Year 4 – Writing an effective Persuasive Argument

In Year 4, students are provided opportunities to develop their writing skills across different genre. This includes learning to write for a target audience, applying their knowledge of spelling rules, and choosing appropriate vocabulary, writing conventions and language devices to either entertain, inform or persuade the reader. Wherever possible, students are provided with rich real-life topics to either spark their imagination or generate ideas. This supports them to draw upon their own experiences to capture those ideas that are meaningful and relevant to them and the reader.

One such topic impacting Year 4 in recent months, has been the extended Learn@home period after the announcement in July that Victoria would enter Stage 4 lockdown. This provided the opportunity for the girls to voice their own opinions by writing a persuasive argument ‘for’ or ‘against’ the lockdown. To begin this writing task to ‘persuade’ an audience, the students brainstormed reasons for and against the extended lockdown. They then selected their position to argue, and using a planning template, they presented three or more arguments to present their case.

Part of the process of writing their ‘exposition’ included: revising and editing their draft, conferencing with the teacher and reading their final version to the class. The main learning goal for this task was to follow a writing structure that required them to introduce the audience to the topic, present three distinct arguments with relevant supporting examples, and then provide a brief convincing summary of arguments in a concluding paragraph. By sharing their finished work with each other, the students were able to appreciate their differing views and arguments, as well as learn different language devices to persuade an audience.

The relevance of the chosen topic to students’ personal lives and the opportunity for them to decide their personal position resulted in a variety of arguments being presented by the students, both ‘for’ and ‘against’.

Below is an example of Clara Barry’s persuasive writing on this topic.

Unlock us now Dan!

Everyone can see the annoyance of being locked down! The Stage 4 lockdown in Metropolitan Melbourne needs to be lifted immediately for the economy, education, our mental health and for everyone to get on with their lives.

Taking care of people’s mental health is extremely important, this does not occur to Dan though. Right now, the people of Melbourne are thinking about the dreaded thought of being isolated from loved ones and friends, missing milestones and other important events. This is heartbreaking for all people and is taking a huge toll on people’s mental health.

Have we not put enough safety measures to enable us to open up again? Government resources have improved greatly, and hospital systems have now been enhanced to cope with COVID-19 patients and the pandemic at the current levels of infection. ICU patients unwell with COVID-19 now have extra equipment and contact tracing has been improved, so that when someone gets sick, they can more easily link it to other cases and track potentially infected people.

The economy and learning are at a standstill! Lots of people have been stood down, lost jobs, businesses and people are accessing their superannuation to live. The Federal Government scheme called ‘Job Keeper’ that pays people who have been stood down from their work is about to end. Everyone needs to get back to work immediately! All children also need to go back to school to learn, interact socially and to play sport with others. We do not want to fall behind and be overloaded with curriculum next year trying to catch up.

In conclusion, there are three compelling reasons why Dan needs to let us out. Our economy, our mental health and our livelihoods will not recover if this continues much longer. Melbourne is no longer the world’s most livable city.

Clara Barry, Year 4T

Mr Tim Tainsh, Year 4 Teacher