with Bruce Van Patter 2009-2010 School Visits

My return visit to Crim Elementary!

I came back to Crim today to tackle another kind of writing that kids need inspiration for: persuasive writing. We had fun coming up with random combinations for our topics. And this year, I drew for the assembly kids on my computer and had it projected! Wow -- it's still hard for me to do that. But I was able to put more detail on them later.
The Assembly Persuasive topices

The topic: Should cowboys be allowed to beg in boxes

The verdict: First let me say how much that topic makes me laugh. I don't know how the student came up with "beg in boxes" but it's just the kind of off-the-wall idea I love.

So after having three students give reasons for and three against, the students voted, saying they thought it was a bad idea to let cowboys annoy people on the street.

Later, I added the boy, the horse and the message on the box.

That's right -- let's keep those cowboys from roping in donations!


The topic: Should archeologists be permitted to be artists?

The verdict: This time, the assembly kids said yes. Why? Because archeologists would have the best knowledge for how to capture all the realistic detail of the creatures they study.

But since I always have to add an element of humor, I decided to put a kid in the lower right running away out of fear. I'm thinking he's the kind of know-it-all kid who annoys people by going on and on about how much he knows about a subject.

I wasn't sure if we could generate pro and con on this random topic, but the kids did a great job!

The workshop debates

The topic: inventors and a fashion show

The kind of persuasive writing? An advertisement. We thought of an inventor kid who creates a suit for outdoor adventurers that has all kinds of gadgets that will help them in the wild. Things like bug sprayers and a jet pack and a GPS.

The verdict: Even though there was one girl who strongly disagreed with our vote, we decided that the risk of the suit would make wearing it dangerous! We pretended that a Consumer Protection group secretly filmed the inventor wearing the suit when it went haywire!

So this is our ad warning people not to buy or use the suit.


The topic: a fisherman who fixes bathrooms

The kind of persuasive writing? Another advertisement! (My Persuasobox chose for us.)

Here we imagined that a woman fisherman (fisherperson?) crossed an eel with a piranha to create a SINK-EEL -- a creature that can be put down a sink to clear out the gunk and keep the water flowing.

The verdict: Again, we didn't trust the product. Though it sounded pretty good at first, we imagined all the things that could go wrong. The three reasons for CON were pretty convincing, especially how such a creature might wreck the environment if it ever got out into the wild!

The kids did a great job coming up with reasons for both sides!


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So, Crim kids, now you know that voicing your opinion can be important and fun. Remember that when you write your next report -- or you write your essay for the New Jersey essay contest. Your opinions are worth being heard! Speak up! Make your arguments, pro or con. Remember, sometimes, kids can change things!

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Over a hundred million wacky headlines wait for you to use them to make your own story!

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