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article by Karen Jameyson , photo by Alamy

Learning Intention: 

I am learning to express my opinion and ideas using high modality language so that I can more effectively persuade an audience with my writing.

 Success Criteria: 

  • I can answer questions about a text using high modality language.
  • I can write a persuasive letter about my ideas using high modality language.
  • I can give feedback to my classmates on their persuasive writing.

Understanding text:

Read the article, or if you have a digital subscription, you may wish to play the audio version. Once finished, pose the following questions to the class:

What are the rules of Olympic breakdancing? (Two breakers will compete at a time taking turns to perform to music, they will be judged on different aspects of their dancing such as strength, speed and confidence)

What is the goal of the sport for competitors? (To keep their audience interested and be awarded the most points by the judges)

What makes it interesting for spectators? (e.g. breakdancers must respond to each other and the music on the spot in clever and fast-thinking ways)

Watch the BTN video Which new five sports could be at the 2028 Olympic Games? stopping the video at 1:49. Ask students to recall the sports that have been proposed (baseball/softball, cricket, flag football, lacrosse, squash). Discuss these proposals and have the students share their opinions about which of these sports they believe should be included and why.


Explain to students that in language modality relates to how certain we are of something. Use examples of low modality words and phrases that we use when we are unsure of something, such as maybe, I think and possibly. Encourage students to use high modality words and phrases in their answers such as:

  • Definitely
  • Certainly
  • Must
  • Have to
  • Absolutely
  • Surely
  • Without doubt
  • Clearly

Explain that these words and phrases help strengthen the language of their argument and persuade others to share their opinion.

Creating text:

Inform students that they are going to choose a sport that they would like included in the Olympics and write a letter to the Olympic committee to persuade them to include it. Explain that they can choose any sport they like, and this may be anything from AFL to speed cubing to freeze tag or tips.

Their letter should include high modality language as well as the following elements:

  • An explanation of the rules of the sport
  • The goal of the sport
  • What makes it interesting for spectators?

You may wish to model a basic structure on the board to help get them started, such as:

Dear Olympic Committee Members,

I am writing to you as I strongly believe that ___________ should be included as an Olympic sport.

The rules of ___________ are…..

The goal for competitors is to….

This sport is interesting for spectators because….

Thank you for taking my suggestion into consideration. I hope to see ___________ included in the Olympics soon.

Yours sincerely,

(Student name)

Assessment for learning:  

Have students swap their letters with a partner to read and evaluate. Explain that they should check that their partner has included high modality language and the required elements. The School Magazine’s Assessment and Evaluation guide for stage 2 persuasive texts may also be used to assess relevant aspects. If time allows, have willing students share their letters with the class to allow for peer feedback and voting on which sport they would like to see added to the Olympic roster.