Author’s Purpose

Common Core Standards

Teaching students to write for a specific purpose is one of my favorite skills to teach. Students enjoy drawing sketches that illustrate different writing purposes. See Activity 1 below. And who doesn’t love eating doughnuts? See Activity 3.

Teaching students to write for a specific purpose is found in the Common Core State Writing Standards:

Writing a Thesis Statement

Writing a thesis statement can be an extremely difficult skill for students to learn.

The Teaching Standards

This skill is introduced in the Tennessee State Teaching Standards beginning at the sixth grade level. While the Common Core State Standards do not use the words “thesis statement,” beginning in the first grade level, the standards say students must be able to introduce opinion pieces, and state an opinion. [This sounds like a thesis statement to me.] While I’m not sure that lower elementary students could begin to understand the complexity of the thesis statement, I do plan to continue teaching this skill to upper elementary students.

1. Water Needed for Surviving in the Wilderness

• Humans need eight cups of water each day.

• When 1% of the total water weight of a person’s body is lost, the person will feel thirsty.

Show, Don’t Tell

The Show, Don’t Tell method of writing is when the writer is able to create a picture in the reader’s mind.

Details

One key element of this method is the use of details.

Example

Narrative Writing ~ A Review – 10 Things to Remember When Writing a Narrative

Below I have included highlights from a PowerPoint Presentation on Narrative Writing, I presented to a group of 5th graders. The text reads as if giving instructions to students. Below the article are links to the PowerPoint and a printable handout for students to use in assessing their narrative writing.

Number 1 – Strong Beginning

Your story needs a strong beginning. You can achieve this using one of the following methods:

1. Description

Our sun is 4.59 billion years old. It is a Yellow Dwarf with a diameter of 1,392,684 kilometers. The surface temperature is 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit (5500 degrees Celsius), and its core is around 27 million degrees Fahrenheit (13,600,000 degrees Celsius).

2. Size

The sun is 960,000 times bigger than Earth. It makes up around 99.86% of the Solar System’s mass. Jupiter takes up most of the final mass. If you flatten out Earth, it would take 11,990 of them to cover the surface of the Sun.

Introducing the Lesson

Writing persuasive essays can be both fun and challenging for students. I usually begin my persuasive essay unit with brainstorming ways people are persuaded. This almost always leads to advertising. I usually select half a dozen or so current commercials to show in class. These encourage students to think creatively. Students especially enjoy Super Bowl commercials.