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McREL Standards Activity

Persuade Me

Purpose:As a result of this activity, students will be able to recognize and use persuasive techniques.
Related Standard & Benchmarks:
Language Arts
 Standard 1.Uses the general skills and strategies of the writing process
   Level III [Grade 6-8]
   Benchmark 10. Writes persuasive compositions (e.g., engages the reader by establishing a context, creating a persona, and otherwise developing reader interest; develops a controlling idea that conveys a judgment; creates and organizes a structure appropriate to the needs and interests of a specific audience; arranges details, reasons, examples, and/or anecdotes persuasively; excludes information and arguments that are irrelevant; anticipates and addresses reader concerns and counter arguments; supports arguments with detailed evidence, citing sources of information as appropriate)
Language Arts
 Standard 5.Uses the general skills and strategies of the reading process
   Level III [Grade 6-8]
   Benchmark 5. Understands specific devices an author uses to accomplish his or her purpose (e.g., persuasive techniques, style, word choice, language structure)
Student Product:Advertisement/mailer
Material & Resources:Each student should collect five pieces of "junk mail" that are intended to persuade readers
Teacher's Note:Teachers should discuss persuasive techniques with students prior to completing this activity.  They should also emphasize to students that the mailers they create must contain at least three full paragraphs of text that attempt to persuade readers to do something.
Students should collect five mailers from their homes.  When the collection period is over, students should affix each piece of mail to posterboard and indicate under each piece which persuasive techniques the mailer’s author used.  These posterboards should then be posted around the classroom for other students to see.

After students have completed this part of the activity, they should create their own persuasive mailers, either manually or on a computer.  Each piece of mail should contain at least three full paragraphs of text that use at least three persuasive techniques (e.g., positive appeal, negative appeal, bandwagon). Students may also choose to include visuals.  The students’ projects should be posted.