Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

The Best Candy

Persuasive Writing

Patricia Turner, Chrissy Waldhoer | Published: March 10th, 2022 by Oklahoma Young Scholars/Javits

  • Grade Level Grade Level 5th
  • Subject Subject English/Language Arts
  • Course Course Creative Writing
  • Time Frame Time Frame 2-3 class period(s)
  • Duration More 45 minute sessions


This lesson takes learners through a process using their five senses to describe various candies. Learners will record their findings using descriptive words and then pose positive or negative opinions about the candies. Following this activity, they will write the first draft of a persuasive paragraph using the evidence from their findings to defend their choice.

Essential Question(s)

How is writing used to persuade or change other’s ideas or opinions?



Students are introduced to the importance of descriptive words by showing students a tray or a picture of a variety of candies and asking them if they see any candy that they like. The class practices writing descriptive words for a particular candy using a structured observation protocol.


Each group of students creates a mini anchor chart that includes a candy’s name, drawing, and descriptive words generated together by the group. Groups use the Describing Candy Protocol attachment to help them generate descriptive words.


Students turn and talk to discuss what makes a great paragraph while the teacher notes their answers on the board for students to refer to later. Students must make a decision about which candy is their favorite and then individually complete the graphic organizer. Students use their graphic organizers to write a persuasive paragraph over their favorite candy.


Students peer-edit their paragraphs. Students engage in a discussion with a partner about the strength of their persuasion and possible improvements. They then revise their paragraphs and prepare their final draft.


Students anonymously post their strongest persuasive sentence. Students then participate in a group discussion to decide, "What makes these sentences persuasive?"


  • Lesson Slides (attached; 1 per student)

  • Writing Organizer (attached; 1 per student)

  • Describing Candy Protocol (attached; 1 per student; 1 for teacher use)

  • Variety of Candies - divided in baggies for each student (try to choose different flavors, textures, etc.)


Use the attached Lesson Slides to guide this lesson. Start by showing students a tray or slide 5 which shows a variety of candies. Ask if they see any candy on the slide that they like. Do a quick share out of their opinions.

Next, say to the students, "My friend and I were talking about all the candies we get during the holidays and talked about the candies we like the most? We also wondered how we could describe our favorite candies so that more of our friends would be convinced to try them. My friend came up with this list; juicy, small, pale. I told her I didn’t think those descriptive words would do the trick. I told her that my class could come up with way better descriptive words that would surely convince even her to try other candies." Let’s see if we can guess which candy this one is.

Display slide 6 to see if your class can guess what candy is being described. The class responses should lead them to acknowledge that the words are not very descriptive and could pertain to almost any candy. Ask students, "How can we improve the candy description?"

Next have the class practice writing descriptive words for a particular candy using a structured observation protocol. Choose the candy for this activity. Walk them through how to describe a candy using their five senses by using the attached Describing Candy Protocol, reading aloud while they respond on a sheet of paper.

To conclude this activity, have students share their descriptive words with their group. One person from each group should write four of their group’s words on the candy Anchor Chart. Groups should have additional words ready to write on the chart so they don’t repeat words that another group has written.


Display slide 7. Divide the class into groups of three or four. Choose appropriate candies so you can offer groups a choice. Each group should have a different candy to describe. Your students should be able to smell and taste their assigned candy as stated in the Candy Describing Protocol. Have students use the same process that you modeled in the Engage to describe their candy.

Each group should then create a mini anchor chart on a piece of paper that includes the candy’s name, a drawing of the candy, and the descriptive words generated together by the group. A spokesperson from each group should share their mini-anchor charts with the whole group. Tape the mini-charts together to create one large Anchor chart of descriptive words.


Display slide 8 or write "What makes a good opinion/persuasive paragraph?" on the board.

Students turn and talk to discuss what makes a great paragraph while you make notes of their responses on the board for students to refer to later. Possible student responses: You must tell what your opinion is and why you think this way, should have evidence or reasons that support your opinions, use details, write a good beginning and ending sentence.

Display slide 9. Students must make a decision about which candy is their favorite and then complete the Writing Organizer independently. Have the Anchor Charts visible for students to use for ideas and descriptors. As students complete the organizer, have mini-discussions about the experience of using the graphic organizer and have them explain the process they are engaged in.

Once students have had adequate time, go back to the question "What makes a good opinion paragraph?" and ask students to think about their favorite advertisements and what draws their attention to them. Ask students: What are advertisements for? How might you begin your writing to "grab" a reader’s attention? and How might you convince others to believe you?

Have students write their opinion paragraphs independently using their organizer.


Using slides 10-11, students share their work with a peer and peer-edit each other’s paragraphs. Provide a thesaurus for students to use to find synonyms for more common adjectives and to help them generate more complex describing words.

Students should think about:

  • What kind of information makes your partner’s writing strong?

  • How can the paragraph be improved to increase the strength of persuasion and make it stronger?

Students review suggestions and make changes to their paragraphs as they see fit.

Display slide 12. Have students participate in a Gallery Walk. Student group presentations are posted around the room, creating a circuit. Groups then move from station to station, learning from each presentation and leaving feedback for the presentation's creators. This strategy encourages participation, allows for peer feedback, and is exceptionally flexible.


Display slide 13. Have students anonymously post the strongest persuasive sentence they wrote using Padlet. Once all sentences have been posted, lead a discussion about which sentences students find most appealing and persuasive. Have them share what these sentences have in common.

Display slide 14. Have students answer the following Exit Ticket question in paragraph form:

Enrichment for Advanced Learners

Showing — not telling — your audience about your candy is one of the best ways to capture attention and get a person’s response. Have students research what elements are characteristics of a Great advertisement. Then have them produce an advertisement for their candy. Invite students to explore different digital tools for producing their advertisements. Examples: Canva, Flip, Powerpoint, Storyjumper, Google Drawings or Slides