Sharing Our Learning: Persuasive Letters
We have been using features of persuasive writing to write letters to supermarkets and politicians. We are going to post our letters in the hope of action and a response. We have been trying to persuade them to take action against the companies using palm oil as orangutans are under threat of extinction. Here are the letters written by Carmello and Leigha:
LETTER TO A POLITICIAN
St. Philip Evans RC Primary School
Coed Y Gores
Wednesday 2nd November 2016
National Assembly for Wales
Dear the Right Honourable Carwyn Jones AM,
We are writing this letter to you because we are greatly concerned about the future of the orangutans and rainforests of South-East Asia, more specifically, Indonesia and Malaysia. We are a combined class of Year 5 and 6 pupils in St. Philip Evans Primary School and in our lessons; we heard that the production of palm oil has been affecting the orangutans of Borneo and Sumatra massively.
Imagine if these remarkable, treasured, special apes were wiped out because of us? I believe that the responsibility for the future of these species should rest on us, however, certainly not the way humans are handling it now. Palm oil production is destroying their habitat, right at this very second. We don’t have a choice in what we buy. Couldn’t we just insist on all products in UK only containing palm oil? This way, we can promote a guilt-free lifestyle. If you don’t know what palm oil is, it is a rose-red fruit that is roughly the size of an avocado pit. It is used in everyday products, and chances are you’ve probably used it today!
Are we aware we are purchasing products that take away an animal’s life? The use of palm oil is very popular in the UK and we think that you should be appalled by the amount of products in your household that contain palm oil. A staggering 40% of products in everyday supermarkets use palm oil! This tells us we are definitely not making an effort. We consume 10kg of palm oil as an individual per year. Times that by your age. Multiply that by the amount in our class (65). Add all the family members. See what I mean? Huge quantities are being consumed at the cost of orangutans.
Palm oil has a shocking impact on flora and fauna, especially the orangutans. There are 50,000 orangutans left. They are disappearing quickly. What does this say about us humans? Workers are obliged to destroy natural rainforests for money; nearly all of it is gone. Speaking of this, 300 football fields of forest are torn down every day. In addition to this, global warming is taking place as well, which adds a bigger effect to the rainforest. This is because the greenhouse gases are being released into the atmosphere as we tear down the ‘lungs of the earth.’
Palm oil is wrecking our God-given creation and we shouldn’t see the world in this state. It is our home after all. We think that Wales should think about the effects that this gives around the world. Wouldn’t it be great if Wales were the first palm oil free country? It’s quite annoying that people say they want to make a difference, but actually don’t. Therefore, it would be highly appreciated if the National Assembly took an action on palm oil.
Leigha (aged 10) and the children in Y5/6GD
LETTER TO A SUPERMARKET
St. Philip Evans Primary,
Tuesday, 8th November, 2016
Tesco Customer Services,
Dundee DD1 9NF.
We are writing to you because we are very concerned about the extinction of the orangutans, we are a class of Year 5 and 6 pupils at St. Philip Evans Primary in Cardiff, and we have carried out a project all about deforestation and its effect on the orangutans. As a class we have been shocked and frustrated as a result of our findings. The facts and statistics are devastating and really do speak for themselves. Do you know that 50 football fields of rainforest are destroyed every day to make way for palm oil plantations? We as individuals are making a change and pledging to spread this important eco message with our parents and local community. We must work together to make a difference. We are aware that many products that you sell use palm oil. Are you? You could use other oils; these include vegetable, olive, sunflower, coconut or canola oils. In my opinion, we still have time to save the orangutans.
Years ago, orangutans were as contented as ever. But, as time went on, their habitat started to disappear, bit by bit. Now, it is worse than ever. Orangutans are expected to be extinct by 2040. We wondered if you could answer these questions:
• Are you able to verify the sustainability of your palm oil?
• What percent of your foods contains other oils/ sustainable palm oil?
• Do you use sustainable palm oil? If so, how often?
We think that every supermarket can improve, and this includes you. By using sustainable palm oil/ alternatives to palm oil together with all other supermarkets, we can lengthen the life of the orangutans. So do you want to let this lovable, amazing, endangered species so close to us become extinct because of our actions, or do you want to keep them alive? It’s your choice. We must make a new start. So let us make that start today.
Carmelo and all children in Y5/6 St Philip Evans Primary School
Thinking About Our World Fortnight
How Can We Save the Orang-utans?
This year’s whole school focus for Thinking About Our world fortnight is a response to Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudate Si in which he calls all people across the world to live more sustainably and care for our common home (Planet Earth.)
We began the fortnight by watching CAFOD’s video animation of the Pope’s letter and discussed as a class ways in which his message could shape our lives. This became a knowledge harvest of ways in which the future of our world is endangered and ways in which we can help to save it. Following this we planned a class prayer session or gweddiwn to help ask God for his help in saving the planet as well as helping us to reflect on ways in which this message can shape our own lives.
