We all grew up learning the mighty five paragraph paper format. You need an introduction, three main points, and a conclusion. While it is an excellent structure to learn, there are so many other ways to communicate ideas effectively that it important to teach your children other forms that they can use. If they have a wealth of excellent tools to use, they will be able to select the most effective form for the occasion. Communicating well is a highly marketable skill.
The Persuasive Essay
Somehow I got the idea growing up that persuading someone to do something was manipulative. While I'm sure that there are manipulated persuasions, there is a way to guide someone to truth without hitting them over the head with it or pulling the wool over their eyes.
The persuasive essay structure that we've learned through The Lost Tools of Writing provides a clear form that students can learn and then expand. You simply state your thesis (what you're arguing) and proofs, elaborate on your proofs, then remind your audience of your thesis and proofs. It can feel a bit repetitive, but repetition helps the ideas stick in your mind.
Throw in a little animated presentation of your content, and you have a pretty good persuasive argument. Here's my attempt at explaining why I think learning Latin is like learning soccer:
Using the mysimpleshow.com presentation software, students are required to structure their content through a series of prompts. The other additional benefit is that each section is limited in the number of words that a student can use. This requires them to be succinct in their communication—also a very marketable skill. Here are some of the topics they can select with their corresponding prompts:
- Historical Events: Historical context, "Turning point ", The event, Short-term results, Long-term consequences
- Summarizing a Book: Introduction, setting and characters, plot, additional information
- Explain a Mathematical Formula: Problem, background information, definition of the formula, practical example, result, end
- Create your own: Or just create your own. My daughter used the blank template to bring her story to life!
Variety is the Spice of Life
Building a repertoire of forms to write with allows your student to be an excellent communicator. Additionally, it's great to give them access to technology to bring their writing to life. Mysimpleshow.com is such a fun (and slightly addicting) way to illustrate your ideas. It takes about an hour to pull your ideas together.
- A short and sympathetic video can help raise attention and awake interest for almost any topic, which makes learning so much more fun.
- Creating explainer videos is easy and exciting, and it also trains users regarding the application of creative resources.
- Explainer videos are a great means to structure content, provide guidance, and give an overview.
- Teachers can have their students create explainer videos as a result of research, elaboration, and creative work.
- Users can remember information better using video as the brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than text.
- Writing the video script enhances writing skills, as students need to use transition phrases and must only include the most relevant information to align with the storyline template's character limits.
- Students can develop a heightened sense of cognitive association in regards to matching text and context with images on the screen.
- Teachers can have students work in teams on video scripts and visualizations to aid in their collaboration skills.
- Using video in addition to or in place of PowerPoints or other presentations keeps up with the 21st century trend of using technology in learning.
Use the basic features of mysimpleshow.com for free, or upgrade to a fun account for only $5.99/month.
Betsy Strauss is an unexpected homeschooler, mother of three, who is in a relationship with a sweet man for life. She loves reading books, drinking coffee, and learning anything with her kids.