Without the Common Core, I doubt I would have expected my kids to write persuasively this year. It's a first for me in my 19 years of teaching. Donald Graves says, "Indeed, to become a top teacher of writing is to enter into a lifetime of learning." He sure knew what he was talking about. I'm glad I took the plunge though. It's been a rewarding genre to tackle.
We spent about three weeks writing persuasive letters. I think one of the most important pieces of this genre, and any genre for that matter, is that the writer deserves choice. I never said, "Hey kids. Today we're all going to write a persuasive letter to...fill in the blank...about...fill in the blank." I would have stolen their thinking power, their voice, and their motivation if I had given them a topic and audience. I certainly would never have seen today's surprise either.
One of my writers decided to write to BOB FM, a local radio station. He had an issue with their lack of Weird Al songs and asked them to take care of that problem for him. On mail day (we had 3 or 4 throughout the unit), he chose that letter to publish and send off. Here's what came back.
Each child in the class got one.
Here's a picture of my student reading the letter to the class.
BOB FM wanted a picture of my kids with their goodies.
They even sent him a shirt with his name on the back!
BOB FM gave us a gift, and it wasn't just goodies and a shirt. They blessed my writers with tangible evidence that they have a voice, and their writing can indeed cause others to listen. This teacher's heart is a happy one. Thank you Bob Squad!