This is one of my favorite favorite favorite lessons! Wish it was my idea though. I read about it on Miss Radka's Rhapsody's blog. It was such a fun lesson, the kids loved it, and we referred back to it all year long.
Then there was the time I used my dead dog to teach. Um, yea. I've always felt like kids get really into persuasive writing if they feel strongly about the topic. When my husband's cranky old lady dog died, our other dog needed a buddy. I did not do this until my husband was actually ready for another dog. I'm not that bad of a wife.
My students were a little overwhelmed by the idea of expository writing. Even the name is a little scary. So, they planned their first essay as groups of three, and then each wrote a piece. It did not make for a pretty final product, but it helped them dip their toes in the water and get their first essay behind them. Again, not my idea. This one was stolen from my sister who teaches ninth grade English. Some ideas are just good ideas not matter what the grade.
The Longest Writing Unit Ever
I'm pretty sure anyone who was reading my blog at the time was ready for this unit to be over, but I loved it! You can read about it here, here, and here. I would have written more, but I felt sorry for everybody.