Can You Convince Me? Developing Persuasive Writing

how to write a persuasive essay elementary school

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  • Instructional Plan
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Persuasive writing is an important skill that can seem intimidating to elementary students. This lesson encourages students to use skills and knowledge they may not realize they already have. A classroom game introduces students to the basic concepts of lobbying for something that is important to them (or that they want) and making persuasive arguments. Students then choose their own persuasive piece to analyze and learn some of the definitions associated with persuasive writing. Once students become aware of the techniques used in oral arguments, they then apply them to independent persuasive writing activities and analyze the work of others to see if it contains effective persuasive techniques.

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From theory to practice.

  • Students can discover for themselves how much they already know about constructing persuasive arguments by participating in an exercise that is not intimidating.  
  • Progressing from spoken to written arguments will help students become better readers of persuasive texts.

Common Core Standards

This resource has been aligned to the Common Core State Standards for states in which they have been adopted. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, CCSS alignments are forthcoming.

State Standards

This lesson has been aligned to standards in the following states. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, standard alignments are not currently available for that state.

NCTE/IRA National Standards for the English Language Arts

  • 4. Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
  • 5. Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.

Materials and Technology

  • Computers with Internet access  
  • PowerPoint  
  • LCD projector (optional)  
  • Chart paper or chalkboard  
  • Sticky notes  
  • Persuasive Strategy Presentation
  • Persuasion Is All Around You  
  • Persuasive Strategy Definitions  
  • Check the Strategies  
  • Check the Strategy  
  • Observations and Notes  
  • Persuasive Writing Assessment


Student objectives.

Students will

  • Work in cooperative groups to brainstorm ideas and organize them into a cohesive argument to be presented to the class  
  • Gain knowledge of the different strategies that are used in effective persuasive writing  
  • Use a graphic organizer to help them begin organizing their ideas into written form  
  • Apply what they have learned to write a persuasive piece that expresses their stance and reasoning in a clear, logical sequence  
  • Develop oral presentation skills by presenting their persuasive writing pieces to the class  
  • Analyze the work of others to see if it contains effective persuasive techniques

Session 1: The Game of Persuasion

Home/School Connection: Distribute Persuasion Is All Around You . Students are to find an example of a persuasive piece from the newspaper, television, radio, magazine, or billboards around town and be ready to report back to class during Session 2. Provide a selection of magazines or newspapers with advertisements for students who may not have materials at home. For English-language learners (ELLs), it may be helpful to show examples of advertisements and articles in newspapers and magazines.

Session 2: Analysis of an Argument

Home/School Connection: Ask students to revisit their persuasive piece from Persuasion Is All Around You . This time they will use Check the Strategies to look for the persuasive strategies that the creator of the piece incorporated. Check for understanding with your ELLs and any special needs students. It may be helpful for them to talk through their persuasive piece with you or a peer before taking it home for homework. Arrange a time for any student who may not have the opportunity to complete assignments outside of school to work with you, a volunteer, or another adult at school on the assignment.

Session 3: Persuasive Writing

Session 4: presenting the persuasive writing.

  • Endangered Species: Persuasive Writing offers a way to integrate science with persuasive writing. Have students pretend that they are reporters and have to convince people to think the way they do. Have them pick issues related to endangered species, use the Persuasion Map as a prewriting exercise, and write essays trying to convince others of their points of view. In addition, the lesson “Persuasive Essay: Environmental Issues” can be adapted for your students as part of this exercise.  
  • Have students write persuasive arguments for a special class event, such as an educational field trip or an in-class educational movie. Reward the class by arranging for the class event suggested in one of the essays.

Student Assessment / Reflections

  • Compare your Observations and Notes from Session 4 and Session 1 to see if students understand the persuasive strategies, use any new persuasive strategies, seem to be overusing a strategy, or need more practice refining the use of a strategy. Offer them guidance and practice as needed.  
  • Collect both homework assignments and the Check the Strategy sheets and assess how well students understand the different elements of persuasive writing and how they are applied.  
  • Collect students’ Persuasion Maps and use them and your discussions during conferences to see how well students understand how to use the persuasive strategies and are able to plan their essays. You want to look also at how well they are able to make changes from the map to their finished essays.  
  • Use the Persuasive Writing Assessment to evaluate the essays students wrote during Session 3.
  • Calendar Activities
  • Strategy Guides
  • Lesson Plans
  • Student Interactives

The Persuasion Map is an interactive graphic organizer that enables students to map out their arguments for a persuasive essay or debate.

This interactive tool allows students to create Venn diagrams that contain two or three overlapping circles, enabling them to organize their information logically.

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how to write a persuasive essay elementary school

10 Steps to Teach Persuasive Writing

Teaching Opinion Writing in Upper Elementary

Kids are natural-born persuaders. They do it all the time. The trick as a teacher is to take their set of skills and help them use their power for good. And by good, I mean to channel these skills into writing effective persuasive pieces.

So, what exactly do we need to do to teach persuasive writing? I won’t lie to you…it’s not an easy task, but I’ll try to break it down here and simplify the steps to hopefully make this something that you can use in your classroom.

1. Teach Paragraph Writing FIRST

Before I even begin to think about teaching students to create an opinion piece, I make sure that my class has learned the basics of writing a good paragraph. We spend a lot of time with each component, and after they’ve mastered one paragraph, we move on to the five-paragraph essay.

Since I teach 4th/5th, this is one of the standards we need to reach. Once I know that students can write a reasonably good essay, then they can learn an opinion essay a little more easily.

Mentor texts for teaching persuasive writing

2. Use Mentor Texts to Introduce Opinion Writing

I am a big fan of mentor texts. I just love how picture books easily capture the attention of my “big” kids, while quickly teaching them so many lessons.

When I teach opinion writing, I like to gather several of these persuasive mentor texts and share them with my class. We talk about how the character used persuasive techniques well, or how he/she didn’t.

Mentor texts for teaching persuasive writing

3. Start With the Big Picture

Before we start to officially write, we talk about what an opinion essay is and isn’t. I like to give students three choices with similar topics and ask them which one is the opinion essay. For example, they might choose between these titles: The Magical Elephant, Elephants and Their Families, and How to Save the Elephants. Next, I have a handout that shows the structure of an opinion essay. Since we’ve written five-paragraph essays before, they have a good handle on the basic essay structure. Then I guide them step by step through each component. We absolutely do not write a single opinion essay until we’ve had the opportunity to have lots of mini-lessons, see many examples, and practice all parts of the essay in a very low-stakes environment.

4. The Introduction Paragraph is First

A. introduce hooks.

Now we spend some time focusing on how to start the essay. We start by using a hook (also called a lead).

I like to describe a writing “hook” using a fishing analogy. The fisherman puts a nice pink, juicy worm on the hook, hoping to attract the attention of the fish. If the fish bites, the fisherman’s happy. If the fish doesn’t bite, that means that it wasn’t interested in the hook, and there won’t be any fish caught.

Our goal as a writer is to get the reader interested by “hooking” them into reading our essay, from the very first sentence.

We go over six different types of hooks and practice these. I also love using opinion writing posters as I introduce each new opinion essay concept. They’re a great reference for students on the wall or printed in miniature for writing notebooks.

B. Review Topic Sentences 

For an opinion essay, the topic sentence is the opinion sentence. It is the author’s viewpoint. We do a lesson reviewing the five types of topic sentences we use for paragraph and essay writing, and I show students how to tweak these into opinion statements.

C. Time to Add the Three Reasons 

The last part of the introduction lists the three reasons for our opinion. I teach students that these can be listed as a single sentence with commas between them, or we can write three separate sentences, one for each reason.

For the first lesson on reasons, I give students a topic (cell phones or vending machines at school or which season is the best, etc.) and then ask students to write three bullet points on their whiteboards. Next to each one, they write a word to describe a reason they like/dislike this idea.

For example, if the topic was school uniforms, the child might write lack of individuality, gets boring, uncomfortable… I can quickly glance at their lists while we discuss a few of them, and then we’re ready to practice with the next topic.

Without writing a whole essay, this is teaching students to think about organization and how reasons help support their opinions. I think this kind of practice is great!

When we transition this activity to a full essay, these reasons would turn into the topic sentences for each body paragraph of a five-paragraph opinion essay! 

Btw.. if you don’t have whiteboards for your class, this is something you’ll really want to consider. They’re great for writing practice and so many things. I actually purchased shower boards at Home Depot for about $15 to make into whiteboards. They cut them into 12 x 12-inch squares for me for free!

5. Review, Review, Review

After we spend some time on each main section of the opinion essay (the introduction, the body paragraphs, and the conclusion), I like to give my students activities to really reinforce what they’ve learned. Besides review worksheets, we do games (like Stump the Expert), sorts, and color coding.

how to write a persuasive essay elementary school

I really like to have students color code already-made paragraphs so they can see examples of quality writing, and they can master the structure of the paragraph . Once we’ve reviewed the introduction, it’s time to move on to the body paragraphs.

6. The Three Body Paragraphs are Next

There are three parts of each body paragraph, and I teach each part separately, one by one. The parts include a topic sentence that starts with a transition, three to five details to describe and explain the author’s reason for his/her viewpoint, and a conclusion sentence.

These three paragraphs are the meat of the essay. This is where students explain why they support or don’t support something.

We spend time doing activities like looking at three sentences and identifying which one is the topic sentence, which one is a detail, and which one is a conclusion sentence.

We look at pre-made topic sentences and related conclusion sentences and rate them as part of a great class discussion and then in pairs or independently. Then, we review with more color coding, games, and sorts.

how to write a persuasive essay elementary school

7. Focus on the Conclusion Paragraph

Conclusions can be a little intimidating for some students. Maybe it’s because they’re tired from the heavy lifting of the other four paragraphs, but with practice, you can help take away some of their apprehension and replace it with confidence!

The conclusion paragraph is a shorter paragraph (in 3rd – 5th grade) than a body paragraph. It has three distinct parts, an opinion sentence that starts with a transition, the three reasons, and a final thought or call to action.

A. The Opinion Sentence Starting with a Transition

The opinion sentence is really a topic sentence. It reinforces the same idea presented in the introduction paragraph but uses synonyms and usually a different type of topic sentence than the introduction to add variety.

We go over specific transitions that can be used for conclusions. While students may not always use a transition for their conclusion later on, I think it gives students structure and helps them break the ice of crafting a strong conclusion paragraph.

B. The Three Reasons (again!)

Just like the introduction paragraph, the conclusion paragraph lists the three reasons, usually in a single sentence with commas. Like always, you’ll want students to reword the sentence using synonyms to add variety.

C. The Conclusion, The Ending, The VERY LAST SENTENCE!

This last sentence is another place students may feel apprehensive to write at first. We go over the difference between a final thought and a call to action and practice by seeing lots of exemplars and then creating our own.

By the time we’re finished, most students understand how to gracefully and effectively add the conclusion sentence to finish the opinion essay.

Just like we usually do, once we finish a section, we review that section carefully using handouts, sorts, color coding, games, and reviews.

8. Share an Opinion Essay Example

It’s one thing to talk about an opinion essay’s components and to even practice them. It’s another thing to see a really good example of an essay and to get to go through it and discuss what makes it work and why.

I have several great examples I’ve saved over the years (and I have two that I wrote and included in my opinion essay unit). We take time to color code the essay and then create a reverse outline for it. They save this essay as an example.

9. Make an Outline and an Essay as a Whole Class (Eeek!)

Okay, here’s where your perseverance has to kick in.

Trying to complete an essay as a whole class will drive even the most saintly of teachers to want to pull their hair out at times, but this hard part is crucial. There, I said it. It is that important that this is a step you shouldn’t miss.

Here’s how I do it. I break it down into two to four days. On the first day, we created an outline together. I have students write this outline in their Writer’s Notebooks as a model to refer to when they need to make their own outline later.

We always do school uniforms, because I find it to be a great topic and one that my students feel strongly about.

how to write a persuasive essay elementary school

I tell them for the sake of continuity, we need to take a stand as a class for the essay, whether they really agree with that stand or not. We take a class vote and then stick with it, whether it’s for or against the uniform idea.

On the second day, when we have the outline in place, I make a deal with the kids…I tell them if they stick with me, stay on task, and participate…I’ll do the writing (this time), and they can just tell me what to write.

If they don’t stay focused, then they’ll have to write it themselves. This works like magic. I’ve never had a class that lost out on this “deal.”

So, using yesterday’s outline, we go step by step and write each paragraph together. Students feed me sentences (I write these on the SmartBoard), which I try to use or gently guide them a bit where needed.

Usually, we do about 2  paragraphs in one day. The attention spans of 8 – 11-year-olds can be a killer, so I find that breaking it into several days helps.

10. Before Students Write – Go over Expectations Using a Rubric

I really like to use rubrics for lots of assignments. It breaks down the activity into its components, and it also serves as a road map for students to know what is expected of them. I think the more we can explain to students exactly what we’re looking for, the more they can meet and sometimes exceed (hallelujah) our expectations.

There’s never a reason to hide what we want from students, in my opinion. So, we go over the rubric together, and it’s a kind of review for all the lessons leading up to this. You can three-hole punch it so they can store it in their binders, or you can print it in a smaller size to fit their Writer’s Notebooks if you wish.

BONUS #11. Practice Writing Opinion Essays…Over and Over and…

Once your students have practiced each part of the opinion essay and are very familiar with its structure, it’s their turn to write independently. I choose several different topics for them over the next few weeks, and we do about an essay a week in class. The students get better as time goes by, and usually, I let them choose a topic for the last essay or two. It’s interesting to see what they come up with.

Whew…such a huge unit and so many skills to fit in, but in my mind, it is an awesome unit. I love teaching it because of the great number of discussions it provides and because I see it as an important set of tools for them to have in their writing toolboxes.

Opinion Writing Essay Bundle for 3rd - 5th Grades

If you’d like some resources for opinion writing , I love this unit I created. It’s a bundle with over 100 printable pages and includes a digital format too. It will take you through the entire process with teaching pages, and detailed teaching notes, student practice pages, activities, and posters for 3rd – 5th grade.

Sarah is a 4th Grade Teacher and uses this unit and process in her classroom. This is what she had to say. 

how to write a persuasive essay elementary school


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A Step-by-Step Plan for Teaching Argumentative Writing

February 7, 2016

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For seven years, I was a writing teacher.  Yes, I was certified to teach the full spectrum of English language arts—literature, grammar and usage, speech, drama, and so on—but my absolute favorite, the thing I loved doing the most, was teaching students how to write.

