Transcript of Writing a STAAR Persuasive Essay
Writing that tries to convince a reader to do something or what to believe about a certain topic. If I give my reasons for believing or doing something, and the reader does not agree at the end, then I did not do my job.
STAAR Persuasive Essay Tips
How do you know if you've got a solid thesis? Try these five tests:
Persuasive Writing can be used to…
Support a cause
“Please support my football team by buying discount coupons.”
Urge people to action
“Vote for Sarah!”
Make a change
“The principal should let us wear hats.”
Prove something wrong
“Cell phones don’t cause brain cancer.”
Stir up sympathy
“If you don’t adopt this dog, it
could have to live in a shelter.”
“Better grades get you a better job
and more money.”
Get people to agree with you
Think about a few random TV ads.
What were they trying to get you
to do or think?
Watch this ad. What are they
trying to get you to do?
So ….. How would you persuade someone to do….(or not to do ) something, or to buy an item or service? PERSUASION!
First…Know Your Audience…
Before you start writing, you should know your audience:
- Who will read your writing? Who do you need to convince?
- The audience may be your teacher, your principal, or the President of the United States (not really).
- Should you be casual or
Second… Pick a side!
The writer must clearly state his/her position and stay with that position. Pick a side!
State your position on the topic in the opening paragraph or introduction. This is known as your assertion or thesis.
The Thesis Statement
Without a thesis, it is impossible for you to present an effective argument.
When you write your thesis statement, it is important for you to consider other sides of the position, so that you can present the strongest and most effective arguments. However, in your essay, only one side of an issue is presented.
1. Does the thesis inspire a reasonable reader to ask, "How?" or Why?"
2. Would a reasonable reader NOT respond with "Duh!" or "So what?" or "Gee, no kidding!" or "Who cares?"
3. Does the thesis avoid general phrasing or sweeping words such as "all" or "none" or "every"?
4. Does the thesis lead the reader toward the topic sentences (the subtopics needed to prove the thesis)?
5. Can the thesis be adequately developed in the required length of the paper or project?
If you cannot answer "YES" to these questions, you will need to revise your thesis!
Thus, for example, for instance, namely, to illustrate, in other words, in particular, specifically, such as.
And, in addition to, furthermore, moreover, besides, than, too, also, both-and, another, equally important, first, second, etc., again, further, last, finally, not only-but also, as well as, in the second place, next, likewise, similarly, in fact, as a result, consequently, in the same way, for example, for instance, however, thus, therefore, otherwise.
For example, for instance, to illustrate, thus, in other words, as an illustration, in particular.
Consequence or Result:
So that, with the result that, thus, consequently, hence, accordingly, for this reason, therefore, so, because, since, due to, as a result, in other words, then.
Therefore, finally, consequently, thus, in short, in conclusion, in brief, as a result, accordingly.
For this purpose, to this end, with this in mind, with this purpose in mind, therefore
The first step in writing an effective body paragraph is the construction of the first sentence of this paragraph, the topic sentence.
A body paragraph's topic sentence serves two main purposes: introducing the content of the paragraph and introducing the next step of your argument.
You should come up with at least two claims to support
Each of the claims will be turned into a body paragraph.
Evidence: Literary examples, personal experience, facts, etc.
Commentary: How does your example support your topic sentence?
Uniform policies are beneficial in schools, and should be implemented nationwide.
Allows for less bullying based on wardrobe.
Students will concentrate more on school and less on attire.
where the argument is explained
Types of Support:
1. Literature: Referencing the emotional journey of a character.
2. Logos: Facts, historical events, and information can be very convincing.
3. Pathos: Getting people to feel happy, sad, or angry can help your argument.
(Appeal to the reader's emotions)
Using a personal experience also makes you credible. If people believe and trust in you, you’re more likely to persuade them.
Show off your skills...
You’ll Need to Show “The Other Side of the Story”
• How many of you have been in a discussion with someone and
you remember saying, “Yeah, that’s true, but…” This is called a
It’s the “other side” of the argument.
• This is where you should explain why your opposition believes what they believe.
• You’ll need to tell your reader what the counter-argument is and prove why it should not matter.
“Many people argue that a lot of the knowledge we know, we don't even use. And seeing how the human mind is only being used part of the time, that may be true.
, the learning process never hurts you. It will always be safer to know too much, than too little.”
Conclude or End Your Essay…
What makes an good conclusion?
