Lesson 2: Writing Persuasively

Lesson 2

Take Action - Writing Persuasively

Defining Commentary


After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Collaborate to form a definition of commentaries
  • Build a list of craft moves in commentaries

In this lesson, students work together to create a list of characteristics found in good commentaries. The class then agrees on characteristics that all commentaries must have.
Guiding Questions:
  • What are the rules of commentaries?
  • What choices do we have as writers of commentaries?
  • How can we make effective choices?
  • Recommended Time:
Recommended Time:
45-90 minutes

Common Core State Standards:
Commentary packet that contains the following:

2: Copies of the following commentaries and/or appropriate substitutes:

Starve, Get Aid, Repeat” by Craig and Marc Kielburger
Technology Required:
Lessons design:
  • Explain that students will work with a group, using information collected in their Commentary Packet to capture what they notice about commentary writing.

  • Students will create a chart together, listing things under the title, “We notice that good commentary writing…”.

  • Some things worth noticing are: format, point-of-view, tone, content, kinds of sentences, word choice, paragraphs.

  • Groups should be prepared to share.

  • Class regroups to make one list together.

  • Read through completed list, asking students to consider which of the characteristics are essential (things a commentary must do or include). Highlight or bold these items.

  • A completed list might look like this:

    • We notice that good commentary…
      • – May use a conversational style
      • – Has a title that might reveal claim
      • – Uses anecdotes to support claim
      • – Uses rhetorical questions
      • – Has a powerful lead–hooks reader (anecdote, astonishing fact)
      • – Uses statistics to support claim
      • – Has at least three supporting details
      • – Uses many paragraphs/varied size
      • – Can be humorous
      • – Uses background info/revealing why author wrote this
      • – Integrates quotes (whole sentences)
      • – Uses fragments
      • – Includes an ending that tries to change readers’ mind/leaves you thinking
      • – Has a call to action ending
      • – Includes a balance of opinion and facts
      • – Includes lists
      • – Has important sentences in bold, italics
      • – Can use first person, second person, third person–all found in these!
      • – Shows both sides of the issue
      • – Can be visual like feature articles
      • – Includes personal experience
      • – Has an opinion that might be stated, or might be inferred
      • – Includes quotes from experts or those with first-hand knowledge
Rock Your World is a program of Creative Visions
Rock Your World is a Program of Creative Visions, a 501(c) (3) organization that supports creative activists - individuals who use the power of media and arts to create positive change in the world.
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