One thing that can make a difference in your students’ writing is the prompts or topics to which they must respond. Ultimately, I find that the goal is to have students create arguments for any topic that they encounter, but when they first begin writing, I prefer to give students high interest topics or offer them a choice of topics. Remember, this is just for scaffolding. Students will eventually need to respond to any topic which they are given to simulate the realities of a testing situation. Here is a list of 101 persuasive essay topics to get you started. If you find that these topics are still not working for your particular situation, perhaps it is best is you have students generate their own topics. Here are three methods with which students can generate their own persuasive essay topics.
1. Brainstorming: Give students 5 or 10 minutes of class time to create as many persuasive essay topics as they can. Encourage them to write down everything that comes into their heads. Perhaps offer recognition to the student who create the most topics to motivate your students.
2. Interviews: Have students work in pairs to discuss things that are interesting to them. First students create a list of interview questions to ask their partners, then they conduct interviews, and then they select topics for their partners based on their answers to the questions that were asked.
3. Daily News: Have students bring in a newspaper or magazine. Give them ten or fifteen minutes to browse through the publications that they brought. While they are browsing, they should write down an interesting issues or topics that are covered in the publications, and then they should create persuasive essay topics based on the articles.
I hope that these methods will help your students generate interesting persuasive essay topics. Remember, students should be able to respond to any topic which is posed to them; however, it can be helpful to give students topics that are of higher interest while they are still learning the writing process. Best results!