Our classes started our project with a question: How can we save the orangutan? We used ‘Communicating with Clarity and Precision to answer the question.
Richard reported, “We began by watching a video from the WWF that told us a little bit about the problem, however, we wanted to find out more. We used the TASC wheel to help us guide our investigation. We thought about questions that we wanted to answer in our investigation. Mine were:
We used a QuADS grid to guide our research and we used books and websites to find the solutions. Additionally, we carried out research at home and created a learning log of our results.”
Rebecca reported, “We had a visit from Phil Williams our school’s Eco Advisor. Phil talked to us about the effects of palm oil production on orangutans which are primates that live on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra in South East Asia. He talked about all the products that we use around the home that contain palm oil. We went home and found packaging of products at home that contain palm oil.”
How Can We Save the Orang-utans?
Our next step on the TASC wheel is to tell other people about our learning. We used the habit of mind, communicating with clarity and precision to discuss our ideas. We held a pupil voice session and discussed all the ways in which we could share our learning. As a class we decided that we wanted to write to politicians asking them to act on the use of palm oil; write to supermarkets to urge them to stop using palm oil in their products as well as producing videos to share our messages with people.
In our maths lessons we looked at data about how the numbers of orangutans in the wild have changed a lot over the past 50 years due to deforestation of the rainforest. Following this, we created both pictograms and line graphs to help us interpret the data. We looked at patterns and drew conclusions about what has happened to orangutans.
In our literacy lessons we have been learning about how to use persuasive devices to write persuasive letters to politicians such as Carwyn Jones AM and Teresa May PM. Additionally, some groups wrote to supermarkets. We had to persuade them to act on palm oil. We began by exploring the different persuasive devices, anecdotes, facts, opinions, rhetorical questions, exaggeration, statistics and triples. We had to use the habit of mind communicating with clarity and precision to ensure our letters were successful. We identified these features in a modelled example and then planned and wrote our letters. You can see some examples of our letters on our class webpage. We hope we get some responses back.
Our next task is to produce a market place display board collaboratively as a group to share our learning about how the use of palm oil is affecting the orangutans. You can find out more by coming to our Eco Extravaganza sharing event for parents on Monday 14th November between 3-3:30pm in school.
DAHLICIOUS DAY 13TH SEPTEMBER 2016
On Tuesday 13th September, to celebrate the centenary of Roald Dahl’s birth the whole school celebrated the life and works of Roald Dahl. The day started with an assembly where the children were reminded of how significant Roald Dahl is to us as he was born in Llandaff, Wales. Children dressed up as Roald Dahl characters, shared their favourite Roald Dahl books and learnt about the famous Welsh author’s writing techniques and inspirations. It was a wonderful opportunity to enthuse the children about reading and approach literacy in an engaging and exciting way. ‘Book Buddying’ also took place with older children sharing a book with children in the Foundation Phase, which really helped to promote the love of reading at St Philip Evans Primary School! The children had a fantastic day and the effort made by everybody was, as always, exceptional!
Y5/6G: Assembly on Loving
Our current RE Come and See topic is entitled loving or cariadus in Welsh. To begin our assembly we sang Wherever There Is Love we chose this hymn as it reminds us of God’s love for us during the darkest moments of our lives.
Following the hymn, we began to share how we explored unconditional love within our families and lives. Jessica said, “My group created a bubble map that used different adjectives that described the emotions that you feel when you experience unconditional love.” Both Olivia and Natasha went on to share the poems that they had written about unconditional love. Elizabeth continued by telling the audience, “Alongside our friends and family, as Christians, we know that God loves us all unconditionally. He has created us and cares for us all. As part of our learning in this topic, and all other topics, we turned to scripture to find out about Jesus’s teaching about love and we deepened our understanding of this teaching and reflected on how it can shape our own lives.”
Following this, Charlie acted out the Gospel of John and the account of Jesus’ command to his followers, “My commandment is this: love one another, just as I love you.”
After the Gospel reading a number of us acted out the parable of the Prodigal Son; Jesus often used parables to help people understand his teaching. Parables are stories with a deep meaning. Jesus used the story of the prodigal son as a way to help us understand God’s unconditional love.
After the dramatization of the Prodigal Son the class shared the Beatitudes which are more teachings of Jesus about how we should live our life. The children shared the different verses and explained how the other children could let these shape their lives.
To bring the collective worship to a close we led the school in a time of prayer and reflection. We began by hearing a litany that we had written in an RE lesson based up upon psalm 136. Then we lead the school through prayers of intercession answering in Welsh. We challenge the school to leave our assembly with the mission of loving others as Jesus’ loves us. To finish we sang our favourite hymn We Are Children Of the Living God.