Year 7: Persuasive texts: Developing and expressing a point of view: It’s cruel to keep animals in cages

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Year 7: Persuasive texts: Developing and expressing a point of view: It’s cruel to keep animals in cages

The VELS provide for a broad range of Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening activities that will enable students to gain understandings of how to develop ideas and express them persuasively in spoken, written and multimodal texts. In Year 7, English VELS Levels 4 and 5 will help develop the knowledge and skills for presenting persuasive texts in a range of forms.

This unit focuses on enabling students to create a range of written, spoken and multimodal persuasive texts, including texts such as those presented in the NAPLAN Writing test. Links in the activities below show how suggested teaching and learning activities address the NAPLAN Writing criteria and relate to Levels 4 and 5 of the English VELS.

Text-based teaching and learning activities

Language focus

Assessment ideas

Getting started

View or read aloud a range of print and multimodal persuasive texts such as a taped excerpt of TV news, digital and print newspaper articles, and persuasive fiction presenting different points of view on an issue involving keeping animals in cages. For example, cats roaming and disturbing neighbourhoods or threatening wildlife, animals kept in cages in pet shops or zoos, factory farming, keeping caged animals for use in scientific experiments, or the benefits of cages for protecting animals, especially endangered species.

It may be appropriate to invite a guest speaker from the local zoo, the RSPCA or another animal protection group who can introduce students to different aspects of the topic.

Session 1: Sharing IDEAS: Concerns about animals in cages

Form into small groups to share and develop IDEAS on the general topic: Animals in cages. For example:

  • What sort of cages are animals kept in?

  • What are some of the reasons for keeping animals in cages?

  • When might keeping an animal in a cage be seen as cruel?

  • When might keeping an animal in a cage be seen as not cruel?

  • What groups might be for or against keeping animals in cages?

Encourage students to listen carefully to each other so that they can identify and respond to each other’s ideas, opinions or points of view and reasons for them.

In note form jot down recommended plans of action for each group.

Set aside time to write about individual ideas in reflective journals.

Revise precise VOCABULARY relating to persuasive writing, such as persuade, issue, point of view, fact, opinion, argument, supporting detail, reasons, justifying opinions and evidence.
Discuss how to differentiate between fact and opinion and how opinions may not be easily identifiable; for example, cages are cruel, or cages protect animals.
Revise the term generalisation in relation to the topic and assertion in relation to justifying argument.
The groups meet together as a class and report on the range of opinions.
These can be summarised on a class table for use throughout the unit. Revise the purpose and features of summaries. The table could be arranged as follows.



Supporting detail/ evidence

It is cruel to keep animals in cages

It is not cruel to keep animals in cages

Sometimes it’s cruel and sometimes it isn’t cruel to keep animals in cages

Reinforce active listening skills

These may include:

  • working cooperatively in a discussion group

  • engaging in exploratory talk to share and clarify ideas

  • identifying opinions offered by others and proposing other relevant viewpoints

  • extending ideas in a constructive manner

  • sustaining a point of view.

Discuss point of view/argument

The purpose of persuasive texts is to:

  • express and justify a point of view on an issue, providing some evidence and supporting detail

  • change an AUDIENCE’S points of view or attitudes

  • plead a case.

Language to signal opinion

Discuss and explore the effects of PERSUASIVE DEVICES used to express opinions.

Consider the choices made in persuasive texts to present and justify opinions and position an AUDIENCE; for example, use of generalisation, emotive or dispassionate language, making a direct appeal to the reader, providing an anecdote that supports a point of view, using rhetorical questions or authoritative statements.
Develop confidence in the use of metalanguage to describe persuasive devices and their effects.
Discuss VOCABULARY used to persuade, including modal adjectives and adverbs; for example, ultimately, possibly, definitely and certain, somewhat and rather; and modal groups such as It would seem that or It is (un)likely.
Compile topic-based word lists

Choose precise or relevant technical words from discussions and research and list on charts; for example, endangered, protected species, ethical issues, animal welfare, confinement, husbandry, minimum size and predators.

Use as SPELLING resources as well as a basis for VOCABULARY extension exercises.
Provide a range of activities which develop skills in correctly spelling simple and common words and some difficult words, using:

  • a multi-strategy approach to spelling

  • resources such as dictionaries, thesauruses and spellcheckers.

Revise and model summary skills for note-taking

Note the use of:

  • key points, key words or phrases

  • abbreviations.

Students’ participation in the text-based teaching and learning activities may be used to assess progress towards the following outcomes:
Reflective journals

Throughout this unit remind students of the importance of recording ideas in their reflective journals. You should:

  • set aside regular time for writing

  • take time to read and reflect

  • emphasise confidentiality

  • emphasise that the journal should be an interactive document

  • allow students to monitor their progress.

