Middle School Persuasive Writing Lessons

Learn about three persuasive writing lessons that offer solid instruction while also being engaging to your students.

Finding engaging and rigorous persuasive writing lessons should not be a challenge to find. Unfortunately, not all writing curriculums and activities draw the attention of our students and encourage their engagement. Consequently, the lessons they learn in these classes are not as solid or memorable as they could be.  

From the time we are old enough to talk, persuasion is a skill that we use on a regular basis. As we get older, the stakes become much higher than a simple “let me have an extra cookie after dinner tonight, please”.  From the everyday discussions with a partner of where to go on vacation to the much more significant ones like convincing a boss to give you a raise, persuasion is a part of all of our lives and a skill that has a tangible and significant impact.  

Making sure our students have a solid foundation in persuasion and persuasive writing will help set them up for success in the future.

Let’s look at three persuasive writing lessons that offer solid instruction while also being particularly engaging to your students.

Persuasive Writing Lessons

Persuasive Pitch Assignment

If your students like the TV show Shark Tank or Dragon’s Den, then they will love this assignment.  In it, students develop an idea of how to improve their school (e.g., installing recycling bins, creating a snack program, etc.), and then they pitch their idea to the judges (their classmates).  

After watching all the presentations, students will vote on which idea they like best.  This assignment is scaffolded into five different lessons.  The familiar format as well as the element of competition encourages students to do their best and helps drive home the curricular lessons on persuasion.

Teacher Feedback

“My students loved the idea of Dragon’s Den style product pitches to learn persuasive techniques! They had a blast while watching the two show episodes and analyzing the products, as well as creating their own products and pitching them. They created excellent advertisements and came up with great ideas!”

Persuasive Writing – Michael vs. LeBron

Oftentimes the problem with persuasive writing assignments is that students don’t really care (or care much) about the topic about which they are writing.  This is not the case with this lesson. In it, students practise gathering evidence from a podcast (an oral text) and use that evidence to support their writing.  

After listening to the evidence presented by the podcast, students must decide who is the greatest basketball player of all time – LeBron James or Michael Jordan. By grabbing your students’ attention with a topic they are interested in and one that may be rather unexpected in the language arts classroom, you help students be excited and want to learn more about effective persuasive writing.

Teacher Feedback

“Loved this persuasive writing unit so much! I have quite a few basketball fans in the class and so it was quite the hit. Thanks!”

Rant Writing Unit

Rant writing is an engaging way to bring public speaking and persuasive writing into the classroom.  Students rant and complain to each other daily – why not channel that creative energy into some high-quality writing? By utilizing things that students are already engaged with and encouraging students to share their thoughts and opinions, this unit is an effective way to teach persuasive writing.

Whether you choose to use these lessons or something else, the importance of a solid foundation in persuasion cannot be overstated. Helping students remember the lessons they learn in your class going forward and throughout their lives sets them up for future success.

You can grab this Rant Writing Unit for free here.

Teacher Feedback

“My communications class absolutely loved this activity and even asked at the end to do it again!! It was very engaging.”

Additional Resources

  1. Middle School Writing Lessons
  2. Creative Writing Lesson Plans

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