- Sponsorship -

Learning to defend opinions is big part of learning for young writers

They may be only 10 or 11 years old, but they have words of wisdom to share. Fourth-graders spent over a month researching, writing and editing personal persuasion papers.

The unit didn’t end with the writing. Students left their essays out for view as they moved from desk to desk and classroom to classroom to read, evaluate and make comments on other papers.

Big discussions popped up around the cluster of tables in Katie Coxen’s classroom on evaluation day. “I really agree, you shouldn’t drink alcohol,” said Joey Russo, “because it is bad for you and adults can have problems with it.”

Katelynn Veenendall added a personal story about a time when her parents invited a stranger into the house. “Some people just can’t handle it (alcohol),” she said. “Dad let the lady in who wanted to use a phone, but it was awful.”

John Carlos’s essay on eating healthy dished up a wealth of statistics. “I chose it because I think lots of people struggle with eating healthy,” he said. “But I learned a lot while I was working on it and I didn’t know that 35 percent of people are overweight.”

That essay generated other ideas from the critics.

“More kids should play more sports,” said Austin Tyecs. “It helps them get more exercise and they are less likely to get diseases and die of cancer.”

Fourth-grader John Carlo shows off his essay

Sharing a passion

Other topics covered by the students included “Parents Should Not Get Divorced,” “People Should Not Abuse Animals,” “Donald Trump Should Not Be President” and “Children Need More Play Time.”

In the 28-lesson unit, students are required to state a claim, present three strong reasons and research the reasons, Coxen said, adding that this year’s topics were particularly deep.

“We really try to push the kids’ thinking to find a topic that provokes a strong emotion about which to write.”

Many of the young writers had personal reasons for subject choice.

“I noticed my aunt was smoking and I am really worried about her,” said Zoe Huizingh, whose essay was “People Should Not Smoke.”

“We have friends that foster,” said Lizzie Leach, whose essay was titled “People Should Become Foster Parents.”

“It just got into my heart,” Lizzie said. “I wanted to write about something that mattered.”

The day they share their work is a great celebration, Coxen said. “They are very proud of what they have accomplished and learn from reading and being able to comment on the other papers. They just love this event.”

- Sponsorship -
Janice Holst
Janice Holst
Janice Holst has been both a teacher and a journalist. A former MLive reporter, she wrote features and covered local government and schools for Advance Newspapers for nearly two decades. She also was a recipe columnist and wrote features for Mature Life Style and occasional entertainment pieces for On The Town magazines. She lives in Sparta Township and is thrilled to spend some of her retirement hours writing the stories of the northern Kent County school districts. Read Janice's full bio or email Janice.

LATEST ARTICLES

District welcomes new administrators, ready to ‘lead through uncharted waters’

New administrators share their thoughts on starting their posts during a pandemic...

Teacher and coach applies lessons in classroom and on field

New Kelloggsville head football coach Brandon Branch also teaches science and math at the high school and looks to bring academics and athletics together whenever he can...

Two high schools, newly renovated, await return of students

Two major renovation projects at Ottawa Hills and Union high schools are part of a 30-year, $175 million school improvement bond approved November 2015 with the majority, $155 million, earmarked for construction...

Avid reader, Petoskey-stone hunter, lover of great outdoors

Melanie Hoeksema is the new Ada Elementary principal. SNN gets to know her in this edition of Meet Your Principal...

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Breadstick boy, Ripcord rider and now athlete and administrator

The new Kent City High School and Middle School principal is Jordan Stuhan. He replaces Bill Crane, who moved to the position of assistant superintendent of business and administrative services...

No Big Splash This Year

Despite a return to in-person learning this fall, the Board of Education has decided the Kent City High School pool will remain closed indefinitely...

Ready or not, school year begins as leaders adopt plans to teach, protect students

With most of Kent County’s public school districts opening next week, superintendents talk about their plans to educate students while trying to keep them safe from an unpredictable virus...
- Sponsorship -

HOW'S SCHOOL TODAY?

Engagement: The Most Important Measure of Student Success

Polls find that students’ engagement in their school work declines as they ascend the grades. Tests that don’t relate to their real-life experiences exacerbate the problem...

RADEMACHER & FRIENDS

Food ‘angels’ support hungry kids through pandemic

They work all across Kent County, guardian angels with peanut butter on their hands and crumbs on their shirtsleeves...
- Sponsorship -

MEDIA PARTNERS

Maranda Where You LiveWGVU

SUSTAINING SPONSORS