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Students learn of powerful tool

January 14, 2005

Suzie Harrison

It's never too early to learn the power of persuasion, especially

when it relates to the written word. It was a lesson creatively

taught Tuesday by El Morro Elementary School second-grade teacher

Jeannette Shaw.

For the past few weeks, the class has been learning how to write a

friendly-style format letter.

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"Today we're going to use persuasive language to write a friendly

letter to convince your parents to buy you the cereal you really

want, but they don't buy for you," Shaw said.

A sea of hands waved in excitement when Shaw asked the students

what their favorite cereal is. The usual sugary suspects won.

"Can we just say you're going to buy this for me," Shaw said.

"What language, what words, can we use that would be persuasive?"

A boy raised his hand and said he might try a compliment.

"Mom, can you buy this cereal and, by the way, you look very young

today."

Other students suggested that they might offer to clean their room

for a week or clean the house.

Those with a more devious mind said that they would trick their

parents.

"I'll trick them by saying I'll pay them $200 if they buy it for

me."

Shaw quickly put the idea of deception to rest.

"The way to convince or persuade your parents isn't to lie or

break a promise," Shaw said. "You need to give an explanation of why

it's good. Give a reason. You need facts to support your argument."

Brenden Bloom, 7, said he wanted his parents to buy him Reese's

Peanut Butter Puffs.

"Because it has peanut butter in it," Brenden said. "Peanut butter

is healthy for you. Peanut butter has protein."

Sabrina Stillwell, 7, said she wrote the cereal contains vitamin C

and is in a big box, so it will last a long time.

Parents were asked to respond with a letter stating whether their

child was able to persuade them. Later those letters will be read to

the class.

"I learned that to be persuasive you really have to get someone to

do it," Mary Kate Quellnal, 8, said. "You say, 'I need this because

and say why.'"

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