Most of the material on this site is directed at all teachers. I look for and put together resources that would appeal to any teacher who teaches any subject. That practice will continue for as long as I keep this up. But over the next year or so, I plan to also share more of what I know about teaching students to write. Although I know many of the people who visit here are not strictly English language arts teachers, my hope is that these posts will provide tons of value to those who are, and to those who teach all subjects, including writing.

So let’s begin with argumentative writing, or persuasive writing, as many of us used to call it. This overview will be most helpful to those who are new to teaching writing, or teachers who have not gotten good results with the approach you have taken up to now. I don’t claim to have the definitive answer on how to do this, but the method I share here worked pretty well for me, and it might do the same for you. If you are an experienced English language arts teacher, you probably already have a system for teaching this skill that you like. Then again, I’m always interested in how other people do the things I can already do; maybe you’re curious like that, too.

Before I start, I should note that what I describe in this post is a fairly formulaic style of essay writing. It’s not exactly the 5-paragraph essay, but it definitely builds on that model. I strongly believe students should be shown how to move past those kinds of structures into a style of writing that’s more natural and fitting to the task and audience, but I also think they should start with something that’s pretty clearly organized.

So here’s how I teach argumentative essay writing.

Step 1: Watch How It’s Done

One of the most effective ways to improve student writing is to show them mentor texts, examples of excellent writing within the genre students are about to attempt themselves. Ideally, this writing would come from real publications and not be fabricated by me in order to embody the form I’m looking for. Although most experts on writing instruction employ some kind of mentor text study, the person I learned it from best was Katie Wood Ray in her book Study Driven (links to the book: | Amazon ).

Since I want the writing to be high quality and the subject matter to be high interest, I might choose pieces like Jessica Lahey’s Students Who Lose Recess Are the Ones Who Need it Most  and David Bulley’s School Suspensions Don’t Work .

I would have students read these texts, compare them, and find places where the authors used evidence to back up their assertions. I would ask students which author they feel did the best job of influencing the reader, and what suggestions they would make to improve the writing. I would also ask them to notice things like stories, facts and statistics, and other things the authors use to develop their ideas. Later, as students work on their own pieces, I would likely return to these pieces to show students how to execute certain writing moves.

Step 2: Informal Argument, Freestyle

Although many students might need more practice in writing an effective argument, many of them are excellent at arguing in person. To help them make this connection, I would have them do some informal debate on easy, high-interest topics. An activity like This or That (one of the classroom icebreakers I talked about last year) would be perfect here: I read a statement like “Women have the same opportunities in life as men.” Students who agree with the statement move to one side of the room, and those who disagree move to the other side. Then they take turns explaining why they are standing in that position. This ultimately looks a little bit like a debate, as students from either side tend to defend their position to those on the other side.

Every class of students I have ever had, from middle school to college, has loved loved LOVED this activity. It’s so simple, it gets them out of their seats, and for a unit on argument, it’s an easy way to get them thinking about how the art of argument is something they practice all the time.

Step 3: Informal Argument, Not so Freestyle

Once students have argued without the support of any kind of research or text, I would set up a second debate; this time with more structure and more time to research ahead of time. I would pose a different question, supply students with a few articles that would provide ammunition for either side, then give them time to read the articles and find the evidence they need.

Next, we’d have a Philosophical Chairs debate (learn about this in my  discussion strategies post), which is very similar to “This or That,” except students use textual evidence to back up their points, and there are a few more rules. Here they are still doing verbal argument, but the experience should make them more likely to appreciate the value of evidence when trying to persuade.

Before leaving this step, I would have students transfer their thoughts from the discussion they just had into something that looks like the opening paragraph of a written argument: A statement of their point of view, plus three reasons to support that point of view. This lays the groundwork for what’s to come.

Step 4: Introduction of the Performance Assessment

Next I would show students their major assignment, the performance assessment that they will work on for the next few weeks. What does this look like? It’s generally a written prompt that describes the task, plus the rubric I will use to score their final product.

Anytime I give students a major writing assignment, I let them see these documents very early on. In my experience, I’ve found that students appreciate having a clear picture of what’s expected of them when beginning a writing assignment. At this time, I also show them a model of a piece of writing that meets the requirements of the assignment. Unlike the mentor texts we read on day 1, this sample would be something teacher-created (or an excellent student model from a previous year) to fit the parameters of the assignment.

Step 5: Building the Base

Before letting students loose to start working on their essays, I make sure they have a solid plan for writing. I would devote at least one more class period to having students consider their topic for the essay, drafting a thesis statement, and planning the main points of their essay in a graphic organizer.

I would also begin writing my own essay on a different topic. This has been my number one strategy for teaching students how to become better writers. Using a document camera or overhead projector, I start from scratch, thinking out loud and scribbling down my thoughts as they come. When students see how messy the process can be, it becomes less intimidating for them. They begin to understand how to take the thoughts that are stirring around in your head and turn them into something that makes sense in writing.

For some students, this early stage might take a few more days, and that’s fine: I would rather spend more time getting it right at the pre-writing stage than have a student go off willy-nilly, draft a full essay, then realize they need to start over. Meanwhile, students who have their plans in order will be allowed to move on to the next step.

Step 6: Writer’s Workshop

The next seven to ten days would be spent in writer’s workshop, where I would start class with a mini-lesson about a particular aspect of craft. I would show them how to choose credible, relevant evidence, how to skillfully weave evidence into an argument, how to consider the needs of an audience, and how to correctly cite sources. Once each mini-lesson was done, I would then give students the rest of the period to work independently on their writing. During this time, I would move around the room, helping students solve problems and offering feedback on whatever part of the piece they are working on. I would encourage students to share their work with peers and give feedback at all stages of the writing process.

If I wanted to make the unit even more student-centered, I would provide the mini-lessons in written or video format and let students work through them at their own pace, without me teaching them. (To learn more about this approach, read this post on self-paced learning ).

As students begin to complete their essays, the mini-lessons would focus more on matters of style and usage. I almost never bother talking about spelling, punctuation, grammar, or usage until students have a draft that’s pretty close to done. Only then do we start fixing the smaller mistakes.

Step 7: Final Assessment

Finally, the finished essays are handed in for a grade. At this point, I’m pretty familiar with each student’s writing and have given them verbal (and sometimes written) feedback throughout the unit; that’s why I make the writer’s workshop phase last so long. I don’t really want students handing in work until they are pretty sure they’ve met the requirements to the best of their ability. I also don’t necessarily see “final copies” as final; if a student hands in an essay that’s still really lacking in some key areas, I will arrange to have that student revise it and resubmit for a higher grade.

So that’s it. If you haven’t had a lot of success teaching students to write persuasively, and if the approach outlined here is different from what you’ve been doing, give it a try. And let’s keep talking: Use the comments section below to share your techniques or ask questions about the most effective ways to teach argumentative writing.

Want this unit ready-made?

If you’re a writing teacher in grades 7-12 and you’d like a classroom-ready unit like the one described above, including mini-lessons, sample essays, and a library of high-interest online articles to use for gathering evidence, take a look at my Argumentative Writing unit. Just click on the image below and you’ll be taken to a page where you can read more and see a detailed preview of what’s included.

What to Read Next

how to write a persuasive essay elementary school

Categories: Instruction , Podcast

Tags: English language arts , Grades 6-8 , Grades 9-12 , teaching strategies


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This is useful information. In teaching persuasive speaking/writing I have found Monroe’s Motivated sequence very useful and productive. It is a classic model that immediately gives a solid structure for students.

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Thanks for the recommendation, Bill. I will have to look into that! Here’s a link to more information on Monroe’s Motivated sequence, for anyone who wants to learn more:

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What other sites do you recommend for teacher use on providing effective organizational structure in argumentative writing? As a K-12 Curriculum Director, I find that when teachers connect with and understand the organizational structure, they are more effective in their teaching/delivery.

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Hey Jessica, in addition to the steps outlined here, you might want to check out Jenn’s post on graphic organizers . Graphic organizers are a great tool that you can use in any phase of a lesson. Using them as a prewrite can help students visualize the argument and organize their thoughts. There’s a link in that post to the Graphic Organizer Multi-Pack that Jenn has for sale on her Teachers Pay Teachers site, which includes two versions of a graphic organizer you can use specifically for argument organization. Otherwise, if there’s something else you had in mind, let us know and we can help you out. Thanks!

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Dear Jennifer Gonzalez,

You are generous with your gift of lighting the path… I hardly ever write (never before) , but I must today… THANK YOU… THANK YOU….THANK YOU… mostly for reading your great teachings… So your valuable teachings will even be easy to benefit all the smart people facing challenge of having to deal with adhd…

I am not a teacher… but forever a student…someone who studied English as 2nd language, with a science degree & adhd…

You truly are making a difference in our World…

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Thanks so much, Rita! I know Jenn will appreciate this — I’ll be sure to share with her!

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Love it! Its simple and very fruitful . I can feel how dedicated you are! Thanks alot Jen

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Great examples of resources that students would find interesting. I enjoyed reading your article. I’ve bookmarked it for future reference. Thanks!

You’re welcome, Sheryl!

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Students need to be writing all the time about a broad range of topics, but I love the focus here on argumentative writing because if you choose the model writing texts correctly, you can really get the kids engaged in the process and in how they can use this writing in real-world situations!

I agree, Laura. I think an occasional tight focus on one genre can help them grow leaps and bounds in the skills specific to that type of writing. Later, in less structured situations, they can then call on those skills when that kind of thinking is required.

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This is really helpful! I used it today and put the recess article in a Google Doc and had the kids identify anecdotal, statistic, and ‘other’ types of evidence by highlighting them in three different colors. It worked well! Tomorrow we’ll discuss which of the different types of evidence are most convincing and why.

Love that, Shanna! Thanks for sharing that extra layer.

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Greetings Ms. Gonzales. I was wondering if you had any ideas to help students develop the cons/against side of their argument within their writing? Please advise. Thanks.

Hi Michael,

Considering audience and counterarguments are an important part of the argumentative writing process. In the Argumentative Writing unit Jenn includes specific mini-lessons that teach kids how, when and where to include opposing views in their writing. In the meantime, here’s a video that might also be helpful.

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Hi, Thank you very much for sharing your ideas. I want to share also the ideas in the article ‘Already Experts: Showing Students How Much They Know about Writing and Reading Arguments’ by Angela Petit and Edna Soto…they explain a really nice activity to introduce argumentative writing. I have applied it many times and my students not only love it but also display a very clear pattern as the results in the activity are quite similar every time. I hope you like it.

Lorena Perez

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I’d like to thank you you for this excellence resource. It’s a wonderful addition to the informative content that Jennifer has shared.

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What do you use for a prize?

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I looked at the unit, and it looks and sounds great. The description says there are 4 topics. Can you tell me the topics before I purchase? We start argument in 5th grade, and I want to make sure the topics are different from those they’ve done the last 5 years before purchasing. Thanks!

Hi Carrie! If you go to the product page on TPT and open up the preview, you’ll see the four topics on the 4th page in more detail, but here they are: Social Networking in School (should social media sites be blocked in school?), Cell Phones in Class, Junk Food in School, and Single-Sex Education (i.e., genders separated). Does that help?

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I teach 6th grade English in a single gendered (all-girls) class. We just finished an argument piece but I will definitely cycle back your ideas when we revisit argumentation. Thanks for the fabulous resources!

Glad to hear it, Madelyn!

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I’m not a writing teacher and honestly haven’t been taught on how to teach writing. I’m a history teacher. I read this and found it helpful but have questions. First I noticed that amount of time dedicated to the task in terms of days. My questions are how long is a class period? I have my students for about 45 minutes. I also saw you mentioned in the part about self-paced learning that mini-lessons could be written or video format. I love these ideas. Any thoughts on how to do this with almost no technology in the room and low readers to non-readers? I’m trying to figure out how to balance teaching a content class while also teaching the common core skills. Thank you for any consideration to my questions.

Hey Jones, To me, a class period is anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour; definitely varies from school to school. As for the question about doing self-paced with very little tech? I think binders with written mini-lessons could work well, as well as a single computer station or tablet hooked up to a class set of videos. Obviously you’d need to be more diligent about rotating students in and out of these stations, but it’s an option at least. You might also give students access to the videos through computers in other locations at school (like the library) and give them passes to watch. The thing about self-paced learning, as you may have seen in the self-paced post , is that if students need extra teacher support (as you might find with low readers or non-readers), they would spend more one-on-one time with the teacher, while the higher-level students would be permitted to move more quickly on their own. Does that help?

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My primary goal for next semester is to increase academic discussion and make connections from discussion to writing, so I love how you launch this unit with lessons like Philosophical Chairs. I am curious, however, what is the benefit of the informal argument before the not-so-informal argument? My students often struggle to listen to one another, so I’m wondering if I should start with the more formal, structured version. Or, am I overthinking the management? Thanks so much for input.

Yikes! So sorry your question slipped through, and we’re just now getting to this, Sarah. The main advantage of having kids first engage in informal debate is that it helps them get into an argumentative mindset and begin to appreciate the value of using research to support their claims. If you’ve purchased the unit, you can read more about this in the Overview.

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My 6th graders are progressing through their argumentative essay. I’m providing mini lessons along the way that target where most students are in their essay. Your suggestions will be used. I’ve chosen to keep most writing in class and was happy to read that you scheduled a lot of class time for the writing. Students need to feel comfortable knowing that writing is a craft and needs to evolve over time. I think more will get done in class and it is especially important for the struggling writers to have peers and the teacher around while they write. Something that I had students do that they liked was to have them sit in like-topic groups to create a shared document where they curated information that MIGHT be helpful along the way. By the end of the essay, all will use a fantastic add-on called GradeProof which helps to eliminate most of the basic and silly errors that 6th graders make.

Debbi! I LOVE the idea of a shared, curated collection of resources! That is absolutely fantastic! Are you using a Google Doc for this? Other curation tools you might consider are Padlet and Elink .

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thanks v much for all this information

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Love this! What do you take as grades in the meantime? Throughout this 2 week stretch?

