Grade 3 students cover many genres during the year. While teachers Julie Stretz and Julie O’Connor were focused on information writing, Mary Helen Sheehan and Cole Hamilton honed in on writing a persuasive speech. Being able to write well is a crucial skill. Being able to write persuasively is an art.
In preparation for their solo assignments, Ms. Sheehan’s class worked collectively to write a speech to convince Head of Lower School Nan Remington they were deserving of a pizza party. Next, students picked a topic for their individual speeches with a focus on people who are underappreciated and matters they feel are ripe for change.
For inspiration, they watched videos of young activists, like Greta Thunberg and Severn Cullis-Suzuki, and they saw first-hand how impactful words can be – even those of a young person. To stimulate ideas, they also did a walking tour of Graland with a critical eye.
A few examples of the topics selected by third graders included:
We need to increase our appreciation for Nurse Megan and Nurse Fran.
Moms and dads deserve more gratitude.
The Lower School should have a vending machine.
My puppy needs to stop biting people.
Graland should serve ramen for lunch.
Following the guidelines, which included developing an idea, writing a thesis, gathering evidence to support the thesis, and collecting information about the problem and solution, students drafted their speeches. They were encouraged to be brave and bold as they crafted their arguments. Finally, with their audience in mind, students made video recordings of their speeches.
Who’s to say the next young activist is not in their midst? Only time will tell.
Graland Country Day School is a private school in Denver, Colorado, serving students in preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and middle school. Founded in Denver in 1924, Graland incorporates a rich, experiential learning approach in a traditional classroom setting, emphasizing the development of globally and socially conscious leaders who excel academically.