Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Are You Thinking What I Am Thinking?

Persuasive Writing

Ashley Poole, Patricia Turner | Published: June 17th, 2024 by K20 Center

  • Grade Level Grade Level 4th, 5th, 6th
  • Subject Subject English/Language Arts
  • Course Course Oklahoma Young Scholars/Javits
  • Time Frame Time Frame 2-3 hours
  • Duration More 2-3 Days


In this interactive lesson, students engage with their peers by taking a stance on a topic and providing reasoning that supports their opinion. Then students read through a series of persuasive essays, identifying and discussing the persuasive elements found in the essays. Students then write their own persuasive essays. When students have finished, they read their essays in small groups, offer constructive feedback and positive comments, and reflect on how they can improve their own writing.

Essential Question(s)

How can our writing persuade others?


Engage: Students are given a debatable statement and, using the Fold the Line strategy, have the opportunity to share and discuss their opinions with classmates.

Explore: Students work through a series of persuasive essay stations. In teams, students analyze and discuss the persuasive elements found in the essays. A series of questions is displayed to help students with this process.

Explain: The purpose and definition of persuasive writing is discussed. The structure of a persuasive essay is outlined and the class co-creates an anchor chart. Students then practice identifying the claims and reasoning in a common persuasive essay and circle any persuasive vocabulary used in the writing.

Extend: Students write their own persuasive essays using the template and the anchor chart to help them remember the persuasive techniques and vocabulary previously discussed. After reading their essays in small groups, group members offer constructive feedback and positive comments.

Evaluate: Students use the Exit Ticket strategy to reflect on their writing and how to improve it.


  • Lesson Slides (attached) 

  • Persuasive Essay to Read Aloud (attached)

  • Highlighters (two different colors, two highlighters per student)

  • Persuasive Essay Examples for Stations (attached; one for each station)

  • Recording Sheets for each team (attached; print double-sided, each team needs five)

  • Persuasive Essay Template (attached; one per student)

  • Persuasive Text Self-Assessment Cards (attached; one per student)

  • Passage from

    Readworks or NewsELA


10 Minute(s)

Start the lesson by displaying slide 3 sharing the statement, "All kids should play sports."

Display slide 4 and use the instructional strategy "Fold the Line" to have students line up based on whether they agree or disagree with the statement. Assist them in folding the line so they face someone with the opposite view. Once paired, students discuss their stances. Conclude with a class discussion on whether their discussions included opinions. Ask students if the opinions they gave and heard were backed up with facts or evidence. Did anyone change their stance after their partner shared? Ask if anyone has ever read an essay or article that immediately changed their mind about an idea. What caused them to change their opinion?


45 Minute(s)

Display slide 5, with the essential question: "How can our writing persuade others?" Have a few students share their ideas with the class. Let students know that this essential question will be revisited throughout the lesson. Show slide 6 and briefly discuss the objectives of the lesson.

  • Understand how to persuade someone with your words.    

  • Learn what makes a persuasive essay strong and convincing.


Read a short persuasive story to your class. (You can use the attached Persuasive Essay to Read Aloud or write/provide your own.) After the reading, ask students if they think you were persuasive. So, what made this story persuasive? Or why was it not?

Prepare for the "Station Scoot" by placing the Persuasive Essay Examples for Stations (attached) around the room. Divide your class into workable teams. At each station, one student reads the writing example to their team. Students then identify and discuss the persuasive elements found in the example. Post or show slide 7, so students can see the following questions to help them.

  • What is the claim or wish in this scenario?

  • Identify two pieces of evidence that support the claim.

  • Explain why the reasoning in this example is strong or weak.


Students record their answers on their team's Recording Sheets (attached). As students move from one station to another, have them take turns being the reader and recorder.


45 Minute(s)

Formally introduce the words claim, facts, opinion, persuasive, reasoning, evidence, and false truths. You and your students have been using these words in the first two parts of the lesson but this is a time to clarify and extend the meaning of these words and how they relate to persuasive writing.  

Next, discuss the purpose of persuasive writing using slide 8. Display slide 9 to discuss the structure of a persuasive essay. Make sure to emphasize that persuasive essays require claims and reasonings to be effective. Add to the “Persuasive Writing” anchor chart. 

Now, distribute an example of a persuasive essay and two different colored highlighters to each student. Read the passage as a group, stopping to allow students to highlight claims with one color and reasonings with the other. Last, have students circle any vocabulary they think helps make the writing more persuasive. You should add these words to the Persuasive Words chart. Discuss the following questions on slide 10 with the class. Students should use their highlighted text to help with examples. The class should add the answers to these questions to the Persuasive Writing anchor chart and continue to revisit the charts throughout the lesson.  

  • What is persuasive writing?

  • What needs to be in the introduction?  

  • Why is it essential to include reasoning or evidence?

  • What goes into the conclusion of the writing?

  • What words can help with transitions for this type of writing? 


40 Minute(s)

Display slide 11 to help students choose a topic for their independent persuasive essay. Then display slide 12 and the anchor charts as tools for students to reference during their writing. Students can use the attached Persuasive Essay Template handout to write their essays.

Once students have written their essays, give them a chance to review them in case they need to add better reasoning.

Split the class into groups of three. All students should be able to read their essays aloud to their small groups. Each student should receive a positive comment from their group and be able to ask for constructive feedback to help improve their writing. Once they have finished meeting in groups, students have the chance to go back and revise and edit.


40 Minute(s)

Have students complete a short Exit Ticket answering the essential question: “How can our writing persuade others?”

Distribute the attached Persuasive Text Self-Assessment Cards, one to each student. Students can make notes on the cards based on the comments their peers give them. Students can then reflect on their writing and how to improve it at the bottom of each card.

Opportunities for Advanced and Gifted Learners

Students explore the site Newsela-lite and select a topic that is of interest to them. After reading the article(s), students will take a stance for or against the topic and write a paragraph to persuade the class to agree with them. They must be able to identify their claim and have accurate reasoning to support their stance.