I’m finding that the staff at our school are getting very creative about incorporating me into instruction and work with students…and I like it! I started my morning off today in a third grade classroom. The teacher had contacted me a couple of days ago about coming in and hearing some persuasive writing pieces from students. I jump at the chance to do stuff like this, so there was no doubt about whether or not I would do it. After we looked at the calendar we settled on first thing in the morning.
I entered the room and looked for a spot to sit. Students were busy settling in, working on different items here and there. I heard a slight whisper to the side of the room from some students that noticed I had entered. The teacher (@tndnvt) announced that folks could start sharing their persuasive pieces with me if they were ready. Before I knew it I literally had a line of students in front of me, ready to argue!
Now, it’s quite a sight to see a classroom of students lined up in front of you, patiently waiting, notebooks in hand…seeking a chance to argue their point of view. It’s a sight that makes for a great start to a day in my book…and is a bit amusing too.
Each student stepped up and started in with their persuasive piece. On this day, every written piece that was shared with me focused on the reasons why our school should have chocolate milk on Fridays (please remember, this piece is about the kids persuasive writing NOT about my feelings around chocolate milk in schools!). I checked in with the teacher about my role. She emphasized that I was to be honest, share feedback about what makes their argument strong and how they could make it stronger.
Everyone did a great job. I know that sounds like a gross generalization, but it’s true. The energy around this was incredible. As I gave feedback to a student, the rest of the students would listen and consider whether or not they had that component in their piece before they stepped in front of the principal! Not that a principal ever needs to make a persuasive point in their day, but I felt like I had some good advice to share on how to put together an argument. Common points were:
- Back your points up with facts. One students shared that research showed that chocolate milk provided excellent recovery after physical activity (we have recess before lunch in some grades) and that it would help our students recover for learning.
- Make it appealing to your audience. One scholar shared that children might like me more if we had chocolate milk on Fridays. I’ll admit, I listened to that one!
- Do some research. Many students shared that the school would make more money because more people would get lunch and chocolate milk…to which I replied with a sheepish grin, “How do you know?” It wasn’t two seconds after I said this that a small committee formed in the back of the room and immediately began devising a survey for the entire school!
Incidentally, these common points seem to be true for grown ups too when they are making a case for something!
Great start to an otherwise very exhausting day. Thank you @tndnvt for the invite!