Ronda Sowa and Michael Rodenbush
The fourth-grade students invited their parents in to present and celebrate the publishing of their persuasive essays.
Prior to the presentation of the essays, the children and parents gathered in one classroom so the students could share what they learned about crafting persuasive essays. The children learned how to outline the basic essay structure using ‘Boxes and Bullets,’ a method developed by the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. Within a ‘box’ the writer puts their thesis statement. As fourth grader, Daniel, states, “A writer’s thesis statement is your big idea.” Each ‘bullet’ listed below the ‘box’ is a supporting statement that is used to develop the body of the essay. Uma shared, “A writer’s supporting paragraphs need to prove the thesis statement.”
The fourth graders also learned about backing up their supporting statements with personal anecdotes, research and statistics. They also learned to incorporate the use of transitional phrases and how to write a compelling conclusion.
During the celebration, all of the essays lined the halls just outside the fourth-grade classrooms. Parents spent their time reading the essays and providing written feedback and encouragement to the authors.