Ideally, you wouldn’t need to take grades at all, waiting until the final paper is done to give one grade. If your school requires more frequent grades, you could assign small point values for getting the incremental steps done: So in Step 3 (when students have to write a paragraph stating their point of view) you could take points for that. During the writer’s workshop phase, you might give points for completion of a rough draft and participation points for peer review (ideally, they’d get some kind of feedback on the quality of feedback they give to one another). Another option would be to just give a small, holistic grade for each week based on the overall integrity of their work–are they staying on task? Making small improvements to their writing each day? Taking advantage of the resources? If students are working diligently through the process, that should be enough. But again, the assessment (grades) should really come from that final written product, and if everyone is doing what they’re supposed to be doing during the workshop phase, most students should have pretty good scores on that final product. Does that help?

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Awesome Step 2! Teaching mostly teenagers in Northern Australia I find students’ verbal arguments are much more finely honed than their written work.

To assist with “building the base” I’ve always found sentence starters an essential entry point for struggling students. We have started using the ‘PEARL’ method for analytical and persuasive writing.

If it helps here a free scaffold for the method:

Thanks again,

Thank you for sharing this additional resource! It’s excellent!

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I’ve been scouring the interwebs looking for some real advice on how I can help my struggling 9th grader write better. I can write. Since it comes naturally for me, I have a hard time breaking it down into such tiny steps that he can begin to feel less overwhelmed. I LOVE the pre-writing ideas here. My son is a fabulous arguer. I need to help him use those powers for the good of his writing skills. Do you have a suggestion on what I else I can be using for my homeschooled son? Or what you may have that could work well for home use?

Hi Melinda,

You might be interested in taking a look at Jenn’s Argumentative Writing unit which she mentions at the end of the post . Hope this helps!

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Mam it would be good if you could post some steps of different writing and some samples as well so it can be useful for the students.

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Hi Aalia! My name is Holly, and I work as a Customer Experience Manager for Cult of Pedagogy. It just so happens that in the near future, Jenn is going to release a narrative writing unit, so keep an eye out for that! As far as samples, the argumentative writing unit has example essays included, and I’m sure the narrative unit will as well. But, to find the examples, you have to purchase the unit from Teachers Pay Teachers.

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I just want to say that this helped me tremendously in teaching argument to 8th Graders this past school year, which is a huge concept on their state testing in April. I felt like they were very prepared, and they really enjoyed the verbal part of it, too! I have already implemented these methods into my unit plan for argument for my 11th grade class this year. Thank you so much for posting all of these things! : )

-Josee` Vaughn

I’m so glad to hear it, Josee!!

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Love your blog! It is one of the best ones.

I am petrified of writing. I am teaching grade 8 in September and would love some suggestions as I start planning for the year. Thanks!

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This is genius! I can’t wait to get started tomorrow teaching argument. It’s always something that I have struggled with, and I’ve been teaching for 18 years. I have a class of 31 students, mostly boys, several with IEPs. The self-paced mini-lessons will help tremendously.

So glad you liked it, Britney!

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My students will begin the journey into persuasion and argument next week and your post cemented much of my thinking around how to facilitate the journey towards effective, enthusiastic argumentative writing.

I use your rubrics often to outline task expectations for my students and the feedback from them is how useful breaking every task into steps can be as they are learning new concepts.

Additionally, we made the leap into blogging as a grade at It feels much like trying to learn to change a tire while the car is speeding down the highway. Reading your posts over the past years was a factor in embracing the authentic audience. Thank You! Trish

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I love reading and listening to your always helpful tips, tricks, and advice! I was wondering if you had any thoughts on creative and engaging ways to have students share their persuasive writing? My 6th students are just finishing up our persuasive writing where we read the book “Oh, Rats” by Albert Marrin and used the information gathered to craft a persuasive piece to either eliminate or protect rats and other than just reading their pieces to one another, I have been trying to think of more creative ways to share. I thought about having a debate but (un)fortunately all my kids are so sweet and are on the same side of the argument – Protect the Rats! Any ideas?

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Hi Kiley! Thanks for the positive feedback! So glad to hear that you are finding value in Cult of Pedagogy! Here are a few suggestions that you may be interested in trying with your students:

-A gallery walk: Students could do this virtually if their writing is stored online or hard copies of their writing. Here are some different ways that you could use gallery walks: Enliven Class Discussions With Gallery Walks

-Students could give each other feedback using a tech tool like Flipgrid . You could assign students to small groups or give them accountability partners. In Flipgrid, you could have students sharing back and forth about their writing and their opinions.

I hope this helps!

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I love the idea of mentor texts for all of these reading and writing concepts. I saw a great one on Twitter with one text and it demonstrated 5-6 reasons to start a paragraph, all in two pages of a book! Is there a location that would have suggestions/lists of mentor texts for these areas? Paragraphs, sentences, voice, persuasive writing, expository writing, etc. It seems like we could share this info, save each other some work, and curate a great collection of mentor text for English Language Arts teachers. Maybe it already exists?

Hi Maureen,

Here are some great resources that you may find helpful:

Craft Lessons Second Edition: Teaching Writing K-8 Write Like This: Teaching Real-World Writing Through Modeling and Mentor Texts and Mentor Texts, 2nd edition: Teaching Writing Through Children’s Literature, K-6

Thanks so much! I’ll definitely look into these.

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I love the steps for planning an argumentative essay writing. When we return from Christmas break, we will begin starting a unit on argumentative writing. I will definitely use the steps. I especially love Step #2. As a 6th grade teacher, my students love to argue. This would set the stage of what argumentative essay involves. Thanks for sharing.

So glad to hear this, Gwen. Thanks for letting us know!

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Great orientation, dear Jennifer. The step-by-step carefully planned pedagogical perspectives have surely added in the information repository of many.

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Hi Jennifer,

I hope you are well. I apologise for the incorrect spelling in the previous post.

Thank you very much for introducing this effective instruction for teaching argumentative writing. I am the first year PhD student at Newcastle University, UK. My PhD research project aims to investigate teaching argumentative writing to Chinese university students. I am interested in the Argumentative Writing unit you have designed and would like to buy it. I would like to see the preview of this book before deciding to purchase it. I clicked on the image BUT the font of the preview is so small and cannot see the content clearly. I am wondering whether it could be possible for you to email me a detailed preview of what’s included. I would highly appreciate if you could help me with this.

Thank you very much in advance. Looking forward to your reply.

Take care and all the very best, Chang

Hi Chang! Jenn’s Argumentative Writing Unit is actually a teaching unit geared toward grades 7-12 with lessons, activities, etc. If you click here click here to view the actual product, you can click on the green ‘View Preview’ button to see a pretty detailed preview of what’s offered. Once you open the preview, there is the option to zoom in so you can see what the actual pages of the unit are like. I hope this helps!

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Great Content!

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Another teacher showed me one of your posts, and now I’ve read a dozen of them. With teaching students to argue, have you ever used the “What’s going on in this picture?” I used it last year and thought it was a non-threatening way to introduce learners to using evidence to be persuasive since there was no text.

I used to do something like this to help kids learn how to make inferences. Hadn’t thought of it from a persuasive standpoint. Interesting.

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this is a very interesting topic, thanks!

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Hi! I’m a teacher too! I was looking for inspiration and I found your article and thought you might find this online free tool interesting that helps make all students participate meaningfully and engage in a topic.

This tool is great for student collaboration and to teach argumentative writing in an innovative way. I hope this helps!

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How to Teach Persuasive Writing

Last Updated: November 3, 2022 References

This article was co-authored by Alexander Peterman, MA . Alexander Peterman is a Private Tutor in Florida. He received his MA in Education from the University of Florida in 2017. This article has been viewed 49,767 times.

There are many ways to teach persuasive writing, and utilizing more than one approach can be good for your students. Not all students learn the same way, so demonstrating by example how to write persuasively might reach some of your students. Carefully explaining written assignments or setting up in-class debates and then letting your students learn by doing are methods for teaching persuasive writing that might reach different learners in your class. And reviewing your students' work and giving them plenty of feedback can also be an effective way to teach persuasive writing.

Demonstrating Persuasive Writing

Step 1 Show your students examples of persuasive writing.

  • For example, you might show elementary school age students a piece of writing that argues that one brand of soda is better than the other. The best brand of soda is based on opinion, but your students will still see that they still have to give reasons or justification that supports their opinion.
  • For middle and high school age students, a good example might be an article that argues that older teens need more sleep than elementary age children. This article will likely use scientific research to support its claims, so your students will see that the reasons and justifications they give to support their position need to based on more than how they feel about a particular subject. [2] X Research source

Step 2 Ask your students what they found effective.

  • For example, if you've read a piece about the benefits of more sleep for older students, you could say "Do you think older students need more sleep? Why?" Your students therefore not only have to assess the article's argument, but how the author used evidence to support that argument. [3] X Research source

Step 3 Show your students what you want them to do.

  • For example, using an overhead projector, start drafting your own essay on a topic you've selected beforehand. Think out loud and write as you go so that your students can actually see what the writing process looks like, and so they can see that even teachers are not perfect in the way that they write and that quality writing takes time and practice. However, do some preparation in advance so that you do not end up wasting time or looking disorganized.
  • This is an especially useful strategy when you're working with students who don't have a lot of experience with writing - elementary school students or perhaps students whose first language is not English. This method can also be useful for older students as the complexity of their assignments increases. [4] X Research source

Using Debates

Step 1 Set up a debate.

  • You can use an informal or formal debate, or both on successive days. The informal debate should be organized immediately after you tell your students what you'll be doing in class. The formal debate should take place after they've had some time to prepare. [5] X Research source
  • You may even consider setting up a mock courtroom. Assigning roles to your students, such as prosecutor, defense, judge, and jury members will help to keep them focused and interested in the conversation.

Step 2 Read your students a statement of opinion.

  • For example, read a statement like “Men and women have equal opportunities in life.” Then ask your students who agree with the statement to line up on one side of the room and those who disagree to line up on another side. [6] X Research source

Step 3 Ask your students to support their position.

  • If you're using a more formal debate set up, at this point you can pass out supporting material to each side of the debate and either ask them to read it then or be prepared to use it the next day. You can ask them to collect their own supporting material for a future debate. [8] X Research source

Step 4 Assess the debate.

  • For example, you could point out that when they made a statement of fact and then gave a reason for it - for example, if they said older students need more sleep because they are generally involved in more after school activities - they set up what could be the first paragraph of their essay. They made a statement, then backed it up with evidence.

Step 5 Ask your students to transfer their thoughts from the debate to paper.

Having Your Students Write an Assignment

Step 1 Brainstorm topics for persuasive writing.

  • For example, your students might feel strongly that there is not enough recess time. Or they might feel they should be allowed to watch more TV at home.

Step 2 Don't assign topics.

  • In some situations, assigning a topic may be a good idea. For example, if you are trying to prepare your students to take a state exam, then assigning a topic will give them practice writing about a topic they may not be particularly interested in, which could be the case on test day.

Step 3 Ask your students to make a list of pros and cons.

  • Some examples of where to look for evidence might be the internet, the library, or interviews they conduct with people.
  • Some examples of the types of evidence you can encourage your students to look for are articles, charts, graphs, and interview transcripts. [14] X Research source
  • If all of your students have been assigned the same topic, then you could also assign them the same supporting text.

Step 5 Schedule multiple writing days.

  • For example, on day 1, explain to them that they should start by reading through the research they collected to see what pieces of it they can use to support which pros or cons they listed at the beginning of the process.
  • Day 2 could be focused on addressing each pro or con in its own paragraph. Explain to them that they should first explain their point and then use their research to support it.
  • Day 3 could be dedicated to turning their separate paragraphs into a full piece and then doing some self-editing. [15] X Research source

Reviewing Your Students' Work

Step 1 Walk around and read your students' work.

  • You may want to set aside a portion of your class time for this activity to help keep students focused on the task and prevent the class from getting too out of hand.

Step 3 Edit your students' work.

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Tips and resources for teaching persuasive writing in upper elementary, including the difference between opinion and argumentative writing.

Kids are natural persuaders. In our classroom, we often engage in silly debates (is water wet?) and sometimes my students voice their opinion about things going on at school (this lunch is gross!). Every elementary student has a special talent for persuasive writing just waiting to be cultivated.

Jokes aside, persuasive writing is one of my favorite units because students truly are passionate about the world around them. Especially in upper elementary, they are beginning to form their own opinions about the world. My job as a teacher is to help them mold clear arguments.

Tips and resources for teaching persuasive writing in upper elementary, including the difference between opinion and argumentative writing.

Opinion, Persuasive, and Argumentative Writing

When we talk about persuasive writing, we often hear many different key words. Opinion. Persuasive. Argumentative. Are these all related? What is the difference between them? Here is a breakdown of the differences between Opinion, Persuasive, and Argumentative writing.

Opinion Writing is when the writer shares their opinion and explains why they think that way. They do not necessarily try to persuade others and get them to consider other viewpoints but will share their opinion freely.

Persuasive writing is when the writer is actively trying to convince the reader to see their view or opinion as the correct one. While persuasive writing may use facts and data, it also uses opinions and personal experiences to prove a point. This is why you will often see persuasive and opinion often talked about together or interchangeably. In persuasive writing, the author is appealing to ethos (credibility) and pathos (emotion).

When we ask our students to write persuasive texts, we want to make sure they are using language that displays their opinions and thoughts. And their reasons should come back to personal experiences, opinions, and their own rationality. 

Argumentative writing is the most formal of the three. Argumentative pieces feature a writer who wants you to consider their view as valid and to take it into consideration. In argumentative writing, there is very little opinion writing involved. It is based only on research, facts, and data . It also acknowledges counter arguments. In argumentative writing, the writer is appealing to logos (logic).

When we ask our students to write argumentative texts, we ask them to take a stance on a topic. However, they should focus heavily on researched facts and information.

I love this argumentative standard chart from Smenkens Education as an all in one reference! 

How to Teach Persuasive Writing

Teaching persuasive writing can be so engaging for both you AND the students! 

Hook: I give my students the six short articles. I ask them to find similarities and differences between them, and then we sort them into piles based on opinion writing, persuasive writing, and argumentative writing. We analyze the different components of each one, and this becomes our HOOK and enables them to visually see the different examples.

We create the argumentative chart with the differences between opinion, persuasive, and argumentative writing, and I explain that we are going to focus on persuasive writing for now.

