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Lesson Plan

Persuading the Principal: Writing Persuasive Letters About School Issues

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Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Seven 60-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Joelle Brummitt-Yale

Pittsboro, North Carolina


International Literacy Association



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From Theory to Practice



This lesson gives students the opportunity to examine opinion editorials and write their own on school issues. After reading and listening to opinion pieces, students identify strong examples of persuasion and record them on a graphic organizer. Small groups then brainstorm issues in the school that they believe deserve action plans. Each group uses graphic organizers to explore its issue. The group then constructs a letter on that issue. The letter is then edited for grammar and content, typed on a word processor, printed, and delivered to the school principal.

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  • Persuasion Map: This tool helps students break down their argument into reasons and supporting details, which will help them write their letter.

  • Letter Generator: Students can use this tool to identify the different parts of a letter, and use the sample provided as a model for writing their own letters.

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Singer, J. & Shagoury, R. (2005). Stirring up justice: Adolescents reading, writing, and changing the world. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 49(4), 318–339.

  • Social justice "can be at the forefront of a secondary English curriculum that simultaneously incorporates traditional skill development and critical analysis."¯

  • In a heterogeneous classroom focusing on social activism, the teacher should place student-generated inquiry questions at the forefront.

  • Students should explore examples of social activism in order to identify the traits of an agent of change before engaging in their own activism.

  • Students hone reading skills by applying essential nonfiction reading strategies to texts as they explore their topics.

  • Writing that aims at affecting social change should be shared publicly.

  • Students should be given the opportunity to choose activism issues that speak to them personally.

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