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Curriculum Unit:
Learning Via the Virtual Field Trip

Learning Via the Virtual Field Trip 
by Julie Vitulano, New York City Public Schools 

Lesson Four: Drafting an Essay

How can we write a draft of a persuasive essay?

Materials: Computer with Internet access and a word processing program, notebooks.

Instructional Objectives: Students will be able to interview their classmates who have been to zoos; students will be able to write an outline of an essay; students will be able to write a draft of a persuasive essay.

Do Now: Students write about a personal memory they have from a visit to a zoo they have visited.

Motivation: Teacher dictates these words: benefit, opportunity, absolutely, free, discount, fun. Then the students are asked to describe the feelings these elicit. Why would these be good words to use in a persuasive essay?

Homework Review: Teacher projects on an overhead projector an example of a letter of request to Wild Safari asking for the Guest Accessibility Guide Book and any other information about services for the physically handicapped. Then the students are asked to review their homework to note any editing changes that need to be made in format.


Students are directed to write three interview questions about visiting a zoo.

In pairs, the students interview each other, taking notes on the responses of their classmate.

The teacher reminds the students that they may want to consider a personal anecdote or a quote from a classmate in their essay, if it will make a good argument for going to Wild Safari.

Students read "The Situation" and "Your Task".

"The Situation" - As the President of the high school student council, you have been asked to make a presentation to the principal requesting consideration of a school trip to Wild Safari at Six Flags Great Adventure. 

"Your Task" - You are to write a 250 word persuasive essay to leave with the principal as a follow up to your oral request. You must include the academic benefits to be derived from the trip as well as outline the costs, accommodations for the handicapped, and travel arrangements.

Students write an outline that includes:

The request

The academic benefits and non-academic benefits

Accommodations for the handicapped

Travel arrangements and costs

Each of these parts of the outline should have sub-topics. The sub-topics might include: arguments and counterarguments, examples, anecdotes, quotes from the web site, quotes from classmates, and any other material that would serve to persuade the reader.

Following the outline, students start to write their draft of the essay.

Homework: Students finish writing their draft and have a family member(s) read it and give feedback.


Lesson One: The Art of Persuasion
Lesson Two: Preparing Arguments
Lesson Three: Services For The Disabled At Wild Safari
Lesson Four: Drafting an Essay
Lesson Five: Assessment Rubric


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