Persuasive Essay Writing Webquest

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Step 1:  Read through all of the steps below so you can see what is expected 
of you.  I would also encourage you to take a look at the example of a 
persuasive essay that I have included titled, "Capital Punishment Should Be 
Stopped!" by Stephanie Wood.  The example includes the same type of outline 
you will have to complete, along with the final essay.

Step 2:  TOPIC - Following the writing process, decide what topic you would 
want to write your persuasive essay on.  Be sure to pick a topic that you 
feel passionate about.  If you don't your essay will not be effective and 
will sound fake or forced. Click on the "Topics" page and choose a topic you 
are interested in or come up with one on your own.

Step 3:  PREWRITING - Choose a graphic organizer that best fits your needs.  
I have included a persuasive essay outline that you will find on 
the "Persuasive Essay Outline" page that you can print and use.
Step 4:  In the outline, write your main argument in the sections 
TOLD ME."  You will find these sections in 2 and 7. This is 
where you have chosen a topic, picked a side, and come up with a complete 
sentence that explains the side your have chosen.  (Ex:  Capital punishment 
should be stopped.  People should become vegetarians.  I should earn an 
allowance.)  The simpler the better.  You do not want to get into details in 
your main argument.

Step 5:  Come up with 3 reasons (supporting arguments) as to why we should 
believe the way you believe.  (Ex:  Capital punishment should be stopped 
because:  1.  it's morally wrong  2.  expensive  3.  and a slow process.)  
List each of your 3 reasons (supporting arguments) in sections 2 and 7.  
When you list them, 
*  please list your strongest reason 3rd, 
*  your second strongest reason 1st, 
*  and your weakest reason 2nd.  
Why?  Because you want to end your essay with your strongest reason, because 
that is the reason your reader is most likely to remember.  List your second 
strongest reason first because this will be where you will be making your 
first impression.  List your weakest reason second because this will be the 
one your reader will remember least.  
List one supporting argument in section 3, 4, and 5 in the same order you 
listed them in 2 and 7.
Take a look at your outline.  You have completed at least half of it already!

Step 6:  Now you need to prove your reasons to be true.  This is where 
research may need to come into play.  Go to the "Research" page where I have 
provided a variety of links for you.  Don't try to write about something 
that you don't know anything about.  You will end up sounding foolish.  
There is a saying, "The way to beat your enemy is to know your enemy."  The 
opposing side may not be your "enemy," but if you want to convince your 
reader, the more you know about both sides of the issue, the more convincing 
you will become.  
For example, many of my students hate wearing uniforms and are quick to 
become quite upset on the topic.  I tell them that they need to do research 
as to why we wear uniforms and why did the policy even begin.  Many of them, 
when they find out that parents were the ones voted for the uniform policy, 
are shocked.  We also have uniforms because many of our students live in 
poverty and can not afford to wear the latest fashions.  Uniforms give them 
a way out.  When students learn this, they begin to understand why we have 
uniforms and writing a persuasive essay becomes difficult.
Click on the page titled, "Research."  Here you will find places where you 
can possibly find information, depending upon what your topic is.  Look for 
information that specifically supports each of your supporting arguments.  

Persuasive Techniques that you can use for your proof:
*  statements from professionals
*  statistics
*  facts
*  examples
*  causes and results
*  personal stories
(Ex:  "Over the past 13 years, Florida has spent $57 million to carry out 18 
You should have three ways to prove each of your three supporting 
Write the proof in sections 3, 4, and 5.  Remember, this is where you are 
proving to your reader what you are saying is true.  You need to know what 
you are talking about and you need to be convincing.

Step 7:  Now you need to come up with an opposing view.  You should have 
already done some type of research on the other side of the issue.  Think of 
an argument that your opposing side might come up with.  Write that argument 
in the section titled "Opposing View."  For example, some people might say 
that convicts on death row deserve to die because of the horrendous crimes 
that they have committed.
Next, you will challenge that opposing view. How would you argue against the 
opposing view?  For example, you might say, a convict's crime may be 
horrendous, but it is our responsiblity to try and rehabilitate them instead 
of killing them.

Step 8:  Come up with a hook to start your piece off in an interesting way.  
A hook is a way to gain the interest of your reader.  Your hook should be 
easier to write now that you have researched and finished most of your 
outline.  You can begin with an interesting fact, question, quote, scenario, 
etc.  You, the author, are the fisherman, and the type of "bait" you use to 
make your fish, the reader, want to read is important.  For example, "What 
is the one job that if everyone went on strike, our society would end up in 
chaos?" Aren't you interested in reading further to find out what that job 
is?  By the way, the answer is garbage men.  If we don't have garbage men to 
take away our garbage, the garbage piles up and disease begins to spread.  
People become ill and begin to die.  Try to come up with a creative way to 
begin your piece.