Persuasive Writing Key Terms and Mentor Texts: Now that my students know what persuasive writing is, I start by introducing them to persuasive texts and key terms. I like to use a mentor text for this. This can be a persuasive text from a former student, your own writing, or a passage from online. These opinion text exemplars and this opinion writing unit both have mentor texts included.

Here’s a look at the opinion text exemplars .

mentor texts and exemplar writing examples for persuasive writing upper elementary

Here’s a look at the sample text from the opinion writing unit .

complete persuasive writing lessons and activities for upper elementary

As you look at the text, read over it with your students. Then, begin to connect the mentor text with key vocabulary terms. I like to do this by giving my students the graphic organizer they will use when writing.

complete persuasive writing lessons and activities for upper elementary

I give my students time to comb through the mentor text again and write down elements from the text into the graphic organizer… we call this backwards writing, where we are actually looking at the finished product first and going back and recreating the plan based on the final writing. 

My organizer contains key vocabulary such as 

My goal for this exercise is for my students to be able to identify the big claim of the essay and the reasons they give.

The Persuasive Writing Process

Now that my students are familiar with the basic structure and vocabulary of persuasive writing, we begin the actual writing process. I love using daily mini-lessons to walk students through all the steps of the process. When we do the mini-lessons, I use short task card prompts to encourage students to work through small parts of the process without actually writing a full paper.

complete persuasive writing lessons and activities for upper elementary

I teach students about breaking down the prompt to make sure they’re addressing what’s being asked. Then we focus on creating and supporting a claim. Eventually, we go through the persuasive writing process step-by-step, and students have a chance to work as a class, in small groups, and independently on their writing as they practice the different elements.

complete persuasive writing lessons and activities for upper elementary

After students have a solid grasp on the different parts of persuasive writing, I guide them through the writing process: we focus on choosing a topic, brainstorming ideas, constructing our arguments, planning (using the graphic organizer), writing, editing, and revising. During the mini-lessons, we end up writing an essay together, and I do a lot of modeling through the process. Then, during independent practice and small group work, students are drafting their own personal essays using the skill or element we learned that day.

Persuasive Writing Topics

Here are a few persuasive writing topics that you can use for your whole class essays or for student essays:

  • Should kids have the same rights as adults?
  • Should students be allowed to eat snacks in class?
  • Should kids be allowed on social media?
  • Should students have detention if they are late to school?
  • Should we eat dessert with every meal?

Celebrating Writing

One key part of writing in our class is celebrating. Let’s be honest, writing takes a lot of work! I like to make sure students have a chance to share their writing with the class and celebrate each other. Here are a few ways you can share writing at the end of your persuasive writing unit:

  • Quiet Reading – During quiet reading, you can play some soft background music and have students pass around their essays. Students should not talk during this time. Instead, they will write a note on a Post-It for the writer and put it on their essay.
  • Read Aloud – Have a couple spare minutes in class? Want to change up morning meeting? Have students share their essays out loud. Reading a whole essay will take a while. Instead, have students choose a paragraph or a few sentences they are most proud of. Encourage plenty of applause after someone shares!
  • Partner Share – After finishing a writing unit, have students turn to their partner. You can have them read their whole essay or just a portion to their partner. Set the expectation that the partner will give some specific feedback, such saying, “That was great! I really liked the way you _____________.”
  • Make an Impact – Of course, sharing doesn’t have to stay in your classroom. If your students wrote compelling opinions about something in their school, community, state, or beyond – you can share / mail those letters! 

Persuasive Writing Unit

If you are feeling lost with persuasive writing or need a done-for-you persuasive writing unit, this Persuasive Writing Unit includes mentor texts, graphic organizers, persuasive writing prompts, and much more to provide your students with a comprehensive unit.

Students will use samples and checklists to gather a full understanding of opinion writing before moving on to a variety of activities and ways to create their own pieces of persuasive writing. It also includes TWO versions. One version refers to this technique as “opinion writing” and the other uses the term “argumentative writing.” You choose the version that aligns best for your needs.

complete persuasive writing lessons and activities for upper elementary

There are many different levels of graphic organizers and writing templates. so you can choose the level that is right for your class whether you want your students to write a single paragraph or multi-paragraph essays!

More Writing Tips

I have other blog posts about narrative writing and descriptive writing . If you want to learn more about the other writing styles, check out those too!

Teaching tips and activities to use when teaching narrative writing in upper elementary. Includes mentor text examples too!

Mary Montero

I’m so glad you are here. I’m a current gifted and talented teacher in a small town in Colorado, and I’ve been in education since 2009. My passion (other than my family and cookies) is for making teachers’ lives easier and classrooms more engaging.

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Brain-busting work disguised as fun

Teaching Persuasive Writing … Painlessly!

March 18, 2017 by feelgoodteaching Filed Under: Writing

If you’re here, you’re about to teach persuasive writing unit.  Or argumentative writing, or whatever the cool kids are calling it these days!  Or maybe you’re already in the muck & mire of it wondering why your students aren’t producing organized and compelling essays.

Many years ago, I caused myself — and my students — needless suffering when it came to persuasive writing. It doesn’t have to be a battle. In fact, it can be downright enjoyable when you break it down into simple steps!

Demystify the persuasive writing process for 4th - 8th graders by breaking down component skills and providing isolated practice at each step.

Persuasive  / Argumentative Writing Pain Points

When you read your students’ essays, what are the pain points? For me, the list went like this:

– Lack of organization

– Inattention to audience and opposing views

– Weak opening and closing paragraphs

If you follow my blog, you’ve probably heard me reference (more than once) the error of assigning rather than teaching . I apologize for the repetition; if it wasn’t so important to recognize the difference, I could leave it alone. I feel compelled to admit when I’ve made this error myself, and this is another example where I assumed my students knew more than they did.  Because I assigned an essay with little-to-no instruction, I yielded the unfortunate results of my poor investment when it came time to grade these essays.

After what probably was far too long a time, I realized I had made too many assumptions on background knowledge. What would someone who knew nothing about persuasive essays, maybe even persuasion of any kind, need to know in order to be s successful writer?

I identified what I consider critical skills for writing solid persuasive essays. To my view, the cherry-on-top skills like voice, word choice, sentence variety, fluency, etc. are part of the revision process, which follow lessons on structure and are not unique to this genre. What I first needed to focus on were the structural components necessary to properly write for the genre.

Skills You MUST Teach  for Persuasive / Argumentative Writing:

– Consider your audience

– Take a position

– Address opposing views

– Outline the essay & draft body paragraphs

– Create opening paragraphs with an engaging hook the reader and thesis statement

– Create closing paragraphs that link to the opening and include a call to action

Armed with this list, I found that when I broke down each of these skills for isolated lessons and practice, the students’ writing improved dramatically. The problem is that we often skip steps due to the things we lack: time, a thorough curriculum or understanding of the process ourselves.

Or sometimes, we the hope that because students read, they’ll know how to write, almost by osmosis.  There are no shortcuts. When we skip a critical step, we always have to circle back to teach it later. It really is more efficient and effective to invest the time up front.

Below, you’ll find how I think about each piece and my approach in teaching each component to make the persuasive writing process easier on you and your students!

If I’m honest, I probably went years without really teaching my students how to evaluate their audience prior to writing, at least in any meaningful way.  I suppose I thought they would inherently understand that the arguments used to persuade a peer would differ from those to persuade a parent; and indeed, some students do come to you with that understanding, but you can’t rely on it.

Teaching Ideas

One idea here is to come up with a persuasive essay prompt (e.g. students should join organized sports) and several different audiences (doctors, parents, peers, teachers). Have students suggest a few reasons it might be good to let students to participate in organized sports.

Make a chart with the reasons in the rows and the audiences in the columns. Have students rate how convincing/motivating the reasons are for each particular group (see slide below). This will highlight for the students that considering the audience is important because each group has different factors they care about and that concern them.

Persuasive Writing Audience

Sample Slide from Audience Presentation

how to write a persuasive essay elementary school

Audience Analysis Sample Slide

For additional practice, put students in groups. Give each the same prompt or a new one (students should be allowed to have cell phones in school), but a give each group a different audience (peers, parents, teachers, administrators). Have each group generate a list of motivating factors for their group. Come together whole-class to compare/contrast the lists.

Want a copy of my Audience Lesson?  It’s a perk of being subscribed!

Take a Position, Make an Outline, Address Opposing Views, & Draft Body Paragraphs

how to write a persuasive essay elementary school

When students receive an essay prompt in which they can choose their own side, they sometimes get stuck because they think they must first choose. If they aren’t immediately drawn to one side, it can cause problems. I ask students, even if they think they know where they stand, to make a pros & cons list.  This approach is serving double duty. First, it helps them see which side they have more ideas for, making it easier to choose a side. Second, it provides the opposing views that they will need to address in order to have an effective persuasive essay.

With the pros & cons and a position selected, the students move on to breaking down their outlines . I teach students to insert the cons in related body paragraphs or to use to help create a hook in the opening paragraph.

Opening & Closing Paragraphs

Without a doubt, opening and closing paragraphs can be a beast! A solid opening and closing can make or break an essay, so it’s important to spend time practicing. When your students master this skill, it will pay off year after year, so remember that when you’re in the weeds!

There is no one right way, but I choose to teach these paragraphs formulaically. I let students know along the way there are other ways to do this well, you don’t always have to be this structured, but I liken it to being a chef: first you learn how to cook by following a recipe, and eventually that gives way to you adding your own spices and flavors!

Opening paragraph requirements:

how to write a persuasive essay elementary school

Sample Slide from Opening Paragraphs Presentation

  • Transition to thesis statement
  • Thesis statement

I usually start with the thesis statement since the students have just completed their outlines. The thesis statement should show what position the writer has taken and the topics of the body paragraphs to come.

Next, I teach three choices to create a hook: ask questions, anecdotes, and interesting facts/statistics. Here’s where the prep work comes in: you must craft an example of each type of hook for the same essay prompt (this is included in my individual and unit lessons).

Finally, I post the hook and the thesis statement with a large space in between. I ask the students to help me craft a transition to thesis that blends the two sections together. The trick is to keep it simple. It should be one true statement about your topic that doesn’t steal the thunder from your body paragraph ideas.

how to write a persuasive essay elementary school

Opening Paragraph Example. It’s not perfect, but it’s a solid draft!

Closing paragraph requirements:

  • Connect to the hook in the opening paragraph
  • Re-state the thesis
  • Call to action

how to write a persuasive essay elementary school

Call to Action Example

Good news! The three examples of hooks you used for the opening paragraph lessons will be used again in this lesson.  You will need to show students how to connect back to the hook without introducing new (especially conflicting) information for each approach.

Next, re-word the thesis so it isn’t an exact repetition of what was used in the opening paragraph, but conveys the same information.

Finally, teach students to conclude by telling their reader what they should think or do next.

Final Notes

Giving students compelling prompts is important, and you can find inspiration in absolutely any controversy. Not sure what to do? Look to a problem in your school, community, or country. It’s often helpful to have a short discussion/debate on a topic to help students think of and flesh out ideas.

You’ve got this! You can not only survive teaching writing , but thrive! Not convinced? Try my No/Low prep. Persuasive Writing Unit. It comes with editable PowerPoint lessons, student notes, practice handouts, and more. Watch the video preview below for more details or click through to the Persuasive Writing unit !

Get All the Lessons, Ready-Made & Editable!

Take Me to the Unit!

how to write a persuasive essay elementary school

You might also want to check out these other writing posts:

Do Your Students Love to Write? It’s Within Reach

6 Ways to Survive Teaching Writing

Teaching Writing: Shacks vs. Mansions


Demystify the persuasive writing process for 4th - 8th graders by breaking down component skills and providing isolated practice at each step.

March 20, 2017 at 12:18 pm

Teaching writing can be difficult but I love the way you break down the process for your students! Thanks for sharing!

March 20, 2017 at 12:20 pm

Great post, assigning vs. teaching is definitely an error we all make at times!!

March 21, 2017 at 12:57 am

You have touched on something teachers often do – we get excited to introduce something and don't take the time to build the foundation. It has taken me a while, but like you, I've had to slow down and get the basics in place in order for anything of value to come from those kids who are learning!

March 21, 2017 at 3:06 am

Great job laying out the process!

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how to write a persuasive essay elementary school

Literacy Ideas

How to Write Perfect Persuasive Essays in 5 Simple Steps

Persuasive essay | LEarn how to write a perfect persuasive essay 1 | How to Write Perfect Persuasive Essays in 5 Simple Steps |


What is a persuasive essay?

A persuasive text presents a point of view around a topic or theme that is backed by evidence to support it.

The purpose of a persuasive text can be varied.  Maybe you intend to influence someone’s opinion on a specific topic, or you might aim to sell a product or service through an advertisement.

The challenge in writing a good persuasive text is to use a mix of emotive language and, in some cases, images that are supported by hard evidence or other people’s opinions.

In a persuasive essay or argument essay, the student strives to convince the reader of the merits of their opinion or stance on a particular issue. The student must utilise several persuasive techniques to form a coherent and logical argument to convince the reader of a point of view or to take a specific action.

Persuasive essay | persuasive essays | How to Write Perfect Persuasive Essays in 5 Simple Steps |


Persuasive texts are simple in structure.  You must clearly state your opinion around a specific topic and then repeatedly reinforce your opinions with external facts or evidence.  A robust concluding summary should leave little doubt in the reader’s mind.  ( Please view our planning tool below for a detailed explanation. )


We cover the broad topic of writing a general persuasive essay in this guide, there are several sub-genres of persuasive texts students will encounter as they progress through school. We have complete guides on these text types, so be sure to click the links and read these in detail if required.

  • Argumentative Essays – These are your structured “Dogs are better pets than Cats” opinion-type essays where your role is to upsell the positive elements of your opinions to your audience whilst also highlighting the negative aspects of any opposing views using a range of persuasive language and techniques.
  • Advertising – Uses persuasive techniques to sell a good or service to potential customers with a call to action.
  • Debating Speeches – A debate is a structured discussion between two teams on a specific topic that a moderator judges and scores. Your role is to state your case, sell your opinions to the audience, and counteract your opposition’s opinions.
  • Opinion Articles, Newspaper Editorials. – Editorials often use more subtle persuasive techniques that blur the lines of factual news reporting and opinions that tell a story with bias. Sometimes they may even have a call to action at the end.
  • Reviews – Reviews exist to inform others about almost any service or product, such as a film, restaurant, or product. Depending on your experiences, you may have firm opinions or not even care that much about recommending it to others. Either way, you will employ various persuasive techniques to communicate your recommendations to your audience.
  • Please note a DISCUSSION essay is not a traditional persuasive text, as even though you are comparing and contrasting elements, the role of the author is to present an unbiased account of both sides so that the reader can make a decision that works best for them. Discussions are often confused as a form of persuasive writing.


