Middle school persuasive writing assignment hopes to help to increase animal adoptions while providing wonderful wall décor for Pets Alive

Pets Alive

Persuasive writing is an important life skill and seventh/eight-graders are hoping their developing skills will make a positive difference for the animals at the Pets Alive Animal Sanctuary in Middletown.

Seventh/eighth-grade teacher Corinne Yanis wanted to reinforce the importance of writing, and found an opportunity where her students could impactfully apply it to a real community issue.

three students with posters

Students were tasked with writing letters from the point of view of an animal living at Pets Alive, the 80 acre no-kill animal shelter in Middletown. Its mission is to build a humane community supporting the human-animal bond by being a resource through rescue, adoption, intervention, education and outreach. It’s one of the oldest no-kill organizations nationwide. Many of its animals are older, have special needs or require special care.

Students were allowed to pick the type of animal they wanted “to be,” and persuasively write about why they should be adopted…from that animal’s perspective.

three students with posters

Persuasive writing intends to convince readers to believe in an idea or opinion. It’s a critical skill that plays an important role in everyday life because being able to express ideas and opinions in a constructive way on paper is something students must rely on in their academic, professional and personal lives.

student with pig posterThrough class discussions and writing work and revisions, students completed their assignments and designed an 11×17 poster showcasing their document along with an art component where they drew the animal in the assignment.

Pets Alive will be displaying the posters in its facility. The hope is that when visitors come to the sanctuary, they’ll see these posters and their messages will help boost adoption rates by giving those animals their own “advocacy voice” in an extremely different and creative way.

There were other important teachable moments, too, such as learning empathy and compassion skills, in this case, toward animals. Students also further developed social and communication skills through peer and shelter staff interaction.

“The project also fosters a sense of responsibility and respect toward living beings, “said Ms. Yanis. “Additionally, students are getting a better sense of the importance of belonging and responsibility toward the community, and perhaps most important, how they can make a positive impact in the lives of others.”

Pets Alive volunteer presentation

student with dog and volunteerPets Alive volunteers visited students on May 17, bringing Weston, a mix-breed dog, to meet them. Students had the chance to see the love, care and attention given to Weston, who served as the representative for all Pets Alive animals that day, as volunteers spoke to them about what an animal shelter/sanctuary does.

“This was a wonderful opportunity to learn about animal welfare, responsible pet ownership, compassionate care of animals in need, and how they can give back to the community,” Ms. Yanis added, stressing that students also undertook a collection drive to collect items needed by Pets Alive.

“These donations will be very meaningful to the Pets Alive volunteers who are caring for these animals until they find permanent homes,” she added. “Thank you to everyone who supported our efforts.”