This process helps focus students as individual learners.

Check if students can:

  • select and use the appropriate TEXT STRUCTURE for the group discussion

  • listen carefully to others in the group, explore, clarify and extend on IDEAS

  • develop a sustained point of view

  • identify the facts and opinions generated in the group’s discussion and propose other relevant viewpoints

  • report to the class on the group discussion.

Text-based teaching and learning activities

Language focus

Assessment ideas

Session 2: Building up knowledge of the topic

Encourage students to set their own questions about an aspect of the issue of whether it’s cruel to keep animals in cages. Revise how to find, gather and present relevant ideas and information.

Discuss how to compare the ideas and information presented in different texts.
List and discuss students’ questions about the topic and possible print and multimodal sources of information (newspapers, magazines, journals, TV documentaries, fiction and factual texts, brochures, posters, pamphlets, radio news items, letters to the editor, web pages).
Ask students to collect and share any new IDEAS and information about the topic.

Add them to the class table.

Students should be reminded to continue to refer to this table as well as other resources when attempting to develop new ideas.

Building up knowledge about persuasive writing

Distribute copies of some of the texts explored in ‘Getting Started’. Students identify the source/writer of the text. Talk about the author’s purposes in creating the text.

Identify different points of view in the texts and assist students, through questioning, to identify them and the reasons given to support the point of view.
Discuss the ways particular VOCABULARY is used in different texts and suggest reasons for particular language choices.

Defining the topic

Assist students to develop research skills by:

  • researching an aspect of the issue, drawing evidence from a range of texts to develop and support a point of view

  • comparing different points of view and evidence.

Establish the following checklist.

  • What does the topic ask?

  • What do I already know?

  • What do I need to know?

  • What resources could I use?

  • How can I decide between different points of view?

Gathering ideas

Revise the following skills:

  • locating resources

  • locating ideas and relevant information

  • extracting answers

  • recording answers

  • comparing and evaluating ideas and information in different texts

  • considering how visual images are used to support points of view.

Presenting a range of IDEAS and information

Discuss the influence of the AUDIENCE and purpose on the style chosen for presenting ideas and information. For example, consider how best to create an appropriate relationship with a nominated audience (such as formal or personal).

For oral presentations, consider:

  • time limit

  • use of visual elements

  • use of cue cards and written or multimodal format (poster, letter, article, PowerPoint, campaign poster created in Publisher).

Ask students to collect samples of a range of persuasive text-types related to the issue. File these within their journals to be referred to at a later date.
Check if students can:

  • use appropriate print and multimodal resources to develop ideas or locate relevant information and points of view

  • identify the main IDEAS evidence and supporting detail

  • give possible reasons why IDEAS and information may be included in texts

  • compare the points of view presented in different texts

  • use appropriate metalanguage to describe and discuss the purpose, TEXT STRUCTURE and PERSUASIVE DEVICES used in the texts.

Assessment task

Working in pairs, students use a range of relevant print and multimodal texts. Taking turns, each one selects relevant ideas, information, evidence and use of PERSUASIVE DEVICES to be reported to the rest of the class. Each records the source where the idea or information is to be found.

Text-based teaching and learning activities

Language focus

Assessment ideas

Session 3: Stating a point of view

Role-play may be used to develop and elaborate IDEAS and express a point of view on the topic: It is cruel to keep animals in cages.

Before students participate in role-play, discuss the aspects they will have to consider as performers; for example, varying tone, volume and pace, ways of presenting a sustained point of view, listening and identifying other participants’ ideas and evidence. (The judge makes a decision based on the ideas presented by other participants.)
Divide students into groups of five and allocate the following roles within each group:

  • a conservationist who believes animals sometimes need to be caged, either for their own protection or the protection of other species

  • a cat owner who believes it is cruel to restrict their cat’s movements

  • a member of an animal rights organisation concerned about the factory farming of domestic pets or farm animals

  • an animal refuge worker who believes cages are sometimes, but not always necessary

  • one person as the impartial judge who has to decide whether it’s cruel to keep animals in cages.

Students are given a few minutes to read their role-play cards (which contain more related ideas to assist in the role-play) and prepare their parts. They may wish to refer to the class table to locate specific ideas and information to use in the role-play.
At the conclusion of the role-play session ask the groups of students to identify, list and discuss:

  • the points of view of each of the participants

  • whether they justified their points of view

  • how they used persuasive devices and vocabulary to present these points of view

  • the participants’ purposes in putting forward these points of view

  • other points of view that could have been considered

  • the manner of presentation, matter presented and method of presentation

  • the final decision and reasons why the judge came to this decision.