Persuasive essay | opinion writing unit 1 | How to Write Perfect Persuasive Essays in 5 Simple Steps |

Teach your students to produce writing that  PERSUADES  and  INFLUENCES  thinking with this  HUGE  writing guide bundle covering: ⭐ Persuasive Texts / Essays ⭐ Expository Essays⭐ Argumentative Essays⭐ Discussions.

A complete 140 PAGE unit of work on persuasive texts for teachers and students. No preparation is required.


Persuasive essay | persuasive essay template | How to Write Perfect Persuasive Essays in 5 Simple Steps |

1. Introduction

In the introduction, the student will naturally introduce the topic. Controversial issues make for great topics in this writing genre. It’s a cliche in polite society to discourage discussions involving politics, sex, or religion because they can often be very divisive. While these subjects may not be the best topics of conversation for the dinner table at Thanksgiving, they can be perfect when deciding on a topic for persuasive writing. Obviously, the student’s age and abilities should be considered, as well as cultural taboos, when selecting a topic for the essay. But the point holds, the more controversial, the better.

Let’s take a look at some of the critical elements of the introduction when writing a persuasive essay:

Title: Tell your audience what they are reading.

This will often be posed as a question; for example, if the essay is on the merits of a vegetarian lifestyle, it may be called something like: To Eat Meat or Not?

Hook : Provide your audience with a reason to continue reading.

As with any genre of writing, capturing the reader’s interest from the outset is crucial. There are several methods of doing this, known as hooks. Students may open their essays with anecdotes, jokes, quotations, or relevant statistics related to the topic under discussion.

Background: Provide some context to your audience.

In this introductory section, students will provide the reader with some background on the topic. This will place the issue in context and briefly weigh some opinions on the subject.

Thesis statement: Let the audience know your stance.

After surveying the topic in the first part of the introduction, it is now time for the student writer to express their opinion and briefly preview the points they will make later in the essay.

2. Body Paragraphs

The number of paragraphs forming this essay section will depend on the number of points the writer chooses to make to support their opinion. Usually three main points will be sufficient for beginning writers to coordinate. More advanced students can increase the number of paragraphs based on the complexity of their arguments, but the overall structure will largely remain intact.

Be sure to check out our complete guide to writing perfect paragraphs here .

The TEEL acronym is valuable for students to remember how to structure their paragraphs.  Read below for a deeper understanding.

Topic Sentence:

The topic sentence states the central point of the paragraph. This will be one of the reasons supporting the thesis statement made in the introduction.

These sentences will build on the topic sentence by illustrating the point further, often by making it more specific.

These sentences’ purpose is to support the paragraph’s central point by providing supporting evidence and examples. This evidence may be statistics, quotations, or anecdotal evidence.

The final part of the paragraph links back to the initial statement of the topic sentence while also forming a bridge to the next point to be made. This part of the paragraph provides some personal analysis and interpretation of how the student arrived at their conclusions and connects the essay as a cohesive whole.

3. Conclusion

The conclusion weaves together the main points of the persuasive essay. It does not usually introduce new arguments or evidence but instead reviews the arguments made already and restates them by summing them up uniquely. It is important at this stage to tie everything back to the initial thesis statement. This is the writer’s last opportunity to drive home their point, to achieve the essay’s goal, to begin with – persuade the reader of their point of view.

Persuasive essay | 7 top 5 essay writing tips | How to Write Perfect Persuasive Essays in 5 Simple Steps |

Ending an essay well can be challenging, but it is essential to end strongly, especially for persuasive essays. As with the hooks of the essay’s opening, there are many tried and tested methods of leaving the reader with a strong impression. Encourage students to experiment with different endings, for example, concluding the essay with a quotation that amplifies the thesis statement.

Another method is to have the student rework their ending in simple monosyllabic words, as simple language often has the effect of being more decisive in impact. The effect they are striving for in the final sentence is the closing of the circle.

Several persuasive writing techniques can be used in the conclusion and throughout the essay to amp up the persuasive power of the writing. Let’s take a look at a few.


Persuasive essay | RHETORIC | How to Write Perfect Persuasive Essays in 5 Simple Steps |


Persuasive writing template and graphic organizer


In this article, we have outlined a basic structure that will be helpful to students in approaching the organization of their persuasive writing. It will also be helpful for the students to be introduced to a few literary techniques that will help your students to present their ideas convincingly. Here are a few of the more common ones:

Repetition: There is a reason why advertisements and commercials are so repetitive – repetition works! Students can use this knowledge to their advantage in their persuasive writing. It is challenging to get the reader to fully agree with the writer’s opinion if they don’t fully understand it. Saying the same thing in various ways ensures the reader gets many bites at the ‘understanding’ cherry.

Repetition Example: “The use of plastic bags is not only bad for the environment, but it is also bad for our economy. Plastic bags are not biodegradable, meaning they will not decompose and will continue to take up space in landfills. Plastic bags are also not recyclable, meaning they will not be reused and will instead end up in landfills. Plastic bags are not only bad for the environment, but they are also bad for our economy as they are costly to dispose of and take up valuable space in landfills.”

In this example, the phrase “not only bad for the environment but also bad for our economy” is repeated multiple times to reinforce the idea that plastic bags are not just a problem for the environment but also the economy. The repetition of the phrase emphasizes the point and makes it more persuasive.

It is also important to note that repetition could be used differently, such as repeating a word or phrase to create rhythm or emphasis.

Storytelling: Humans tend to understand things better through stories. Think of how we teach kids important values through time-tested fables like Peter and the Wolf . Whether through personal anecdotes or references to third-person experiences, stories help climb down the ladder of abstraction and reach the reader on a human level.

Storytelling Example: “Imagine you are walking down the street, and you come across a stray dog clearly in need of food and water. The dog looks up at you with big, sad eyes, and you cannot help but feel a twinge of compassion. Now, imagine that same scenario, but instead of a stray dog, it’s a homeless person sitting on the sidewalk. The person is clearly in need of food and shelter, and their eyes also look up at her with a sense of hopelessness.

The point of this story is to show that just as we feel compelled to help a stray animal in need, we should also feel compelled to help a homeless person. We should not turn a blind eye to the suffering of our fellow human beings, and we should take action to address homelessness in our community. It is important to remember that everyone deserves a roof over their head and a warm meal to eat. The story is designed to elicit an emotional response in the reader and make the argument more relatable and impactful.

By using storytelling, this passage creates an image in the reader’s mind and creates an emotional connection that can be more persuasive than just stating facts and figures.

Persuasive essay | Images play an integral part in persuading an audience in advertisements | How to Write Perfect Persuasive Essays in 5 Simple Steps |

Dissent: We live in a cynical age, so leaving out the opposing opinion will smack of avoidance to the reader. Encourage your students to turn to that opposing viewpoint and deal with those arguments in their essays .

Dissent Example: “Many people argue that students should not have to wear uniforms in school. They argue that uniforms stifle creativity and individuality and that students should be able to express themselves through their clothing choices. While these are valid concerns, I strongly disagree.

In fact, uniforms can actually promote individuality by levelling the playing field and removing the pressure to dress in a certain way. Furthermore, uniforms can promote a sense of community and belonging within a school. They can also provide a sense of discipline and structure, which can help to create a more focused and productive learning environment. Additionally, uniforms can save families money and eliminate the stress of deciding what to wear daily .

While some may argue that uniforms stifle creativity and individuality, the benefits of uniforms far outweigh the potential drawbacks. It is important to consider the impact of uniforms on the school as a whole, rather than focusing solely on individual expression.”

In this example, the writer presents the opposing viewpoint (uniforms stifle creativity and individuality) and then provides counterarguments to refute it. By doing so, the writer can strengthen their own argument and present a more convincing case for why uniforms should be worn in school.

A Call to Action: A staple of advertising, a call to action can also be used in persuasive writing. When employed, it usually forms part of the conclusion section of the essay and asks the reader to do something, such as recycle, donate to charity, sign a petition etc.

A quick look around reveals to us the power of persuasion, whether in product advertisements, newspaper editorials, or political electioneering; persuasion is an ever-present element in our daily lives. Logic and reason are essential in persuasion, but they are not the only techniques. The dark arts of persuasion can prey on emotion, greed, and bias. Learning to write persuasively can help our students recognize well-made arguments and help to inoculate them against the more sinister manifestations of persuasion.

Call to Action Example: “Climate change is a pressing issue that affects us all, and it’s important that we take action now to reduce our carbon footprint and protect the planet for future generations. As a society, we have the power to make a difference and it starts with small changes that we can make in our own lives.

I urge you to take the following steps to reduce your carbon footprint:

  • Reduce your use of single-use plastics
  • Use public transportation, carpool, bike or walk instead of driving alone.
  • Support clean energy sources such as solar and wind power
  • Plant trees and support conservation efforts

It’s easy to feel like one person can’t make a difference, but the truth is that every little bit helps. Together, we can create a more sustainable future for ourselves and for the planet.

So, let’s take action today and make a difference for a better future, it starts with minor changes, but it all adds up and can make a significant impact. We need to take responsibility for our actions and do our part to protect the planet.”

In this example, the writer gives a clear and specific call to action and encourages the reader to take action to reduce their carbon footprint and protect the planet. By doing this, the writer empowers the reader to take action and enables them to change.

Now, go persuade your students of the importance of perfecting the art of persuasive writing!


Persuasive essay | fact and opinion unit 1 | How to Write Perfect Persuasive Essays in 5 Simple Steps |

This  HUGE 120 PAGE  resource combines four different fact and opinion activities you can undertake as a  WHOLE GROUP  or as  INDEPENDENT READING GROUP TASKS  in either  DIGITAL  or  PRINTABLE TASKS.


Writing an effective persuasive essay demonstrates a range of skills that will be of great use in nearly all aspects of life after school.

Persuasive essay | persuasive essays | How to Write Perfect Persuasive Essays in 5 Simple Steps |

In essence, if you can influence a person to change their ideas or thoughts on a given topic through how you structure your words and thoughts, you possess a very powerful skill.

Be careful not to rant wildly.  Use facts and other people’s ideas who think similarly to you in your essay to strengthen your concepts.

Your biggest challenge in getting started may be choosing a suitable persuasive essay topic.  These 20 topics for a persuasive essay should make this process a little easier.



If your students need a little more direction and guidance, here are some journal prompts that include aspects to consider.

  • Convince us that students would be better off having a three-day weekend .  There are many angles you could take with this, such as letting children maximize their childhood or trying to convince your audience that a four-day school week might actually be more productive.
  • Which is the best season?  And why?   You will really need to draw on the benefits of your preferred season and sell them to your audience.  Where possible, highlight the negatives of the competing seasons.  Use lots of figurative language and sensory and emotional connections for this topic.
  • Aliens do / or don’t exist?  We can see millions of stars surrounding us just by gazing into the night sky, suggesting alien life should exist, right? Many would argue that if there were aliens we would have seen tangible evidence of them by now.  The only fact is that we just don’t know the answer to this question.  It is your task to try and convince your audience through some research and logic what your point of view is and why.
  • Should school uniforms be mandatory? Do your research on this popular and divisive topic and make your position clear on where you stand and why.  Use plenty of real-world examples to support your thoughts and points of view.  
  • Should Smartphones be banned in schools?   Whilst this would be a complete nightmare for most students’ social lives, maybe it might make schools more productive places for students to focus and learn.  Pick a position, have at least three solid arguments to support your point of view, and sell them to your audience.


Try these engaging, persuasive prompts with your students to ignite the writing process . Scroll through them.

Persuasive writing prompts

Persuasive Essay Examples (Student Writing Samples)

Below are a collection of persuasive essay samples.  Click on the image to enlarge and explore them in greater detail.  Please take a moment to read the persuasive texts in detail and the teacher and student guides highlight some of the critical elements of writing a persuasion.

Please understand these student writing samples are not intended to be perfect examples for each age or grade level but a piece of writing for students and teachers to explore together to critically analyze to improve student writing skills and deepen their understanding of persuasive text writing.

We recommend reading the example either a year above or below, as well as the grade you are currently working with, to gain a broader appreciation of this text type.

Persuasive essay | year 4 persuasive text example 1536x1536 1 | How to Write Perfect Persuasive Essays in 5 Simple Steps |


Persuasive essay | persuasive writing tutorial video | How to Write Perfect Persuasive Essays in 5 Simple Steps |


Persuasive essay | LITERACY IDEAS FRONT PAGE 1 | How to Write Perfect Persuasive Essays in 5 Simple Steps |

Teaching Resources

Use our resources and tools to improve your student’s writing skills through proven teaching strategies.


persuasive writing unit

We pride ourselves on being the web’s best resource for teaching students and teachers how to write a persuasive text. We value the fact you have taken the time to read our comprehensive guides to understand the fundamentals of writing skills.

We also understand some of you just don’t have the luxury of time or the resources to create engaging resources exactly when you need them.

If you are time-poor and looking for an in-depth solution that encompasses all of the concepts outlined in this article, I strongly recommend looking at the “ Writing to Persuade and Influence Unit. ”

Working in partnership with Innovative Teaching Ideas , we confidently recommend this resource as an all-in-one solution to teach how to write persuasively.

This unit will find over 140 pages of engaging and innovative teaching ideas.


writing checklists

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Top 5 Persuasive Writing Techniques for Students

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5 Top Persuasive Writing Lesson Plans for Students and Teachers

Persuasive essay | persuasive writing prompts | 23 Persuasive writing Topics for High School students |

23 Persuasive writing Topics for High School students

Persuasive essay | 1 reading and writing persuasive advertisements | How to Write an Advertisement: A Complete Guide for Students and Teachers |

How to Write an Advertisement: A Complete Guide for Students and Teachers

Persuasive essay | how to start an essay 1 | How to Start an Essay with Strong Hooks and Leads |

How to Start an Essay with Strong Hooks and Leads

The content for this page has been written by Shane Mac Donnchaidh.  A former principal of an international school and English university lecturer with 15 years of teaching and administration experience. Shane’s latest Book, The Complete Guide to Nonfiction Writing , can be found here.  Editing and support for this article have been provided by the literacyideas team.

how to write a persuasive essay elementary school

How to Write a Persuasive Essay That Captivates Your Reader

Persuasion is the goal of writing a persuasive essay.

