Class Decides to Write About Animal Cruelty
by J.Hurley, parent volunteer
Isaac Dickson--After a lengthy process, the 5th grade students in Ms. Kyle's class decided to focus the power of the pen on the large issue of animal cruelty. It wasn't an easy decision.
- First, students divided into groups to create a movie poster together that would SHOW MORE THAN TELL about their lives, which is a key concept in good writing. They talked about the concerns that they have, the strengths that they have, what they like and what they hope for in the world. They then found images and created a movie poster that would SHOW all of this and evoke a feeling in the viewer.
- Second, after viewing the movie posters, the class plotted the different issues of concern on a circular graph. The inside circle had issues that were close at hand, like wanting a new DS. The outermost circle was for the issues that impact many in the larger world. This is the circle the students needed to focus on. Students were given two dot stickers and were asked to place them next to the issues that they felt the class should write about. They could choose to put both dots on one issue, if they felt strongly about it. After this was done, the top two issues were: World Peace and Animal Cruelty. That doesn't mean that all the other issues weren't important, too. They all deserve to have someone write about them.
- Third, the students were asked to pick one of the issues and write a persuasive letter to the class as to why they thought it would be the most important issue to work on during the school year. They learned about the difference between opinion and fact and were asked to have both in their letters. They posted these letters on the class wiki, set up for just this purpose. These letters were similar to letters to the editor or letters that might be written to government representatives and are a key tool for creating change.
- Finally, after the letters were written and the class read all of them, after they'd considered all the aspects of the issues, it was time to take an anonymous vote. Each student voted using a ballot and put it in the ballot box. Animal cruelty was voted in as the focus of this year's writing to change the world project. It was a long process but worth it!