Possibly too old for the puppy-dog look to get them what they want, Jefferson Elementary fourth-graders have picked up the pencil to learn the art of persuasive writing.

Each student in Lacy Mitchell's Advancement Via Individual Determination class are writing three-paragraph essays on why students need iPads in the classroom, a topic the students collectively selected.

"Persuasive writing is part of the Common Core that will begin next year, and this is preparing them for the fifth-grade state writing test," Mitchell said. "This opens up writing skills for them and builds on those skills."
Many of the students have found the exercise both educational and fun.

"It's fun because you get to persuade people. You give them a first reason and a second reason and a third reason," James Alstatt said.

Some students also liked the opportunity to expand their writing skills. Taylor Clearman regularly writes letters to relatives.

"This is fun because we write to get stuff," he said. "I like that we get to spend time writing." Tierra Bowman said she looks forward to writing longer essays.

"I like persuasive writing because you get to write and write and write and do paragraphs. I would like to do 18 paragraphs some day," she said.

Each student's essay gives the top three reasons they have for people to support their cause. When asked what the top reason was, the students each had different opinions.

"It's availability," Bowman said. "If someone is on the computer in our classroom, we'll have iPads to get on to use Study Island or Success Maker or AR (Accelerated Reader)."

It could also allow students who finish their in-class work first the ability to work specifically on skills with which they struggle through various skill-specific software programs.

"We can continue our learning because we can get on the iPads," Alstatt said.

Students also connected the need for added technology to the study skills learned through AVID.

"We won't have to walk to the computer lab and waste time," Clearman said. "It's like how we learn time management in AVID. We could just grab the iPad in one second and start working."