new.

The students wrote their essays about iPods last week. Then, I taught them how to write a persuasive essay. They wrote one as a group, and then they wrote these yesterday on their own.
I gave the students this topic for a persuasive essay: "Should 7th Graders Wear Deodorant?" Look at how much better A. did on her first essay after learning this strategy (I corrected some grammar and spelling, but not much):

Have you ever sat by someone and they were the stinkiest person that you have ever smelled? Some people believe that seventh graders don't need to wear deodorant...but we know better. Seventh graders must be some of the stinkiest people in the world! (Boys in particular.)

One reason seventh graders must start to wear deodorant is because they have just started to hit puberty, and I don't think that they realize that as you get older you start to smell worse. For example, have you noticed that your grandmother or grandfather smell all musty? That is because they're old. It is possible that you are saying, "Well, what about babies? They stink, though." But that is only because they are not potty trained, but imagine that if they were they wouldn't be so smelly.

Another reason seventh graders should wear deodorant is because if they ride the bus they they are permanently out of friends. For example, the bus doesn't have any air conditioning and then they start to give off deadly fumes and the worst part is that you can't just get off the bus because then you would just end up walking home when it wasn't even your fault.

In addition to hitting puberty and being smelly on the bus, seventh graders must wear deodorant because when they sweat, the salt in the perspiration will dry and make your skin flaky, and the rubbing of your arms as you walk will chafe the skin in your pits, therefore, you have to buy medicated lip balm to soothe the pain and ease the chafing. This is a much more expensive alternative rather than buying a cheap stick of deodorant.

As you can see, puberty, being smelly on the bus, and sweating show that it is a matter of life and death for both the seventh grader and those who are older to slather a destinkifying white stick, commonly known as deodorant.
This essay is not perfect, but she did a pretty good job of staying on topic and following the outline I posted previously. For seventh graders, organization is a very difficult thing to do. This second essay is way better than her first essay. This is great! You see, seeing students achieve something that is so much better than what they did before makes teaching worthwhile.

Have a Good Life.


    That is pretty impressive! What special techniques do you have to get these results?

    And why are iPods forbidden in your school?! You're kidding me...what if you provided them in class and then didn't let them take the iPods home...

    I'm thinking that a kid may be interested in listening to a book or listening to a lesson again or listening to...

    All that I did was teach the previous lesson on how to write a persuasive essay, and I let them use the PocketMod book. iPods are forbidden for the sake of uniformity. But, I did put in a request for an iPod Touch or two or three. With the App Store coming out, I think that would be just amazing, as there will be some great apps for education, I am sure. I hope that they give me the grant.