This is a great time of year to cover persuasive writing in fourth grade. Students know the workshop routines quite well and have a good command of the steps in setting up a writing piece. They have created a list of personal topics which contain the practical--school uniforms, to the whimsical--having your birthday off. They can list the pros and even the cons of their topic, as one should consider the other point-of-view, then they can turn these reasons into a paragraphed persuasive piece.
Today I whipped them into a writing fury by talking about an issue dear to their academic hearts. I told them that due to the upcoming budget cuts next year, there will not be a science teacher. Classroom teachers will be taking on that subject. Their devastated faces stared at me. Then the heated discussion began.
A while later I announced, "O.K. get your pencils going and write your persuasive pieces. " Rough drafts of letters to the newspaper, school board members and superintendents were started. We googled quotes to fit. They were off and running. Engaged in an important to them topic written as a persuasive piece.