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posted: Tue, Oct 14th, 2014
Max Machado prepares a speech for the campaign trail

The Power of Persuasion

Tricia Mitchell’s fifth-graders know how to persuade. The class recently learned the techniques for crafting powerful persuasive messages in a variety of mediums. They then applied the techniques in a creative way that simulated a situation they might experience themselves in real life. 

Mrs. Mitchell first had students examine a fun Bridgestone Tire commercial as an introduction to a few key elements of persuasion:  

– a topic that connects with the audience

-  words, sounds, or images that appeal to the senses

-  words, sounds, or images that create an emotional response

-  powerful words and the use of language appropriate for the audience

-  a reasonable rather than an exaggerated promise

The students then turned their attention to formulating logical arguments and speeches themselves. The class read “Off and Running,” a piece of realistic fiction about an election for fifth-grade class president, and studied the campaign speeches from the story. The kids also analyzed posters from “Vote For Me!” another campaign-themed story.

Then, using all that they had learned, the students applied their new skills to a mock election for class president. The young faux candidates created campaign posters that used all the elements of persuasion. Madison Mariano, for example, used glitter to dazzle the eye (and underscore her slogan “Glitter Not Litter.”) To connect emotionally and engender a feeling of school spirit, Max Machado used stars to allude to Sandshore Superstars and Grant Pederson incorporated the school colors into his poster.

There were catchy slogans and powerful words too, as well as specific and realistic campaign platforms. The students also wrote their own campaign speeches and delivered them to their classmates, who evaluated them and later voted in the election for the strongest candidate with the most compelling campaign. 

“The students came away with a strong understanding of how persuasive writing techniques can be used in ways that go beyond the written word,” said Mrs. Mitchell. “I think it also opened their eyes to the ways that these persuasive techniques are used in advertising and in everyday life.”

Writing strong persuasive essays to support an opinion is an important part of the fifth-grade writing curriculum.

Renee DiMonda works on a campaign poster

Emphasizing the importance of respect

New Jersey’s “Week of Respect” is an annual week of awareness, education, and activities centered around the prevention of harassment, intimidation, and bullying in New Jersey public schools. It was held this year from October 6-10.

Mount Olive schools celebrated the week in a variety of ways. At Sandshore, guidance counselor Brinda Wederich led the charge, visiting every classroom in the building and spreading the message of respect for others. Dr. Wederich discussed the importance of respect and proper behavior, and the reasons for honoring the Week of Respect. In each classroom, she also reviewed and reinforced the specific classroom rules established at the beginning of the year by each individual teacher.

The students recited respect pledges and engaged in a culminating art activity to mark their participation in the Week of Respect. K-2 students made colorful autumn leaves emblazoned with the names of people they respect. The leaves were used to decorate a Respect Tree on a hallway bulletin board which served as a reminder to respect not only people and themselves, but places and things as well.

Students in grades 3-5 each chose an adjective that described a person, place, or thing that he or she respects and wrote that describing word on a paper square. The squares were assembled on a bulletin board to form a paper Respect Quilt. Honorable, loyal, patient, and loving are just a few of the special qualities that can be found on the quilt squares.

“I think the concept of respect is one of those very important traits that all people need to possess,” Dr. Wederich said. “It has to start at a very young age. We can’t just assume that kids learn it, we have to emphasize it. Respect really is the antithesis of bullying. If you are respectful, you can’t be a bully.”

New Jersey’s anti-bullying law mandates that schools observe the Week of Respect every year by providing students with age-appropriate instruction focusing on preventing harassment, intimation, or bullying. The Week of Respect precedes the state’s School Violence Awareness Week, which is held annually during the third week of October.

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Sandshore School
498 Sandshore Rd Budd Lake, NJ 07828
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