Lesson Starters – ks2 Persuasive Writing Support materials for teachers

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Lesson Starters – KS2 Persuasive Writing

Support materials for teachers

Persuasive writing is all about convincing someone else to adopt a different point of view. Persuasive texts can take many different forms which employ similar structures and features. The children will need to construct their writing using good reasons and factual evidence, appropriate language, short sentences for emphasis and words such as connectives and imperatives as well as personal pronouns. These Lesson Starters are designed as a prompt for a range of persuasive writing activities across Years 3 – 6.

Interactive whiteboard (IWB) opportunities

The clips can all be used on an interactive whiteboard or adapted using the whiteboard tools to capture video screen shots straight into the notebook. You can then annotate over the screen using the pen tools and make interactive resources within notebook such as spelling and vocabulary. Having captured a still image from the clip, the spotlight or reveal facility can be used to focus on one particular aspect.

Download the Lesson Starter clips and save them on the desktop or a memory stick. The clips can be edited using Windows Movie Maker and/or put into a PowerPoint presentation. This also allows pupils to write or rewrite a news report or make a multi-media presentation.

^ 1. School Uniform – For and Against 00:30 - 2:45

Pupils express opposing views in the age-old debate about school uniform.

Before watching: Set up a ‘concept line’ (long piece of rope/string) across the classroom. The children come up and position themselves on the line according to their point of view. In this example, one end would represent view ‘For’ school uniform and the opposite end ‘Against’. Those unsure would place themselves somewhere in the middle.

^ Revise the argument: These are some of the quotes from the children in the clip. The ‘For’ comments and the ‘Against’ comments are all mixed up. Ask the children, in groups, to cut out the boxes and sort them under ‘For’ and ‘Against’.

^ These are the comments from the children in the clip. Cut them out and separate them into ‘For’ and ‘Against’ columns.

“If you’re wearing school uniform you just can’t choose and be free to wear what you think you could wear”

“If you choose school uniform it’s much quicker but if you spend loads of time choosing your own clothes, you’ll probably be late for school”

“I think school uniform is a good idea because (people) would know you are from a school and you can be proud of your school”

“I chose this top because it’s a really nice top and my jeans - they’re my favourite jeans and my shoes. I think it’s really good because it’s your personality”

“When you wear jeans and T shirt you feel like you’re more at home and you don’t have to worry if you get your jumper messy”

“…. in a museum and you are lost, but you have school uniform on, they know you are part of a school”

“Some people can’t afford really nice clothes. (Some) people might not be as rich as other people so they might just wear scruffy clothes and people might make fun of them”

“The reason I do enjoy wearing my own clothes is because I can express who I really am, my personality and my feelings, but in school uniform it’s just plain blue and you don’t have any colour on you”

“Well I think school uniform is bad idea because your mums and dads have to spend too much money and every single year they have to keep buying your uniform”

“When I’m with my friends and I’m wearing the same thing, I feel safe”

^ Think and discuss: When the children have sorted the comments they can discuss the issue and add two or more points to each category.

Make a presentation: The children are given a scenario of a school council meeting in which the council members have asked for a review to update the current school uniform. They role play the meeting and practise presenting their views to the headteacher (teacher in role). To help them present their case, the children (school council members) could complete the grid below

^ What’s wrong with the current school uniform

How we would like to change it

The following points could be shown on the interactive whiteboard for reference.

Say who you are and why you are speaking

You are from the school council, when you met recently it was a full meeting and everyone felt strongly……..

Make your first point

Members of the council had been asked as representatives of the school to put forward an argument in favour of improving the school uniform…..

What is your next point

What’s wrong with the uniform as it is – colour, shape not practical to wear ties…..

Back your argument with a third point

It’s something that parents have also commented on; everyone wants the change…….


Don’t just want to change for the sake of it, reinforce the changes that are wanted….

