Last week I taught persuasive writing to five classes of grade two students. Their teachers had done an excellent job with the lessons leading up to my visit. To up the ante, I decided to bring a real-world connection into their classrooms.
In this case, it was Lucy the elephant from the Edmonton Valley Zoo. I couldn’t bring Lucy herself but I did bring some videos and articles about Lucy with the underlying question: Should Lucy be moved to an elephant sanctuary to live the remainder of her life?
My observations of the students: engagement and passion!
Engagement? Students seemed especially attentive and curious about this topic. They watched the videos intently, spoke about the content with interest, and asked intelligent questions.
Passion? Students passionately shared their opinions (and their reasons) about Lucy’s fate. One student even stood up to voice her opinion which happened to be in stark contrast to most of her peers.
It’s not always possible to use real-world connections, but whenever we can, our students take notice.