Discuss the outcome of the role-play and revise the term ‘argument’. Discuss what is known about presenting an oral point of view. Record this information on a chart to be revisited at the end of the unit.

Discuss oral argument

The purpose of the role play is to:

  • represent one point of view on an issue

  • change people’s points of view or attitudes.

Point of view

Encourage students to:

  • consider a range of IDEAS and possible points of view that different people might hold

  • think about why people may have different opinions

  • develop an opinion/thought web with a focus question: ‘What would different people say?’

Prepare a list of persuasive VOCABULARY – words and phrases which influence the point of view from the perspective of individuals, such as:

  • ‘It’s not natural for cats to be kept inside’

  • ‘Some animals need to be protected from predators’

  • ‘It is inappropriate to keep chickens in cages’

  • ‘Government codes of practice ensure the welfare of caged animals’.

Observe students during the role-play and check if they use appropriate actions, language choices and ideas to attempt to persuade others to a particular point of view or action related to the topic.
Check if students:

  • draw on their experience in role-play to discuss the purpose and some of the distinguishing features of oral argument

  • express their thoughts in a logical and persuasive manner in both the role-play and the related discussions.

Observe students in group discussion and identify if students understand:

  • the points of view being presented

  • how to effectively present and justify points of view

  • why particular positions were adopted

  • what the recommendations for action were

  • how the judge came to the final decision.

Text-based teaching and learning activities

Language focus

Assessment ideas

Session 4: Planning and modelling persuasive writing

Create a class text to revise with students how to plan and develop written texts to persuade a specific AUDIENCE; for example, a letter to the editor of a local paper, the text of a speech for a public speaking competition or an animal rights website.

Talk about the importance of selecting issues of concern, relevant IDEAS, forming an opinion and selecting possible points or examples to justify this opinion or point of view. Remind students that for any issue there may be many points of view.
Negotiate with students an aspect of the topic to be argued and the point of view they wish to present in their class text. For example, they may decide on an issue such as whether factory farming of domestic pets is cruel, or whether cages are necessary for the protection and conservation of endangered species.
Students work in groups to list all the possible points and evidence that could be used to support the point of view. Remind students to refer to the class table for ideas and supporting reasons.
Consider how to deal with conflicting points of view.
The groups share their list and a master list can be compiled. The class votes on four or five of the strongest points to be included in the jointly constructed argument.
Encourage students to listen carefully and respond to each group’s list.
Use PowerPoint slides to jointly construct the argument with students.

Guide students to identify stages of an argument and the way these are organised in a range of persuasive TEXT STRUCTURES. For example:

  • the importance of setting the scene for the reader

  • identify the strengths and weaknesses of particular text types and their ability to influence the reader

  • how to sequence ideas in a series of logically ordered PARAGRAPHS, such as an introduction, several paragraphs in the body of the text with attempted topic sentences and a conclusion

  • compare text structures used in print and multimodal persuasive texts.

Write the beginning of the argument which includes a statement of the issue of concern to orient the AUDIENCE and present an opinion.

Write the body of the argument. This will include each point and supporting evidence to make these points more convincingly. Introduce the idea of rebutting/refuting opposing arguments.
Focus students’ attention on how to use a range of PERSUASIVE DEVICES and carefully selected VOCABULARY to try to position the reader
Write the final section of the argument.

The completed argument could be sent to the intended audience. The published argument may be displayed and used for:

  • repeated readings

  • text schema activity

  • cloze activities (omit the COHESIVE devices, verbs (linking or action), emotive words)

  • text analysis

  • development of spelling, PUNCTUATION and grammar knowledge.

Individual presentation of arguments

Individual students may use the above as a model to:

  • plan and construct alternative written arguments related to this topic or other issues of concern; for example, ‘It is wrong to put people in prison’

  • create a text that puts forward the opposite point of view to the one modelled.

Conduct mini lessons and guided writing sessions as required to demonstrate aspects of the writing process. This could include sessions on:

  • planning, reviewing and editing writing

  • spelling and punctuation

  • proofreading strategies

  • handwriting.


Consider appropriate language choices to engage the AUDIENCE.


  • use of modality; for example, it could be said or on the other hand

  • use of emotive words and phrases; for example, a distressed hamster

  • use figurative language; for example, battery dogs or factory farming

  • the concept of cause and effect (Factor A leads to or results in Factor B)

  • how to appeal to reasons or emotions

  • how to acknowledge a wider audience.


Develop skills in writing texts with ideas appropriately organised in paragraphs to orient, engage and persuade an AUDIENCE, including the following.