Promoting school uniform: Have a class discussion to promote the benefits of school uniform. In groups, children then plan a PowerPoint presentation featuring up to 8 slides. The aim is for them to promote the argument for school uniform to a group of parents. They can use a grid to plan the content of each slide.

Slide 1

Title, names of creator

Slide 2

Image or question

Slide 3

One point of view

Slide 4

Facts to support school uniform

Slide 5

Powerful reasons and benefits

Slide 6

Bullet points that describe the benefits e.g.

Study smarter in school uniform

Slide 7

Illustration of the preferred uniform plus caption

Slide 8

Repetition of main persuasion points

^ Courtroom drama: Set up a role play with a classroom courtroom scenario where one side favours school uniform and the other doesn’t. One of the children is the judge, two of the children speak for the ‘Prosecution’ (abolish school uniform) and another two children speak for the ‘defence’ (keep school uniform). 12 children are on the jury and the rest are witnesses. Another class could also be invited to attend the courtroom debate and, having listened to the arguments, vote on the case.

^ 2. Our Neighbourhood 02:47 – 06:23

The inhabitants of an inner city locality put forward opposing views about what the neighbourhood has to offer.

Talk about the clip: The clip presents two completely different points of view about the same place. What is the impression the children have of this area from watching the clip? What do they think is the truth? Ask them to fill in their responses in the right-hand column of this grid.

^ Stoke Newington High Street

How convincing do you find this?


There is an excellent variety of shops selling anything you need.

It’s a good environment to live in.

Transport links are very good. It is well served by buses and tubes.

It’s a very cosmopolitan and interesting place.

There is a strong sense of community.


The area has gone downhill. Shops have shut.

The high street is nearly all restaurants.

It’s lost its sense of community, you don’t know people now.

Controlled parking means that people can’t park outside local shops, so they have lost business.

There are no leisure facilities, the cinema is closed.

There are some ’no go’ areas.

Letter: Can the children help the people of Stoke Newington start a campaign to re-open their old cinema? The cinema closed down a few years ago and there is nowhere for people to go to see their favourite films. In a group, children use a large piece of paper to mind-map:

  • Who their letter is for

  • Why they are writing the letter

  • Three points they want to make

  • Evidence and statistics that will support their case.

Leaflet: The Owl Bookshop is organising some special events for children during the holidays. It’s a great place to go because it has comfy chairs, it’s somewhere you can buy a drink and, best of all, play computer games with your friends.

Encourage the children to make a ‘zig-zag’ leaflet for the bookshop. Taking a sheet of A4 paper, fold it into three. This gives six column-shaped sections for copy.


The Owl Bookshop

A friendly image of the bookshop

Say what it’s all about.

What activities are happening?

Include bullet points with imperative verbs such as:

Come and join us


What other children have said about previous events.

Include a map

Add contact details

Love your area: Help the class devise a questionnaire to find out what children and adults who live in your local area think about it. Based on the feedback from questionnaires, the children can work in groups to plan a short series of slides to promote the locality. The slides could feature headings from the questionnaires such as: shopping, leisure facilities, transport, community spirit and work opportunities.

^ 3. Anti-smoking 06:26 – 09:24

Young campaigners raise awareness of the dangers of smoking.

Before watching: Ask the class to recap on everything they know about smoking to gauge prior knowledge.

Talk about the clip: Why do the children think these young people want to promote the campaign against smoking? Discuss what difference campaigning could make in persuading people to stop smoking. Do any of the class know someone who has stopped?

^ Important messages: The children cut these strips out discuss them and in pairs, arrange them in order of importance. These can then be used as a basis for the other activities.