After students progress from simple sentences to their first structured story, it’s time to enter the wonderful world of essay writing. 

Though there are many types of essays , today’s post focuses on how to write a persuasive essay . 

This is your (or your student’s) chance to make your voice heard and champion your cause. 

If you are nervous about writing your first persuasive essay, don’t be. Perhaps you’ll find it as exciting a form of writing as I do. 

Let’s walk through the writing process step-by-step. 

What Is a Persuasive Essay?

The point of a persuasive essay is to—you guessed it—persuade. Also referred to as an argumentative essay, your goal is to convince your reader of your point-of-view through a presentation of sound arguments. 

Ultimately, you want to move your reader to respond positively to points that you prove to be true. 

The proof you provide can be in the form of facts, data, experiments, anecdotal evidence, and more. 

Components of a Persuasive Essay 

How do you master the art of persuasion?

What makes a great persuasive essay?  

A persuasive essay that convinces its reader requires a few fundamental building blocks that include the following: 

  • A topic that’s debatable
  • A thorough understanding of arguments from both sides
  • A straightforward thesis statement
  • Closely examined arguments 
  • A sturdy structure
  • A harmonious balance of logic and emotion 
  • A sound and compelling conclusion

how to write a persuasive essay elementary school

Teach Your Students to Write Skillfully

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Jordan Mitchell

Teaching Argumentation and Persuasion: 6 Engaging Activities Beyond the Argumentative Essay

how to teach argumentation and persuasion

There are many engaging activities to use when teaching argumentation and persuasion beyond the classic essay. While the argumentative essay can certainly be effective, try something new with one of these 6 engaging activities. Your students will be excited and eager to apply argumentation and persuasion in the classroom and beyond.

When it comes to teaching argumentation and persuasion, I’m like a kid on Christmas morning. I’m eager, excited, and full of energy. Yet, over the years, I’ve found that my students don’t always meet me with the same enthusiasm. Instead, they roll their figurative eyes at the thought of writing yet another essay.

I had to do something to save my favorite holiday– I mean unit– of the year.

I’ve spent more hours than I’d like to admit, wracking my brain for activities that would make teaching argumentation and persuasion, dare I say, fun! But the time and effort paid off. When I started implementing activities beyond the argumentative essays, my students were engaged and active participants. It was a win-win.

Lucky for you, I’ve done the work (and put in the time) so you don’t have to. Instead, simply keep reading to uncover some of my secret weapons for teaching argumentation and persuasion. The following activities can be used instead of or in conjunction with the classic argumentative essay. It’s totally up to you and what will best suit your students’ needs. Regardless, you don’t have to spend the hours brainstorming from square one. You can thank me later. In the meantime, read on, my teacher friends!

Laying the Foundation for Teaching Argumentation and Persuasion

Before jumping into one of the activities below, you need to set your students up for success. Therefore, be sure to teach the essential concepts for effective argumentation and persuasion. Afterall, both argumentation and persuasion are cornerstone communication skills in the 21st century.

So, not only do you want to do these topics justice for the sake of your classroom. But, they’re also some of the most transferable skills your students will use in the real world.

Note: if you’re just looking for the activities, no problem! Keep scrolling– I promise they’re there.

Understanding the Difference Between Argumentation and Persuasion

While these two topics are often taught together, it’s important for students to know that they aren’t exactly synonyms. Instead, you could argue (see what I did there) these two concepts act as compliments to one another. In many cases, persuasion can strengthen an argument, and vice versa. But again, they’re not exactly the same when it comes to speaking or writing. (However, I find it useful to remind students of one of the most important aspects they do share: there has to be at least two sides.) You can clarify the major differences between the two by looking at the main goal for each type of writing or speech:

  • The goal of argumentative writing is to get the audience to acknowledge your stance on a topic. Moreover, a strong argument shows the reader your viewpoint is valid and deserves consideration. Therefore, argumentative writing is heavily rooted in logic and facts and addressed counterclaims.
  • Goal of persuasive writing is to get the audience to agree with you and your stance on a particular topic or viewpoint. While logic most certainly strengthens persuasion, there is also a heavy emphasis on emotional elements as well.

The truth is, the two are often used hand in hand in the real world with everything from marketing and public service campaigns to politics and law. And, in most cases, persuasive writing is more personal and passionate for students. Therefore, I strive to teach the two together to increase student engagement and real word application. Talk about a dream duo for students and teachers alike!

Rhetoric and Rhetorical Appeals

I absolutely love comparing persuasion and argumentation to art. Why? Because it’s a true craft. Do I explain it that way to my students? Abso-freakin-lutely. Why? Because they need to understand that presenting a sound and persuasive argument is a skill. That these writing and speaking skills take time and effort to develop.

Enter: Rhetoric. I always begin this unit by defining argumentation, persuasion, and rhetoric, explaining how the latter literally means the art of persuasion. Then, I introduce the three main rhetorical appeals (shout out Aristotle). Rather than simply giving the students the definitions of ethos, pathos, and logos, I begin by asking questions to help reveal the definitions. Here are some of the questions I use– and that you can most certainly steal for your own classroom:

  • To introduce ethos , I ask, “Who would you trust to give advice about toothpaste? Why?”
  • To introduce logos , I might ask, “If you wanted to learn how to build a successful business, what is the benefit of a successful entrepreneur giving you step-by-step guidance?”
  • To introduce pathos , I ask, “Think about a time where you got emotional during a commercial, song, or movie. What was it that made you so emotional?”

The Power of Words

Once students have an understanding of these essential definitions, it’s time to move on to a more abstract, yet highly significant, concept: the power of words. This is where I introduce the importance (and power) of diction. This is the perfect time to explain how words impact reader/audience experience.

One of the simplest examples to make a case for this claim is asking students to analyze the difference between the terms house and home. I’ve never had a class not come to the conclusion that a house is a structure and place of living, where a home is a place filled with love.

To round out the discussion on why and how words have an impact on the audience, introduce connotation and denotation. Spending a handful of minutes explaining the emotional meaning behind words (connotation) can be a game changer. It reminds students that there is, in fact, emotional power in the words we use. To drive the point home, you can ask them to compare times when they were upset vs. angry vs. furious.

A Fun and Engaging Warm-Up Activity for Teaching Argumentation and Persuasion

What tween or teen doesn’t like arguing with adults? (Trust me. They’re far and few between.) In other words, students will eat this activity up. Rather than focusing on deep and heavy topics that require a great deal of research and unpacking, this activity is a lighthearted warm-up. The goal is to get students to start thinking about what goes into a sound and persuasive argument.

  • Arguing with “Adults”

Working independently or in small groups, students will pick a “silly” or lighthearted topic. Encourage them to think of things they’d like to convince their parents, teachers, or other adults. Since these topics are light hearted and often come from a place of passion, students will have no problem coming up with reasons why their curfew should be extended by an hour or two or why homework should be abolished. They’re excited to argue why their parents should buy them a car or why a puppy is a must-have addition to their family.

Next, allow students five minutes to choose a topic and brainstorm their argument. Then, give them 10-20 minutes to write their argument. (The timing of this activity is flexible, so you can adjust it based on the structure of your class.) After they write out their argument, it’s time to share– and let the discussion unfold. As each student (or group) shares their argument, have fun playing devil’s advocate. Challenge them to push their arguments and reasoning further.

While you might want to guide the students through the discussion, let them really come to terms with the idea of what makes a sound and persuasive argument. And if you really want to play up the fun? Challenge the other students to play that role! Have your students in the audience play the role of the adults to whom the argument is targeted. This will challenge students to find holes in the arguments, brainstorming ways to make an argument even stronger. Additionally, it challenges them to think about the importance of audience perspective , looking beyond their own interests, blind spots, and biases. The end result? Develop a list of student generated “check-points” for an argument that is both powerful and persuasive.

Engaging Activities for Teaching Argumentation and Persuasion

Watching TV. Driving down the highway. Scrolling through social media. The art of argumentation and persuasion are everywhere . So, why not bring some of those real-life examples to your classroom? Because the truth is, persuasion and argumentation comes in all shapes and sizes. Therefore, it might be time to look beyond the traditional argumentative essay. And with these activities, you can.

An oldie but a goodie. In fact, discussing teaching argumentation and persuasion wouldn’t feel right without some sort of debate. So, to begin this student-centered activity, select (or have students choose) a topic to argue. This can be a murder or crime– and you can even have fun with historical topics like the Salem witch trials if it’s around Halloween or you’re reading The Crucible . Alternatively, you can root your debate in an ethical dilemma or an essential question. Generally speaking, you can look toward real life events or literature for inspiration. You can even head to your state bar association website for mock trial resources and cases– like these from the state of NH . As long as there is evidence to be found and a case to make, you should be good to go.

Before really diving into the mock trial, spend time reviewing the basics of the justice system and trials. Then, once you choose your topic, divide students into teams of prosecution and defense. Once the teams are determined, students can dive into researching and crafting their arguments. However, be sure to emphasize the need for evidence based claims while also discussing the power of persuasion in the courtroom. (There are plenty of video clips you can show and analyze to see these two elements in action.) Each group, both the prosecution and defense, are responsible for crafting an opening statement, a claim, a rebuttal, and a closing statement. For smaller classes, you can serve as the judge and jury. For larger classes, you can run several trials, letting the other groups act as the jury if they’re not presenting. Either way, students will be far more eager to win the jury over with their evidence than they are to write a paper.

There’s no better way for students to show off their new persuasive skills and knowledge of ethos, logos, and pathos than to craft their own arguments. And a mock trial allows them to do so in a way other than the classic essay. But with a verdict on the line, there’s a lot at stake. Therefore, this activity amps up eager participation.

Mock Trial Teacher Tip. Mock trials make debating more exciting– especially if you really play up the trial theme. (Have an old graduation gown? Use it as the judge’s robe! A wig? Yes please! A gavel? A must.)  So, grab your gavel and give this engaging activity a try!

  • Students Do Shark Tank

This activity brings the worlds of business, marketing, and advertisements into the conversation. Talk about real world connection! Most older students will be familiar with this show. However, it’s always fun to show a clip for an episode or two just in case. Plus. Who doesn’t love watching videos in class? (Teachers and students alike.) Shark Tank is all about the pitch. So, have fun replicating this idea in your classroom! And instead of presenting to the likes of Mark Cuban, students will present to you . If you’re able, try getting a few other guest sharks on the “show”.

Before diving into the project, in addition to watching a few clips of the show, take some time to analyze the world of advertising. Encourage students to find connections between argumentative and persuasive writing and real-life commercials, social media campaigns, and print advertisements. Then, put students in small groups and together they will create their own product. Alternatively, you can have them pick an existing product they’re passionate about. Then, the fun begins.

Using their new knowledge of persuasive language techniques and argumentation, students must convince the sharks to invest in their product! For a fun twist that gets everyone involved, let the audience in on the investments. Print out a set amount of “money” for each student. After all the presentations, allow them to “invest” in their favorite products. As for the presentations themselves, I like to require a visual advertisement– like a poster– and a written component– like an elevator pitch. Students can then display their visuals as they give their speech. Later, students can view all of the visuals as they decide where to “invest” their money.

Shark Tank Teacher Tip. Looking to beef up the argumentative writing side of things? You can have students submit a short research-based argumentative paper that supports the need for their product. Regardless of the specifics, students will be eager to dive into this activity with such real world application.

  • Speech Remix

From Abraham Lincoln’s  “The Gettysburg Address” and Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream,” history has its fair share of powerful speeches. And they’re great examples of argumentation and persuasion as well. So, begin this activity by analyzing a mentor text as a class. Then, turn it over to the students to showcase their knowledge on their own.

Have students choose a historical speech (you can refer to this bank of speeches here ) to analyze. They can turn in annotations or a short response analyzing the rhetoric of their chosen speech. Here’s the twist. After analyzing the speech, they then use it as a mentor text, implementing its sentence structure, tone and rhetorical techniques as they write their own speech. This is where student choice really kicks up a notch. Allow students to choose a topic, cause, or issue they feel passionate about. However, I always recommend having a list of potential topics on hand for students who need a little more guidance.

Additionally, it might be useful to encourage a backwards design approach. Have students select their topic first, and then find a speech that is a good match. For example, a social justice issue might pair well with Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. However, be sure students choosing unique and more modern topics are not dissuaded if they can’t find the perfect match. Regardless, in the end, this activity pays homage to great speeches of the past while allowing students to take ownership as they apply the argumentative and persuasive techniques to modern day.

Speech Remix Teacher Tip. Why limit yourself to the four walls of your classroom? This activity is a perfect opportunity for cross-curricular collaboration. Consider reaching out to the history teachers and focus your class study on a speech that lines up with the social studies curriculum. This will allow students to have a more in depth background knowledge, giving them more context for the speaker’s rhetorical approach. Similarly, a speech of this caliber might be less intimidating if they understand the context, allowing them to really focus on the rhetorical approach.

  • #Influencer

In the age of social media, companies make a pretty penny using influencer campaigns. And it’s really quite fitting. Afterall, argumentation and persuasion is all about influence . So, to kick off this activity, spend some time looking at social media ads and influencer accounts. Be sure to analyze everything from photos to captions to hashtags.

After looking at real word examples, it’s time for students to take on the role of an “influencer” – they can be themselves or create an influencer persona. The next step is for them to choose which product of service they are “fit” to promote and, ideally, sell. Students should pick something they have experience with or knowledge about, from video games to make-up. Then, have students write a letter to the “company” (aka you) to convince them that they are capable of being an influencer. This is where they really need to tap into ethos. They should clearly explain why they are a reputable source and should be trusted to sell “your” product. If they’ve convinced you, then they can sign a “contract” (aka the assignment requirements) that outlines the agreement.

Here’s where the fun and creativity happens. While you can determine the specific requirements, students should create a portfolio of campaign materials to promote their chosen product. This is where you can determine how in depth or brief you want the assignment to be. The portfolio can include artifacts like a series of social media posts, youtube videos or scripts, an email funnel, or even blog posts– or a portfolio combining various types of artifacts.