  • statement of issue or concern

  • background information to support the audience’s understanding

  • clear statement of opinion/contention

  • recommendation for action, if relevant


  • several points presented in separate paragraphs

  • supported by reasons and some evidence


  • sum up, reaffirm the general point of view

  • avoid introducing new points

  • avoid simply restating the position statement of the first paragraph

Identify and record points for argument. Note that:

  • the strongest point will have the most evidence to support it

  • points are ordered so they logically follow each other

  • students should attempt to justify opinions with supporting detail, reasons or evidence.

Discuss body of written text

(purpose, structure and features)

  • points to support opinion

  • evidence or examples to support IDEAS

  • PARAGRAPHS containing topic sentences.

  • use of a range of connectives to provide COHESION, linking aspects of the argument or points; for example: in saying this, just as, as a result, however, therefore, not only… and but also

  • begin to use word substitutions such as synonyms and associations to avoid repetition

  • use appropriate prepositions and conjunctions.

Discuss the conclusion of the argument (purpose)

  • to sum up the position taken (to conclude the argument)

The writing process

Remind students of the need to plan for all writing tasks and to:

  • consider a range of possible points of view

  • locate appropriate resources

  • scan for relevant ideas and information

  • use a recording sheet to organise ideas and information

  • plan the TEXT STRUCTURE for appropriate ordering of points

  • use precise formal VOCABULARY suitable for the topic and a range of COHESIVE language for linking ideas

  • consider how to use a range of appropriate PERSUASIVE DEVICES to position AUDIENCE.

Assessment task

Select another aspect of the issue and prepare a written or multimodal text to present a point of view on it.


Working in groups, use the modelled text and experiment with:

  • different sentence types and compare the effects

  • using appropriate punctuation, including quotation marks, apostrophes and semi-colons

  • a range of different COHESIVE devices to link sentences and ideas

  • a range of persuasive devices and vocabulary and consider how they position a reader

  • using different cohesive devices and consider which are more effective

  • adding visual images and reflecting on their impact on the way a point of view is presented and interpreted.

Students write an alternative text, using highlighters or inserting comment boxes to identify:

  • the main points

  • supporting points

  • a variety of simple, compound and complex sentences

  • a range of conjunctions and binding words

  • punctuation accurately, including apostrophes, ellipses, dashes, colons and semi colons.

Check if students:

  • examine and discuss the purpose, features and AUDIENCE of the modelled argument using appropriate metalanguage

  • experiment with techniques to influence others

  • select and organise the group’s findings and ideas before sharing with the class

  • listen and respond to the speakers.

Observe students as they write and during conferences Study their writing to check if they can present and justify a written point of view that includes some of the modelled TEXT STRUCTURES, PARAGRAPHING, PERSUASIVE DEVICES and VOCABULARY.
Observe and support students as they write and conduct regular group and individual conferences to monitor their progress.

Check if students:

  • produce texts appropriate for the nominated AUDIENCE for their writing

  • select appropriate PERSUASIVE DEVICES and begin to use metalanguage to discuss choices

  • SPELL most simple and commonly used words and some more difficult words accurately

  • proofread and correct spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors.

Students write a paragraph using appropriate metalanguage to explain how they used language to persuade.

Text-based teaching and learning activities

Language focus

Assessment ideas

Reflection on learning

At the conclusion of the unit, students reflect on what they have learned about writing and creating persuasive texts.

Encourage students to include their personal observations in their reflective journals.

They may choose to share these conclusions with others in their group.

The class may revisit the table developed earlier in the unit and add or alter this to reflect their current knowledge.

Provide a list of questions to guide statements in this reflection.

  • What can you say about the purpose of persuasive texts?

  • If you had to explain one feature about writing a persuasive text what would you say?

  • What question do you now have about learning about persuasive texts?

  • How do you think you have improved?

  • What do you still need help with?

Check if students:

  • can explain the purpose and AUDIENCE for this writing

  • use PERSUASIVE and COHESIVE language and VOCABULARY associated with the topic and the writing form.

Text-based teaching and learning activities

Language focus

Assessment ideas

Students may:

  • prepare for and conduct a class discussion on the topic: It’s cruel to keep animals in cages

  • explore the use of PERSUASIVE language in multimodal texts (such as advertisements, pamphlets, websites or documentaries)

  • look at issues from different perspectives and create arguments from these perspectives.

Suggest to students that they create a story book for younger readers, presenting the point of view either that:

  • it is cruel to keep animals in cages


  • it is not cruel to keep animals in cages


  • it is sometimes cruel to keep animals in cages.

Invite students to create a cartoon from the point of view of a lion in an animal reserve, or a domestic cat who is allowed to roam free.

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