Cigarette stubs create litter

Smoking makes you moody

Smoking costs a lot of money

Smoking can cause fires

Smoking makes your breath and clothes smell

Smoking makes the skin on your face go wrinkly

You get more coughs and colds if you smoke

You get out of breath when you smoke

Smoking causes health problems to others

^ Persuasion tactics: The children are trying to persuade someone to stop smoking. The idea is that when a cigarette is removed from its packet, each one has an anti-smoking message written on it. After discussion in pairs what messages would the children write on these?

e.g. Smoking makes your teeth yellow

^ Quit It’ Poster: The class works in small groups to design and make a poster. Give each group a large piece of paper on which to plan their poster. They need to decide: Who is their intended audience? What information do they want to get across? The poster needs to include a memorable slogan, tag line or question and a strong picture.

^ TV Advert – Ban smoking everywhere: Children work in five groups to plan a one-minute TV advertisement which supports a complete ban on smoking. Each group comprises a producer/director, actors, scriptwriter/s and a camera operator. The advert needs to be carefully planned and scripted. Each group has a different message to ‘sell’.

Group 1) Passive smoking and how it affects people who don’t smoke – e.g. children.

Group 2) Ban smoking in busy areas where the stubs create a litter problem.

Group 3) Don’t smoke in cars (tobacco smoke contains over 4000 chemicals)

Group 4) Ban smoking in parks and playgrounds. In fact anywhere near children.

Each of these scenarios would be acted out by the children and filmed using a digital video camera.

  1. Keeping Pets 09:27 – 13:44

The owners of a chicken, a terrapin and a hamster talk about the advantages and disadvantages of keeping these pets.

Before watching: In groups the children find out from each other:

  • Who has a pet at home

  • What sort of pet it is

  • Where is it kept

  • Who looks after it

  • If someone doesn’t have a pet what sort they would like.

Talk about the clip: Recap on the pets featured and show the clip again and ask the class to listen carefully for the advantages and disadvantages mentioned. In their groups let them discuss together the advantages and disadvantages associated with having chickens, terrapins and hamsters as pets and then complete the grid below (you may need to show the clip again).

^ Types of pet






Not ‘for’ pets letter: As a result of the recent trouble caused by the escape of Roger, the hamster from Class 5, the children have decided that animals should be banned completely from the classroom. The task is for children to write a persuasive letter to the headteacher which puts forward the arguments against keeping pets in class. To help them with their planning, the children could use points from the grid below by choosing some from each column and combining them using connectives. For example: ‘Learning to care for a pet is important although there might be health and safety concerns associated with pets such as hygiene and allergies’.

The children will also need to state the issue and its background, giving the facts as well as expressing their points of view and giving reasons to back these up.

^ For pets in school

Against pets in school

Caring for a pet is important

It’s a great way to share stories with someone else.

Pets can give you a sense of trust and make you feel good.

Looking after another creature stops you being selfish.

Pets can make good companions.

Pets are wonderful, they give you love.

Pets can help relieve stress.

Pets help you understand living things.

What about health and safety concerns associated with pets?

Some children may be allergic to animals.

Pet cages take up space in the classroom.

All the children might want to look after them and that would cause arguments.

Who will look after them in holidays?

Keeping animals in cages is cruel.

Looking after pets takes a lot of time.

Pets cost money to look after.

Connectives: however, so, yet, but, although, therefore, because, and, in addition to, if, means that

^ Argument tennis: Working individually or in pairs, children devise a list of points that they would use to persuade their parent/s or guardian that they really want a pet. They add these to the left-hand column and in the right-hand, predict the counter argument that the adult might put forward (such as cost, responsibility, smell, noise, food).


My parent:

^ Case for having a pet

Case against having a pet

In pairs, the children can role play the meeting between a child who wants a pet and the parent who doesn’t. This can then be written as a piece of short dialogue, to illustrate increasing levels of persuasion and resistance.

Develop this by asking the children to imagine a future conversation between the adult and the child once the novelty of the pet has worn off. The adult is trying to persuade the unwilling child to, for example, clean out the cage or feed the cat. What kind of persuasion does the adult use? The children can improvise this scenario and write a reminder note from the adult to the child.

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