#Influencer Teacher Tip. If you’re looking to amp up the requirements and turn this into a unit-long assignment or a full blown summative assessment, you totally can. Consider adjusting the assignment to be a multigenre project of sorts. Present students with a list and overview of various genres they can include as part of their project. Then, let them select the ones they wish to include in their multigenre portfolio.

  • PSA – The Passion Project

The name alone screams engagement, right? Even better, this activity is engaging.  Instead of assigning a list of overused (and sometimes outdated) argumentative prompts, let students take the reins by choosing a topic that matters to them . So, after teaching your students about rhetorical appeals, the appropriate use of persuasion, and the basics of argumentative writing, let students showcase their newfound skills with the PSA Passion Project. In this project, rather than simply writing an essay for the sake of getting grades, students are diving into an issue of their choice in hopes of raising awareness.

Begin by having students select a social or environmental issue that is important to them. These can range from animal testing in the beauty industry to the impact of social media on mental health. In other words, there’s a wide variety of topics out there, so your students are bound to find something that matters to them. Then, they must plan, develop, and create a public service announcement campaign around the issue. This is where you can really drive home the idea of call to action with persuasion. The challenge with the PSA assignment is crafting an argument that is applicable and persuasive for a mass audience. Afterall, when it comes to wide-spread change, there is power in numbers. (This activity can serve as its own unit or work in conjunction with the study of classic essays like “On The Duty of Civil Disobedience” by Thoreau or “A Letter From Birmingham County Jail” by MLK Jr..

This activity has plenty of room for creativity and student choice. However, that doesn’t mean you have to give up a writing component. Instead, require students to complete a minimum of two items: a written piece and a visual or media element. The writing pieces can range from a more traditional argumentative essay to back up their media component. Alternatively, they can write a speech, persuasive letter, or educational blog post. Then, for the media components, they can create a poster, a video, a social media post, or an infographic– just to name a few. Now, if you’re really looking to diversify the elements of this project, consider turning the PSA Passion Project into a full blown multigenre project!

PSA Passion Project Teacher Tip. Despite your best efforts, some students will claim they can’t find a topic they’re passionate about. (Teenagers.) That’s why I always come prepared with a list of topics students can choose from. Even students eager to choose their own topic might like to see a list for inspiration. Save yourself some time by giving them ideas from this list of engaging argumentative writing prompts!

A Final Note on the Art of Teaching Argumentation and Persuasion

Remember, I’m not saying traditional essays are bad. But I think it’s worth looking beyond the traditions and asking ourselves, how can we make this better ? Better for the students. More reflective of and applicable to the world we live in. If there’s some fun to be had along the way, so be it! (In fact, I encourage it!)

So, as you go one to try any one (or all!) of these activities in your classroom, feel free to make adjustments as needed. And If you’re still looking for a more traditional essay to be your summative assessment, that’s A-OK too! In fact, the activities above can be shortened and adjusted to serve as a mini-lesson or formative assignments before writing a more traditional argumentative essay.

The bottom line is this…

Ever since I changed my approach to teaching argumentation and persuasion, it’s become something my students and I enjoy together . Imagine that!

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awesome advice and ideas. My semester just got a lot better!!!

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Black History Month for Kids: Google Slides, Resources, and More!

101 Interesting Persuasive Essay Topics for Kids and Teens

Use your words to sway the reader.

Persuasive Essay Topics: Should we allow little kids to play competitive sports?

Persuasive writing is one of those skills that can help students succeed in real life.  Persuasive essays are similar to argumentative , but they rely less on facts and more on emotion to sway the reader. It’s important to know your audience so you can anticipate any counterarguments they might make and try to overcome them. Try reading some mentor texts to show kids great examples of opinion writing. Then use these persuasive essay topics for practice.

School and Education Persuasive Essay Topics

Life and ethics persuasive essay topics, science and technology persuasive essay topics, sports and entertainment persuasive essay topics, just for fun persuasive essay topics.


  • Do you think homework should be required, optional, or not given at all?

Persuasive Essay Topics: Do you think homework should be required, optional, or not given at all?

  • Students should/should not be able to use their phones during the school day.
  • Should schools have dress codes?
  • If I could change one school rule, it would be …
  • Is year-round school a good idea?
  • Should we stop giving final exams?
  • Is it better to be good at academics or good at sports?

Is it better to be good at academics or good at sports?

  • Which is better, private schools or public schools?
  • Should every student have to participate in athletics?
  • Do you think schools should ban junk food from their cafeterias?
  • Should students be required to volunteer in their communities?
  • What is the most important school subject?
  • Are letter grades helpful, or should we replace them with something else?

Persuasive Essay Topics: Are letter grades helpful, or should we replace them with something else?

  • Is it ever OK to cheat on homework or a test?
  • Should students get to grade their teachers?
  • Do you think college should be free for anyone who wants to attend?
  • Should schools be allowed to ban some books from their libraries?
  • Which is better, book smarts or street smarts?

Which is better, book smarts or street smarts?

  • Should all students have to learn a foreign language?
  • Are single-gender schools better or worse for students?
  • Is it OK to eat animals?
  • What animal makes the best pet?
  • Visit an animal shelter, choose an animal that needs a home, and write an essay persuading someone to adopt that animal.
  • If you find money on the ground, should you try to find the person who lost it, or is it yours to keep?

If you find money on the ground, should you try to find the person who lost it, or is it yours to keep?

  • Who faces more peer pressure, girls or boys?
  • Should all Americans be required to vote?
  • Is it better to be kind or truthful?
  • Which is better, giving or receiving?
  • Is it OK to keep animals in zoos?
  • Should we change the minimum driving age in the United States?

Should we change the minimum driving age in the United States?

  • Which is more important, happiness or success?
  • Is democracy the best form of government?
  • Is social media helpful or harmful?
  • Should parents be punished for their children’s mistakes or crimes?
  • Should kids have set bedtimes or just go to bed when they’re sleepy?
  • Do you think the government should find a way to provide free health care for everyone?

Do you think the government should find a way to provide free health care for everyone?

  • Is it better to save your allowance or spend it?
  • Should we ban plastic bags and bottles?
  • Which is better, living in the city or in the country?
  • If I could make a new law, it would be …
  • Is Pluto a planet?
  • Should human cloning be legal?
  • Should vaccines be mandatory?
  • Is it right for countries to still maintain nuclear weapon arsenals?

Is it right for countries to still maintain nuclear weapon arsenals?

  • Should testing on animals be made illegal?
  • Will expanded use of artificial intelligence be good for humanity?
  • Should all people have free Internet access in their homes?
  • Is there intelligent life on other planets?
  • Does technology create more jobs than it eliminates?
  • Should parents use their children’s cell phones to track where they are?
  • Should scientists try to develop a way for people to live forever?

Should scientists try to develop a way for people to live forever?

  • What’s the best type of smartphone: Android or iPhone?
  • Which is better, Macs or PCs?
  • Do people rely too much on technology in the modern world?
  • Should cryptocurrencies replace cash?
  • Should there be a minimum age requirement to own a smartphone?
  • Is it important to keep spending money on space exploration, or should we use the money for other things?

Is it important to keep spending money on space exploration, or should we use the money for other things?

  • Should kids under 13 be allowed to use social media sites?
  • Should we ban cigarette smoking and vaping entirely?
  • Is it better to be an animal that lives in the water or on land?
  • Should kids be allowed to watch TV on school nights?
  • Which is better, paper books or e-books?
  • Is the current movie rating system (G, PG, PG-13, etc.) effective?
  • Are video games better than board games?
  • Should we allow little kids to play competitive sports?

Should we allow little kids to play competitive sports?

  • Which is better, reading books or watching TV?
  • Does playing violent video games make people more violent in real life?
  • Are graphic novels just as valuable as traditional fictional books?
  • Should everyone play on the same sports teams, regardless of gender?
  • Choose a book that’s been made into a movie. Which was better, the movie or the book?

Choose a book that's been made into a movie. Which was better, the movie or the book?

  • Who is the world’s best athlete, present or past?
  • Are professional athletes/musicians/actors overpaid?
  • Which is better, fiction or nonfiction?
  • The best music genre is …
  • What is one book that everyone should read?
  • What new sport should be added to the Olympics?

What new sport should be added to the Olympics?

  • What’s the best video game system?
  • Does playing video games make you smarter?
  • Does reality TV actually depict real life?
  • Should all neighborhoods have free parks and playgrounds?
  • What’s the best holiday?
  • The very best food of all time is …
  • Which is better, artificial Christmas trees or real ones?

Which is better, artificial Christmas trees or real ones?

  • What’s the best season of the year?
  • Should you put ketchup on a hot dog?
  • Is a taco a sandwich?
  • Does fruit count as dessert?
  • Should people have to go to school or work on their birthday?
  • Are clowns scary or funny?
  • Which is more dangerous, werewolves or vampires?

Which is more dangerous, werewolves or vampires?

  • The best pizza topping is …
  • What would be the best superpower to have?
  • Should everyone make their bed every day?
  • Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
  • Should you put pineapple on a pizza?
  • Should you eat macaroni and cheese with a spoon or a fork?

Should you eat macaroni and cheese with a spoon or a fork?

  • Describe the world’s best ice cream sundae.
  • Is Monday the worst day of the week?
  • Would you rather travel back in time or forward in time?
  • Is it better to be too hot or too cold?
  • Are there aliens living among us here on Earth?

What are your favorite persuasive essay topics for students? Come exchange ideas in the We Are Teachers HELPLINE group on Facebook .

Plus, check out the big list of essay topics for high school (120+ ideas) ..

Need some ideas for practicing persuasive writing skills? These persuasive essay topics provide lots of scope for students of all ages.

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40 Strong Persuasive Writing Examples (Essays, Speeches, Ads, and More)

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Teacher's Notepad

45 Persuasive Writing Prompts for Elementary Students

The ability to write persuasively can come in handy in all sorts of situations, academic or not. Even elementary school students can use this skill in story writing and school projects.

There is always a need to be able to argue your point of view, so these prompts for persuasive writing are intended to assist younger students as they develop their persuasive writing skills.

How to Use Prompts

You can use the tried and true method of pulling numbers out of a hat and assigning the prompt that correlates with said number.

You may also want to get more creative with the prompts and have students practice persuasion and explain why they should get the prompt they want. 

Prompts to Persuade You

  • Convince your parents to let you have an exotic pet. 
  • Explain why school shouldn’t make students follow a dress code. 
  • Explain to your teacher why you shouldn’t be forced to do any more homework.
  • Argue about the benefits of longer lunch periods and a shorter school day. Or perhaps a later start to the school day.  
  • Why should cellphone use be allowed in school?
  • Why should your parents give you a raise in your allowance?
  • Should smoking be made illegal? Would this apply everywhere and would there be consequence if you were caught in the act?
  • Which sport is the best and why? Can you give examples? Or pros and cons of your argument?
  • Where do you want to go on vacation this summer? Convince your family why your idea is the right one.
  • Convince a sibling to do your chores. See how long you can get them to keep it up/
  • Explain why you should get a later bedtime.
  • Convince your parents to redecorate your room. Or why you should be allowed to paint whatever you want on the walls of your bedroom.
  • Why should you be allowed to watch more television?
  • Persuade someone to do you a favor of some sort.
  • Convince your parents to go to your favorite restaurant for dinner.
  • Persuade a friend to try something new with you.
  • Convince your teacher to have an “all recess day”
  • Debate whether you should be on a four-day a week school week.
  • Are you good at persuasion? Convince me.
  • What makes persuasion a useful skill? Make me believe your argument.
  • What does it mean to be persuasive?
  • What does a good argument enable you to do?
  • How can you persuade a person without taking advantage of them?
  • Does being persuasive have any downsides to it?
  • Can you convince your teacher to let you have a class party?
  •  What is the one thing you would want to convince your parents to buy you?
  • What are the strategies you use for persuasion?
  • Persuade someone to give $100 in your name to a charity.
  • Debate whether a monkey is a good pet or not?
  • Be an only child or have siblings…which is better?
  • Convince a sibling to play the game you want.
  • What is the best superpower to have?
  • How can you convince someone to take your side in an argument?
  • Which season is the best?
  • Can you explain to your classmates why you would be the best person for class president?
  • Do you know anyone you can’t persuade of something? What makes it difficult? Do have a plan you think would work to convince them of your opinion?
  • Why should school lunch always be pizza? Convince your audience with facts about pizza.
  • What is the importance of honesty?
  • Do you believe reality television is true reality? Why or why not?
  • Why should people believe you? Argue your credibility.
  • Persuade your teacher to let your class have show and tell.
  • Why should there be dessert every night?
  • What are the benefits of exercise? Should everyone do it?
  • Convince the class about the existence of a mythical animal, like a unicorn or a fairy.
  • Convince your parents why you shouldn’t have to share with your sibling.

Ready for More…?

Visit us and see all our lists of prompts as well as the other educational resources that we have available.

In addition, we always welcome your ideas and feedback. Drop us a line if you have an idea or think there might be something we missed.

how to write a persuasive essay elementary school

How to Write a Persuasive Essay: Step-by-Step Guide + Examples

Have you ever tried to get somebody round to your way of thinking? Then you should know how daunting the task is. Still, if your persuasion is successful, the result is emotionally rewarding.

Our specialists will write a custom essay specially for you!

A persuasive essay is a type of writing that uses facts and logic to argument and substantiate such or another point of view. The purpose is to assure the reader that the author’s position is viable. In this article by Custom-writing experts, you can find a guide on persuasive writing, compelling examples, and outline structure. Continue reading and learn how to write a persuasive essay!

⚖️ Argumentative vs. Persuasive Essay

  • 🐾 Step-by-Step Writing Guide

🔗 References

An argumentative essay intends to attack the opposing point of view, discussing its drawbacks and inconsistencies. A persuasive essay describes only the writer’s opinion, explaining why it is a believable one. In other words, you are not an opponent; you are an advocate.

Argumentative vs. Persuasive Essays: in what Points Are They Similar and Different?

A persuasive essay primarily resorts to emotions and personal ideas on a deeper level of meaning, while an argumentative one invokes logic reasoning. Despite the superficial similarity of these two genres, argumentative speech presupposes intense research of the subject, while persuasive speech requires a good knowledge of the audience.