• Last paragraph summarizes your main point. (Restate your thesis.)
• End using one or more of the following strategies:
• Call the reader to action
• Anecdote or scenario
• Make a Prediction
• The last paragraph wraps up the writing and gives the reader something to think about.
Strategies for Conclusions
Call to Action:
Ask the reader to do something or to make something happen
“I challenge you to watch what you eat and to avoid fast food.”
Give a Solution:
provide an answer to the problem
“Fast food doesn’t have to be “bad food.” Make better choices like salads, fruit and low fat treats.”
Make a Prediction:
explain the consequences of action or inaction
“If people continue to eat lots of fast food, they put their health at risk. If kids don’t make better choices today, they won’t grow into healthy adults.”
Transitions are a very important linking devices when you are writing persuasive essays.
Transitions tell the reader that there are relationships between the points that you are making in your essay (you are not just writing a string of unrelated facts to take up space on the paper).
Transitions also tell the reader what kinds of relationships exist between the points that you are making.
Transitions are the glue that holds persuasive essays together.
Think of using mortar (cement) and bricks to build a wall,
Transitions are like the mortar and your points are like the bricks.
In Persuasive essays, you are concerned with explaining what everyone should think/believe/do. You know you are right, you will always be right, and everyone should agree.
“I am sure you’ll agree that Reese's
peanut butter cup is the best candy.”
The thesis sentence should show both the position that you will argue and the organizational pattern with which you will present and support your argument. One way to make a thesis sentence is to think about both the "what" and the "how" of the paper's argument. The following are helpful questions for you to use when writing a thesis sentence:
What is the argument that I am trying to convince the reader to accept?
How exactly do I expect to convince the reader that this argument is good?
SUBJECT + Opinion = Thesis Statement
Once you have answered these questions, the next step is to turn these answers into a single thesis sentence
I want to convince parents and teachers that students should not have homework on the weekend.
My main reasons are that children need time to play and relax, and families need time to spend with each other. I know that teachers would argue that children need as much practice as possible
My thesis statement could look like this:
Even though students need as much practice as possible
they should not have homework on weekends because families need to spend time together and children need time to play and relax without stress.
Just as the thesis sentence holds together your essay, the topic sentence is the glue binding each individual body paragraph.
Example: In Harper Lee's
To Kill A Mockingbird
, Jem's father is a lawyer in the South during the height of racism and defends a black man. Through the trial, Jem sees that the defendant is innocent, yet the townspeople's racism prevents them from setting him free. Through this Jem sees the social hierarchy of his town and realizes that hate is everywhere.
Example: As technology increases, society changes. There is so much personal information exposed to the world that it is extremely hard to find security in social networks. Anyone equipped with the correct skillset can learn of a person's current location, or even their likes and interests.
Example: My father grew up in a city in Kansas named Hutchinson which, at the time, was overcrowded with salt miners who worked in the Morton Salt Mines. With the overcrowding came a surge of crime and shady people. Many high-schoolers my dad's age dropped out and became drug addicts. My father would have been one of those dead beats had it not been for his education.
On the contrary, contrarily, notwithstanding, but, however, nevertheless, in spite of, in contrast, yet, on one hand, on the other hand, rather, or, nor, conversely, at the same time, while this may be true.
Use "big idea" words to get your message across.
This sample essay was born from the necessity to provide my students with "4" (score) writing samples in the new STAAR, 26-line format. As Texas schools transition from the TAKS test to the new STAAR test, we're plagued with an utter lack of sample materials to model for students. Please note that this is a very challenging essay topic, created intentionally to prep my Pre-AP writers; it may be too challenging for weaker writers.
This particular essay is a .pdf file...and was scanned directly from the sample I used on the document camera. It is written, intentionally, in my handwriting...as I try very hard to use samples that resemble (as much as possible) what students will actually produce. This is particularly necessary as students transition from writing a 2-page essay to a single-page one and must re-learn how to manage their space.
The topic (persuasive) is: "Write a speech to present to the student body at your school persuading them whether or not the end justifies the means." Please note that the last paragraph contains the call-to-action, which is a requirement of the persuasive essay (and is the primary difference between the persuasive and expository).
Further, please note that I instruct my students to put a salutation outside the box, which is not graded. I have found that students stay focused on their audience (when asked to write to a particular one) much better when there is a salutation present.
This essay is also written on a 26-line page that has been measured to match the lined paper students will be given on the actual test.