MAHOPAC, N.Y. -- Fifth-graders in Lisa Coen's class at Austin Road Elementary School in Mahopac spent the past week writing persuasive business letters to Macy's complete with design ideas for their own balloon floats for the upcoming Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
“It is an opportunity for them to learn persuasive writing in a business-letter format while doing something interesting and fun,” said Coen, who came up with the idea.
Students brainstormed ideas in groups. There is Marker Man who, one student persuaded in his letter, would make a great balloon, because “kids love superheroes and color,” while another set of students wrote about R2D2 because “Star Wars is a classic, and there's a new movie coming out.”
Another group wrote letters about Steve from the popular Minecraft game. “More than 100 million people play,” one student wrote in his letter, “so it will definitely be a popular balloon!” Students also designed posters to go with their letters.
“Remember,” Coen told the students, “in advertising you need to be persuasive, provide statistics and include colorful graphics or slogans.” Students were encouraged to use alliteration in the slogans or create a jingle. "Also remember—you can't always trust what you read on the Internet, so you need to have reliable sources,” Coen advised her students.
Coen read the book "Balloons over Broadway" with students before starting the project. The book is a biography of the puppeteer who transformed the Macy's parade by creating the balloon floats.“The project also fits nicely in with our biography unit in our reading program,” she said, “in addition to it being a fun way for students to learn.”
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