Thursday, October 13, 2016

Short Stories from a Middle School Teacher: A Modest Proposal

A Modest Proposal
Every year I like to introduce my students to persuasive writing through an Oregon Trail assignment. It is generally my students’ favorite activity of the year which is a plus. We start by reading a piece of historical fiction that explains what the Oregon Trail is and details the hardships of the journey. I then have students create their own wagon parties within the classroom. They then have to research and decide what would be the absolutely essential supplies for the trip and how much money they would need for the trip. The final step is the students have to write a letter to Potter’s Old Time Banking explaining why they need a loan hand then persuading me to loan them the money for the trip.

Some excerpts from my students’ most humorous persuasive letters over the years:

When I get out west I will search the lands for the prettiest tree in the wild. I will then send it back to you and you can display it in your bank. All the other smith will be jealous.

If you don’t loan me the money I will go to all the other people in town and tell them not to use your bank. Giving me a loan is your best bet for staying in business.

Give me the money, or else.

If you don’t loan me the money I might have to eat my family on the journey, and I don’t want to do that.

When the students turn their projects in I printed out labels that either approved or rejected their loans.


:( So So Sorry! :(

Your loan has been denied.

You will have to eat a fellow traveler to survive.

:)Congratulations! :)

Potter’s Old Time Banking has approved your loan.

Good luck on the trail!

There is something about stickers that gets kids adrenaline pumping. I don’t know what it is but someone should do a scientific study on it.

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