Grade: Senior
Subject: Language

#268. Writing a well-organized persuasive essay

Language, level: Senior
Posted by Kim Smith (
Kimmy's Home Page
Bell City High School, Bell City, LA 70630
Materials Required: pen, paper, list of sample topics
Activity Time: one or two class periods
Concepts Taught: Persuasion, Writing, Grammar, Organization

Julius Caesar:

After we complete the reading of Julius Caesar, I usually give my students an opinion question.
They must persuade me to feel the way that they do on this question.

My topic is usually one of these two.

Is Brutus a villian or a victim? Support your answer fully including quotes that lead you to this

Would Julius Caesar have been a good king? Support your answer fully including quotes that lead you to
this opinion. Use any notes that you have taken in class.

Then, we brainstorm together certain ideas on the board. What makes a good king? What is a victim? Characteristics
of Brutus and Caesar. Expectations of friendship...

Paragraph one is always our thesis statement.

I usually model this for them.

Brutus was a victim of his own honor.

Julius Caesar would not have been a good king.

Then, we begin our support with a concrete detail explaining ONLY our opinion.

Cassius used Brutus' conversation on February 15 to convince him to join the conspiracy.

"Do you fear it, Brutus?"

Then, they must continue to give examples that support this detail. We call this elaboration.

This should contain approximately four or five support sentences including quotes.

Repeat this for paragraph three. Give one more concrete detail and quote. Then, add four
or five more support sentences.

If you are into the five paragraph essay, this can be repeated for a fourth paragraph.

The last paragraph should be the summary of why you feel the way that you do. The persuasion
can be achieved through the choice of quotes, support, concrete details, and transitional devices.

I use this for all the novels, plays, and short stories that we read in class. I vary it occasionally
to be a comparison and contrast essay. This is easily achieved through taking the four paragraph structure
and using it to be Thesis, Comparisons, Contrasts, Conclusion.

Hope it helps:

Kim Smith