🐾 How to Write a Persuasive Essay Step by Step

These nine steps are the closest thing you will find to a shortcut for writing to persuade. With practice, you may get through these steps quickly—or even figure out new techniques in persuasive writing.

📑 Persuasive Essay Outline

Below you’ll find an example of a persuasive essay outline . Remember: papers in this genre are more flexible than argumentative essays are. You don’t need to build a perfectly logical structure here. Your goal is to persuade your reader.

Just in 1 hour! We will write you a plagiarism-free paper in hardly more than 1 hour

Note that the next section contains a sample written in accordance with this outline.

Persuasive Essay Introduction

  • Hook: start with an intriguing sentence.
  • Background: describe the context of the discussed issue and familiarize the reader with the argument.
  • Definitions: if your essay dwells upon a theoretical subject matter, be sure to explain the complicated terms.
  • Thesis statement: state the purpose of your piece of writing clearly and concisely. This is the most substantial sentence of the entire essay, so take your time formulating it.

Persuasive Essay Body

Use the following template for each paragraph.

  • Topic sentence: linking each new idea to the thesis, it introduces a paragraph. Use only one separate argument for each section, stating it in the topic sentence.
  • Evidence: substantiate the previous sentence with reliable information. If it is your personal opinion, give the reasons why you think so.
  • Analysis: build the argument, explaining how the evidence supports your thesis.

Persuasive Essay Conclusion

  • Summary: briefly list the main points of the essay in a couple of sentences.
  • Significance: connect your essay to a broader idea.
  • Future: how can your argument be developed?

⭐ Persuasive Essay Examples

In this section, there are three great persuasive essay examples. The first one is written in accordance with the outline above, will the components indicated. Two others are downloadable.

Example #1: Being a Millionaire is a Bad Thing

Introduction, paragraph #1, paragraph #2, paragraph #3, example #2: teachers or doctors.

The importance of doctors in the period of the COVID-19 pandemic is difficult to overstate. The well-being of the nation depends on how well doctors can fulfill their duties before society. The US society acknowledges the importance of doctors and healthcare, as it is ready to pay large sums of money to cure the diseases. However, during the lockdown, students and parents all around the world began to understand the importance of teachers.

Before lockdown, everyone took the presence of teachers for granted, as they were always available free of charge. In this country, it has always been the case that while doctors received praises and monetary benefits, teachers remained humble, even though they play the most important role for humanity: passing the knowledge through generations. How fair is that? The present paper claims that even in the period of the pandemic, teachers contribute more to modern society than doctors do.

Example #3: Is Online or Homeschool More Effective?

The learning process can be divided into traditional education in an educational institution and distance learning. The latter form has recently become widely popular due to the development of technology. Besides, the COVID-19 pandemic is driving the increased interest in distance learning. However, there is controversy about whether this form of training is sufficient enough. This essay aims to examine online and homeschooling in a historical and contemporary context and to confirm the thesis that such activity is at least equivalent to a standard type of education.

Persuasive Essay Topics

  • Why do managers hate the performance evaluation?  
  • Why human cloning should be prohibited.  
  • Social media have negative physical and psychological effect on teenagers.  
  • Using cell phones while driving should be completely forbidden.  
  • Why is business ethics important? 
  • Media should change its negative representation of ageing and older people.  
  • What is going on with the world?  
  • Good communication skills are critical for successful business.  
  • Why capitalism is the best economic system.  
  • Sleep is extremely important for human health and wellbeing.  
  • Face-to-face education is more effective than online education.  
  • Why video games can be beneficial for teenagers.  
  • Bullies should be expelled from school as they encroach on the school safety.  
  • Why accountancy is a great occupation and more people should consider it as a future career.  
  • The reasons art and music therapy should be included in basic health insurance.  
  • Impact of climate change on the indoor environment.  
  • Parents should vaccinate their children to prevent the spread of deadly diseases.  
  • Why celebrities should pay more attention to the values they promote.  
  • What is wrong with realism?  
  • Why water recycling should be every government’s priority.  
  • Media spreads fear and panic among people.  
  • Why e-business is very important for modern organizations.  
  • People should own guns for self-protection.  
  • The neccessity of container deposit legislation. 
  • We must save crocodiles to protect ecological balance.  
  • Why we should pay more attention to renewable energy projects.  
  • Anthropology is a critically relevant science.  
  • Why it’s important to create a new global financial order .  
  • Why biodiversity is crucial for the environment?  
  • Why process safety management is crucial for every organization.  
  • Speed limits must not be increased.  
  • What’s wrong with grades at school ?  
  • Why tattoos should be considered as a form of fine art.  
  • Using all-natural bath and body products is the best choice for human health and safety.  
  • What is cancel culture?  
  • Why the Internet has become a problem of modern society.  
  • Illegal immigrants should be provided with basic social services.  
  • Smoking in public places must be banned for people’s safety and comfort.  
  • Why it is essential to control our nutrition .  
  • How to stimulate economic growth?  
  • Why exercise is beneficial for people.  
  • Studying history is decisive for the modern world.  
  • We must decrease fuel consumption to stop global warming.  
  • Why fighting social inequality is necessary.  
  • Why should businesses welcome remote work?  
  • Social media harms communication within families.   
  • College athletes should be paid for their achievements.  
  • Electronic books should replace print books.  
  • People should stop cutting down rainforest .  
  • Why every company should have a web page .  
  • Tips To Write An Effective Persuasive Essay: The College Puzzle, Stanford University
  • 31 Powerful Persuasive Writing Techniques: Writtent
  • Persuasive Essay Outline: Houston Community College System
  • Essays that Worked: Hamilton College
  • Argumentative Essays // Purdue Writing Lab
  • Persuasion – Writing for Success (University of Minnesota)
  • Persuasive Writing (Manitoba Education)
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Even our youngest students are not immune from the pressures of essay writing. While it is good practice for their later education years, and for teaching them how to argue for what they believe in, getting them to choose a topic can be extremely difficult. The key to making this a rewarding and non-punishing experience for your child is to help them make it fun. Fun is definitely relative, but here are twenty of the best persuasive essay topics that can be used in elementary school:

  • Should students be permitted to have their cell phones with them during class?
  • The cafeteria is starting to serve ice cream as a dessert but only flavor will be offered. Write a letter to the principal explaining what your choice would be and why they should choose it.
  • You want a friend to spend the night on a school night. Create an argument that will sway your parents to let the sleepover happen.
  • Your summer vacation is coming up and you are going away with your family. You are only allowed to bring one of the following: coloring books, books, or action figures or dolls. Explain how and why you would choose.
  • Should your family make the move to a large city or to the country?
  • Which rule does your household have that you disagree with? Persuade your parents to reconsider their position.
  • Your family won the lottery. What should the money be used for?
  • Your class is burying a time capsule. What item should not be left out?
  • Why should you be allowed to have your own pet?
  • Vegetables should be grown by everyone at home.
  • It is time for me to stay at home by myself.
  • What field trip is the most interesting?
  • Should we have homework every night?
  • Why war is bad
  • Should there be a ban on junk food at school, even if it is sent with your lunch from home?
  • We need to save electricity. People use too much power.
  • Math is way too hard. We should not have to learn about it at all.
  • Should animals be kept in zoos or should they remain free?
  • What has more impact - recycling or donating?
  • It is better to live in the country than the city/ the city than the country.

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Tips for Teaching Persuasive Writing for Special Ed Students

Modifying the persuasive essay.

In modifying the persuasive essay for students with learning disabilities, start with having students use their reflective journals to create free-flowing ideas on possible topic areas. Teachers can narrow down topic areas to “Solving Conflicts Over the I-Pod” or “Whether to Buy the Teva Shoes or Not.” Once students have decided on a topic area, then you can teach them how to develop a thesis and scaffold the persuasive essay into doable chunks of learning that include the following:

  • Title that supports the topic idea
  • Supporting paragraphs that include chunks of information with cited facts and examples that transition from introduction to conclusion. There could be from 1-4 supporting paragraphs that develop the topic idea.
  • Conclusion summarizes the topic idea and brings the essay full circle.

Modification the chunks of the essay components can include having students follow the sections below in creating an informative persuasive essay.

Topic Idea and Title

Introduce and explain what a persuasive is so that students have an understanding that the intent of a persuasion is to convince the reader of a point of view. Have students think about topic ideas that interest them and start with one persuasive thought such as, “ I persuaded him that ice cream is better than frozen yogurt because ice cream creates a more positive state of being after eating than frozen yogurt .” There is a certain fun factor in the thought and students with learning disabilities can have fun creating a persuasive argument with a defined topic idea and support that topic idea with a title that stands out. Modify this chunk by having students start with one topic idea and build from that point if indicated by skill level and ability.

The title for the above topic idea could be “ Ice Cream vs. Frozen Yogurt-You be the Judge ” or “ Ice Cream - The Better Dessert Alternative .” Have students brainstorm titles in their journals individually and then have them work in groups of 3-4 to compare title ideas and support each other’s topic idea and titles. Students with learning disabilities can create one or two title ideas as compared to five-seven for their peers. The idea is to keep students focused and invested on generating the first chunk of information needed for the bigger goal of writing a persuasive essay.

Supporting Paragraphs and Conclusion

The body of the essay includes supporting paragraphs that include facts and research citations that provide relevant connection to the topic idea. In modifying this chunk of learning, the teacher can can have students write 1-2 smaller paragraphs with 1-2 facts and research citations. By keeping the paragraphs doable, students will engage in creating smaller chunks of writing and learn about the process of constructing a persuasive essay.

For example, a modified supporting paragraph for the above topic idea on ice cream could look like the following:

Ice cream is better than frozen yogurt because it fills you up quicker. It does this because the cream is heavier and sits in your stomach longer. Ice cream is also sweet and makes you happy except when it’s gone and then you’re sad.

Students are able to write in their own style and on their skill level. Incorporating technology by having students use the computer and a word.doc software program with spellcheck and a “save as” mode will allow students to come back and edit their essay draft and add the conclusion before editing the final essay.

The conclusion restates the topic idea and brings all components of the persuasive essay full circle. Students with learning disabilities can create a two sentence conclusion and be proud of a finished product that contains all components of a persuasive essay that effectively persuades.

Essay - Authentic Author Content

Washington Examiner

Teachers must embrace open-mindedness and doubt

I n the fall of 2020, I taught a course at an independent high school in Boulder, Colorado , on persuasive essay writing. It won’t stun anyone familiar with the town, affectionately known by locals as the People’s Republic of Boulder, that I was the only openly non-progressive in the entire school, teacher or student. If there were any other non-progressives in the building, they wisely kept it to themselves.

This was in the aftermath of the summer of 2020, when anything short of total submission to progressive ideology was taken as a declaration of deplorability. If you weren’t actively “anti-racist” in a very particular way as defined by a very particular type of academic, you were considered one of the moral monsters populating “the wrong side of history.”

It was in this environment of extreme uniformity that I was tasked with teaching seniors the subtle art of persuasion through argument. We forget now how quickly civil discourse fell out of fashion among liberals at the time. A trio of psychologically traumatic events, the Trump presidency, George Floyd’s death, and the COVID-19 outbreak, had convinced them that the time for talk was over. Deep thinking on the part of anyone from the "oppressor class" was dubbed “intellectualization” — and you can be sure that all the students and teachers in the school at Boulder were white.

Perhaps subconsciously, I developed the course in such a way as to challenge the stultifying atmosphere directly. I was determined to make my students embrace the unthinkable: the possibility that they were wrong.

On the first day of class, I scrawled the following quote by John Stuart Mill across the whiteboard:

He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them. But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not know so much as what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion.

In any prior moment in American history, Mill’s advocacy for intellectual rigor would be celebrated by liberals. But in my class, the quote drew disbelieving glances and uncomfortable murmuring. My announcement that students would need to write a well-researched and tightly reasoned essay arguing against their most deeply held conviction drew outright protestation. One student semi-tearfully commented that such a project would be tantamount to “literal violence.” Another said she would have a psychological breakdown if she were forced to defend the Second Amendment. A parent emailed me that night asking what I “was trying to prove.” The experience was demoralizing.

By the end of the first week, a handful of students flat-out refused to do the coursework as outlined. Following some difficult conversations, I agreed to amend the syllabus for those students. Perhaps I shouldn’t have, but since they were seniors and graduation was on the line, I caved.

But what I’ll always remember from the experience is the exemplary work done quietly by a number of students, including some of the most progressive “activist” types. One student, who was so politically minded that she had pro-choice slogans painted across the outside of her car, turned in a magnificently insightful essay that argued in favor of life. She later confided to me that the concept of “steelmanning,” which is the process of articulating the best possible argument of the other side, struck a chord with her. She understood that allowing herself the space to doubt her own presuppositions and uncover the best arguments of the opposition in full enabled her to become a more powerful advocate for the causes she held dear.

Another student who identified as “nonbinary” turned in an essay that argued for the utility of the gender binary. I remember feeling delightedly shocked by her willingness to engage with arguments when so many of her generation would refuse to consider what might “deny their existence.”

Despite the plummeting achievement and ideological uniformity that currently defines American education, I have remained hopeful thanks to the students from my persuasive essay class who took the intellectual risk of challenging their views — even if they kept their efforts to themselves. These students were brave enough to experience the state of doubt in order to be drawn deeper into the intellectual life.

For too long, students have been trained to follow the precepts of a single ideology when they should be educated to understand multiple viewpoints and respected enough to form their own views. In order to revivify the humanities, educators must once again heed Mill’s call to embrace open-mindedness and doubt.


Peter Laffin is a contributor at the  Washington Examiner . His work has also appeared in  RealClearPolitics , the Catholic Thing , and the  National Catholic Register .

Tags: Opinion , Beltway Confidential , Blog Contributors , Opinion , Education , Leftism , Free Speech

Original Author: Peter Laffin

Original Location: Teachers must embrace open-mindedness and doubt

Classroom of school


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    The writing pieces can range from a more traditional argumentative essay to back up their media component. Alternatively, they can write a speech, persuasive letter, or educational blog post. Then, for the media components, they can create a poster, a video, a social media post, or an infographic- just to name a few.

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    The first step in writing a persuasive essay is choosing a topic and picking a side. If the topic is something you believe in, it will make the entire experience of researching, writing, and arguing your perspective more personal. Choosing a topic that appeals to you on an emotional or sentimental level will make its defense easier.

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