Teaching Students How to Be a Positive Influence


In his March column, Outstanding Young Educator Award winner Brad Kuntz says that by practicing meaningful community engagement, students can strengthen their writing, speaking, and thinking skills and learn how to have a positive influence on the world around them.

Writing arguments based on clear evidence is the first standard in the Common Core English language arts “Writing” strand for grades 6-12 (grades K-5 similarly focus on writing opinion pieces), and school- or community-wide issues like bullying or healthy lunch options are perfect opportunities for students to put these skills toward an authentic purpose. (Read Write Think blog has sample lessons on persuasive writing.)

Through the process of identifying, researching, and proposing solutions for community issues, students learn appropriate ways to collaborate with stakeholders and that engagement pays off.


  1. I really like this idea of getting students involved in positive thinking. With all the technology they have at their finger tips such as, texting, it is harder to get them to communicate at all. If we can teach them they can be a positive influence on issues, this may even help with bullying.
    I looked at the link Read Write Think and I love the lesson plan I saw. the graphic organizer is a great way to help students put together thoughts about an issue they feel is important to them.
    Teaching them how to formulate a well thought out idea is very beneficial even in the early grades.


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