Step 9:  ROUGH DRAFT - Now that your plan is complete, you are ready to 
begin writing your rough draft.  
*  Your rough draft can be written in your draft book or on a piece of 
notebook paper.  
*  Use your plan as your map.
*  Skip lines so you have room to revise and write in pencil.
*  Do not expect your draft to be perfect, no one's is.  Writing is a 
process and this may be the first of many drafts.

Step 10:  WRITING CONFERENCE - This is when you are working on your IDEAS 
only.  You are not worried about spelling, puncutation, grammar, etc.  Read 
your rough draft out loud to another responsible student.  When you read 
your piece quietly to yourself, your brain automatically corrects your 
mistakes without you realizing it.  When you read out loud, you will often 
hear the mistakes.  As you hear your mistakes, stop and correct them right 
then.  Don't think you will remember, because you won't.  Listen to other's 
suggestions.  Remember, even the greatest writers always have something they 
can work on.

Step 11:  REVISING - Revising is where you actually work to improve your 
ideas.  Think about other's suggestions.  Add or take out parts.  Change 
words or ideas to make better ones.  Use a thesaurus.  Make sure every 
sentence does not sound the same.  Complete any unfinished thoughts. 
Look at a word list.  
My students have a list of words that they are not allowed to use because 
they are "dead" words.  We actually had a funeral for them.  We buried these 
words because they have no meaning and another, more interesting word, can 
be used in their place.  The words are listed below:

Step 12:  PROOFREADING - Use a red pen to check your capitalization, 
punctuation, spelling, and grammar.  Click on the "Proofreading" page to 
find a variety of links to help you with your proofreading.  Make sure all 
of your sentences are complete.  Use your dicctionary.  Have someone check 
your work.  CAUTION:  When you type your piece, DO NOT rely on spell check 
on the computer.  It won't catch all of your mistakes.

Step 13:  EDITING CONFERENCE - Meet with your teacher so they can check your 
piece.  Before your meeting, however, make sure you don't have any of the 
words that have "died," you have revised with a pencil and proofread with a 
red pen.

Step 14:  PUBLISHING - I want all of my students to publish their persuasive 
essay.  Click on the "Publishing" page and choose a site that interests 
you.  Some are for contests, others are to just put your piece out there for 
the world to read.  You will also need to print out the parent permission 
form to have your work published, have it signed by your parents, and return 
it to your teacher, before you submit any work.

Step 15:  READING RESPONSE QUESTIONS - Now lets test what you know when you 
read a persuasive essay and have to identify the parts.  We will be 
following the reading process for this assignment.
SET A PURPOSE - What is your purpose to for reading this assignment?  HINT:  
Look at the standards for reading.

Step 16:  PREVIEW - Look at the essay under the section "Why Composting?  A 
Persuasive Essay."  I want you to look over the piece and tell me what do 
you notice when you look at it.  Go to the "Preview" page.  This page will 
give you ideas of what to look for.

Step 17:  PLAN - Choose a graphic organizer to use to fill out with the 
information you find when you read the essay.  I would suggest using 
the "Persuasive Essay Outline" you used when you wrote your persuasive essay.

Step 18:  READ WITH A PURPOSE - You are ready to begin reading "Why 
Composting?"  Make sure that you keep the standards in your mind that you 
are responsible for meeting.  Use your graphic organizer and highlight the 
information in the article, using the color-coding system I used in the 
outline.  This will help you to spot the information much easier.

Step 19:  CONNECT - Discuss with a fellow how do you relate to this article 
on a personal level?  What does the article remind you of in your own life?  
(Ex:  When I read the article, it reminds me of the compost pile that I have 
in my back yard and how my 5 year old son loves to dig for earthworms.  One 
day he walked into my house carrying handful of the slimy little critters, 
wriggling between his fingers!!)

Step 20:  UNDERSTAND - Circle any words or sections that you did not 
understand about the article.  You can't answer questions about something 
until you are sure you understand it.  Once you have circled your words, 
print out the "Vocab Worksheet" to find the meaning of your words.  Print 
out as many copies as you need.

Step 21:  REMEMBER - Take the information that you have highlighted in your 
article and fill out your "Persuasive Essay Outline."  The article could 
possibly may have more or less information than blanks are provided.  Be 
prepared to make adjustments to the outline if needed.

Step 22:  PAUSE AND REFLECT - Take a look at your outline and ask yourself, 
did you find all of the parts of the essay?  If you can answer yes, then you 
may go on to answering the "Reading Questions for Persuasive Essay."  If you 
can not, please go on to Step 23.

Step 23:  REREAD - If you don't think you completely and accurately filled 
out your outline with information from the article, this may be a good time 
to reread the article.  Don't consider this a failure.  Most people must 
reread an article several times to find all of the necessary information 
required of them.

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Last Modified: Thursday, January 22, 2009
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