Language devices

Writing for the purpose of expressing an opinion using one or two statements. Persuasive texts seek to convince the audience of an argument or point of view using persuasive devices. At the Foundation level students need to be able to express a simple personal opinion by writing and drawing.

Persuasive devices: What do I think?

Strategy

Explicit teaching

Teach students to use speaking, writing and drawing to represent and communicate personal responses to ideas and events, such as shared texts (including written, spoken, visual and multimodal texts), lessons, special days and familiar topics

General strategies

Model stating personal opinions in different learning areas when speaking, writing and drawing and invite students to contribute theirs whenever appropriate, such as during class discussions, news and shared reading. Encourage predictions by modelling during orientations to texts and asking students if they agree or disagree. In particular, the beginning of a new unit of learning or a new focus within a unit of learning is a good opportunity to ask students for their opinions, e.g. What do you think we will learn about (topic)? What would you like to learn about (topic)?

Use sentence starters and scaffolds to guide students in expressing their opinion using one or two short written statements:

I think… I like… I dislike… My favourite… The best… The worst…

Activities to support the strategy

Activity 1: class opinions book (joint construction)

This simple activity encourages and values students’ different opinions and interests and can easily be adapted to suit units of learning in a range of learning areas as well as start of the year ‘getting to know you’ activities.

  • State subject matter and ask students for their opinions e.g. What did you enjoy most in History this term?
  • Provide sentence scaffold if necessary e.g. I enjoyed…
  • Format your Class Opinion Book with a short introduction e.g. This term Kindergarten learned about their family history.
  • Each student can write or type their own contribution using their name instead of a pronoun and adding a drawing or digital image e.g. Amy enjoyed looking at baby photos of her mum. Ben enjoyed drawing his family etc.
  • On the final page record something that everyone agreed on e.g. But we all liked…; But we all didn’t like…
  • Publish the class opinion book and display it in the classroom as a record of learning and a resource for independent reading and using language of opinion.

Activity 2: problem-solving/lateral thinking exercises

This activity can be used frequently as a whole class lesson break or warm-up to encourage students to think creatively, take risks and express their opinion using writing and drawing in a context where there is no right or wrong.

  • Present students with a lateral thinking problem to consider e.g. How could we solve the problem of cats and dogs fighting.
  • Hold a brief class discussion to share a few suggestions then group students appropriately (do one together as a class the first time if necessary).
  • Ask students to draw and write to communicate their solution.
  • Conclude by sharing a range of student solutions.

References

Australian curriculum

ACELY1651: Creating texts: Create short texts to explore, record and report ideas and events using familiar words and beginning writing knowledge.

NSW syllabus

ENe-7B: Outcome 7: recognises some different purposes for writing and that own texts differ in various ways  (ENe-7B) - Develop and apply contextual knowledge: discuss the different purposes of drawing and writing in simple texts

NSW literacy continuum

WRIC4M2: Aspects of writing, Cluster 4, Marker 2: Writes to express one or two ideas.

Teacher resources

  • The official website for Edward De Bono’s work, Edward De Bono coined the term lateral thinking and believed that effective thinking skills could be taught:
    edwdebono.com

Student resources

  • A simple interactive sentence writing activity to model and rehearse stating opinions (can be used for modelling any type of sentence structure):
    www.ictgames.com/writing_runway_v2
  • A simple interactive yes or no question and answer game that could be used as a lesson warm-up to more complex opinion statements:
    www.ictgames.com
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