Sixth graders make a difference through writing

Westfield Intermediate School sixth graders participate in a lesson on the power of writing. (MICHELE OUIMET PHOTO)

WESTFIELD – Westfield Intermediate School sixth grade teacher Michele Ouimet recently gave her literacy class students an assignment on argumentative writing.

She asked students to research the impact of plastic waste in the ocean, and write a letter to a person or institution of their choice to express their individual concerns.  The class discussed and researched the topic, learning from timely articles and videos.

“I chose the topic of preventing plastics from getting into the ocean. Students chose their audience and the direction they wanted their argument to go in:Wwhich reasons and evidence they thought would convince their audience. Students also chose articles they wanted to read to research their narrowed focus,” Ouimet said.

“I want to teach them that you can make a difference through writing. Having this authentic writing task made them work harder than I’ve seen all year,” Ouimet said.

Some of their letters were sent to The Westfield News, and are printed in today’s edition.

Other letters were sent to the Mayor, The Republican, the Cape Cod Times (because a student wanted to send it to a beach town), and to parents.  Two classmates sent their letters to each other, because each had come in with a plastic water bottle.

“The whole purpose was to make this a meaningful experience for them, so they can see the value of writing,” Ouimet said.

Readers are encouraged to respond to the students or write letters of their own on any topic, by sending them to [email protected].

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