29 Mar Slice of Life: It May Not Be Legal, But They Understand Audience #SOL19 #TWTBlog
I listen to the students as they turn and talk about the reviews they are writing. I don’t quite know what I am listening for, but I know I will know it when I hear it. The demonstration lesson is focused on audience and counterargument in opinion writing. These are first graders. I am listening for a lifeline. Bingo – got it!
Writers, I was listening to all of you talk. You have some great topics. Now that you know what you are reviewing and your opinion on it, you have to consider your audience. Who are you trying to convince? What if they don’t agree with you? This is something opinion writers always consider.
Their eyes are with me, but I am pretty sure they have no idea what I am talking about. I warned the teachers that they may not get it completely this year. I explained the importance of letting kids give it a go this year so that next year it will be a more familiar concept. I assured them this lesson would be messy!
Can I try to show you what I mean by considering audience as an opinion writer?
A sea of heads nod.
So, Adam, I heard you are writing a review of Chuck E. Cheese.
His face beams and he sits up a little straighter.
Can we use your review to show what I mean?
He is front and center before I even ask him.
Ok. So, I am assuming you are giving it a good review.
Yes. I LOVE Chuck E. Cheese.
What do you love about it?
There are great games. It is safe because they put an invisible mark on your hand and you can’t get out without your parents. There is a maze and a ball pit, so you get exercise. Oh, and the pizza is the best.
That’s a lot of reasons. Who is your audience? Who are you trying to get to agree with you about Chuck E. Cheese?
His silence lets me know audience was not a consideration. I look at the class.
If you are Adam’s audience, do you agree with his reasons? Would this review convince you to go to Chuck E. Cheese? Turn and talk it out with your partner.
Clearly, this a group that frequents Chuck E. Cheese. They are sold!
Now, what if Adam was trying to convince me or your parents to go to Chuck E. Cheese? Would this convince them?
One student calls out.
No way, my mom hates Chuck E. Cheese!
There is a flutter of conversation bubbling up in response.
Sounds like you have some ideas on convincing this audience, your parents, about going to Chuck E. Cheese. What reasons would you add or change to convince them? Turn and talk it out again.
Ok. Who has some revisions to make this review even more convincing?
I think we could add to the safety part. Since it is safe, parents can sit and talk to their friends. They don’t have to watch us.
They also have salads and other stuff. We can add that in case they don’t like pizza.
Yeah, and we can add wine to the pizza section too.
That’s not true. They don’t sell wine. That’s why my mom doesn’t like it.
I agree. My mom says the same thing. They don’t sell wine.
Conversation starts to bubble again, but I decide to stay in control of this one. It has been some time since I have gone to Chuck E. Cheese so I honestly have no idea if they sell wine. I look up and there are several teachers in the group sending me signals to save me. Based on the gestures Chuck E. Cheese does not sell wine. I try to rein the group back to one conversation.
So, writers you are now considering audience in this review. You added reasons that would convince a specific audience, your parents, and you knew just where to add it. When you go reread your reviews today, think about convincing a specific audience and what reasons you would change or add?
I am about to send them off …
I want to go back to the wine.
They don’t sell wine.
He is about to get taken over again, but he stands up for himself.
I never said they sold wine. I said we could add it to the pizza section to show them when they can drink the wine.
Now I’m confused.
My mom and her friends don’t buy it there, they bring it in their Swell bottles.
Silence. His classmates are looking at him as if he is the most brilliant opinion writer of all time.
We should definitely add that to the review.
I’m telling my mom when I get home. That is a great idea.
My mom has one of those bottles too.
I am trying so hard to contain my laughter. I manage a quick, “Off you go” before I burst.
Who says six-year-olds are too young to understand counterargument? Based on my memory, a Swell bottle would have made it a better experience. Now it may not be legal … but that has to be a third grade standard for sure!
Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum from Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers, and teachers here.