Advocacy: Going a Step Further--Convince Someone!

3, 4, 5

The students will write a persuasive essay to sum up the activities of this unit and to become advocates of philanthropy and of preserving and protecting the Earth. This essay may be published in the local or school newspaper or entered into a writing contest.

Lesson Rating 
PrintTwo One-Hour Class Periods

The learner will:

  • summarize the philanthropic experience in an essay.
  • convince the audience of the importance of giving of one's time, talents, and treasures for the sake of the common good.
  • give examples to support ideas and convince the reader of his or her responsibility to preserve and protect the environment (advocacy).

Persuasive Essay Rubric (Handout One)

Home Connection 

Distribute Persuasive Essay Rubric (see Handout One). Ask parents to edit the students' rough copies of their essays using the criteria provided.


  1. Anticipatory Set: Say, "Okay, class. We acted as what at the beach? (philanthropists) What did we do? How did you feel when it was all cleaned up? What did it look like? Why did we do it? What did we find? How does that make you feel? Now what? It's time to go a step further. You will become advocates for philanthropy and for preserving and protecting our environment. Why should others do the same or similar things?"

  2. As students brainstorm, write some of their ideas of important points or examples on the board or overhead to get students going.

  3. Explain what an advocate is. Tell students that they will write a persuasive essay encouraging others to protect the environment. Students should write their rough copy following this form:

    • The introductory paragraph should state your opinion clearly. Be sure to include a definition of philanthropy and tie it in to the International Coastal Cleanup. (This essay usually includes a statement like, "I believe…" or "I feel…")
    • The next three paragraphs should give specific examples from our International Coastal Cleanup, "We Are Plooters," and/or Just a Dream to support your opinion. This could include items found, how the beach looked when you arrived, dangerous items to people and/or wildlife, how you felt, how this environment should look, how and why we organized to meet a need, identify outcomes, and explain how other content areas were used as well.
    • The closing paragraph should clearly restate your position on this opinion and try to convince the reader to act or believe accordingly.
    • Core Democratic Values could be included as well.
  4. These rough copies should be peer-edited in small groups as well as edited by parents before the teacher looks them over for additional corrections.

  5. In session two the students should write their final copies (perhaps to be submitted to the local or school paper).


This persuasive essay is the assessment for the entire unit. It should be evaluated according to how well the student shows an understanding of philanthropy and gives examples from the International Coastal Cleanup and/or pieces of literature that were used. (You may choose to evaluate them on English mechanics as well.)

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Describe one reason why a person might give or volunteer.
      2. Benchmark E.4 Give an example of how citizens act for the common good.
  2. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 05. Integrating the Service Experience into Learning
      1. Benchmark E.2 Evaluate progress on the service-learning project before, during, and after the project.
      2. Benchmark E.3 Identify outcomes from the service.