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Argumentative Writing for 6-12 Social studies

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  1. Argumentative Writing for 6-12 Social studies Angela Orr aorr@washoeschools.net & Katie Anderson kmanderson@washoeschools.net Make sure to grab a playing card!

  2. Pre-Survey: Before the Session

  3. Argumentative Writing: A Beginner’s Guide to Teaching (and NOT just assigning) Writing Our Ambitious Objectives: • Understand and apply the definitions of argument: claim, reasoning, evidence, and counterclaim; • Learn to write and instruct sentence and paragraph level arguments from art as well as primary and secondary sources; • Engage in the work of learning basic techniques for writing power sentences for claims, reasoning, and evidence; • Employ highlighting and sorting strategies for recognizing argument in authors’ works; • Practice ways to isolate and teach quoting and paraphrasing evidence; • Work with counterclaim stems.

  4. Tracking Your Plan

  5. Overarching Principle Students who become reading detectives will learn to be better writers. Students who make deliberate writing decisions will become more critical and aware readers. That is, good readers are generally better writers, and reverse is also true. Reading and writing instruction cannot be separated, as rich and interesting text provides the basis for writing with evidence.

  6. Empowerment Through Practice This is not “Essay Writing 101,” because students have to practice the individual skills before applying them to larger writing assignment.

  7. How can we reconcile these two ideas?

  8. Write less, more often. Focus on quality.

  9. Language of Writing Standard 1 • Read Writing Standard 1. • With a partner, please come up with your own definitions of claim, counterclaim, reasoning, and evidence. • These might be refined as we work through some ideas.

  10. Definitions for Writing Standard 1 • Argument - “Super Claim”: The overarching idea of an argumentative essay that makes more than one claim. • In some cases, an argument has a single claim, but in sophisticated writing in 8th-12th grade, multiple claims are made. • Claim: a simple statement that asserts a main point of an argument (a side) • Reasoning:2 parts – a) the “because” part of an argument and the explanation for why a claim is made; b) the explicit links between the evidence and the claim; the explanation for why a particular piece of evidence is important to the claim and to the argument • Evidence: support for the reasoning in an argument; the “for example” aspect of an argument; the best evidence is text­-based, reasonable, and reliable.

  11. Parts of an Argument (super simple version) • Overarching Argument (Super Claim) • I deserve this job. • Claims • I am a self-starter. • I work hard. • I collaborate well with others. • I learn knew things quickly. • Evidence & Reasoning • Last summer, I worked for my uncle for three months, 35 hours a week, doing construction.While my friends were sleeping in, I chose to get up early and earn my keep. • Although I had never had used power tools before, within only 2 weeks, I was put in charge of a small job that required me to use three different tools. • Counterclaim (another side that contradicts your claim)

  12. Another far too simple example • Claim: Pizza is a healthy alternative to fast food. • Evidence: Pizza is made with tomato sauce. • Reasoning: Tomato sauce has many vitamins and minerals as well as antioxidants, so eating pizza with tomato sauce can be a healthy alternative.

  13. Why Descriptive Thesis Statements are NOT Arguable Claims Following are examples of descriptive thesis statements students write in high school. Each is drawn from the top-scoring AP English Language and Composition papers posted on the College Board website: • “To be a writer, one must have an elite understanding of diction, syntax and tone. These literary devices are utilized by writers, including Eudora Welty, as a method for expressing the message that they wish to convey to readers.” • “In the excerpt from One Writer’s Beginnings, Eudora Welty conveys a positive tone toward her childhood experience. She accomplishes this through the use of descriptive diction, impressionable images, and unusual syntax.” These are NOT argumentative claims because the writers’ strategy is to create a thesis statement that is DESCRIPTIVE. The writer is describing some aspect of the main text, and that’s all their doing. It’s like saying, “Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is a play about two star crossed lovers and two warring families.” Adapted from UW Writing Program

  14. Why Descriptive Thesis Statements are NOT Arguable Claims Descriptive Informative Thesis: • “To be a writer, one must have an elite understanding of diction, syntax and tone. These literary devices are utilized by writers, including Eudora Welty, as a method for expressing the message that they wish to convey to readers.” Argumentative Claim: • “It was Eudora Welty’s steady exploration of the superficially tranquil middle-class world -- a society of men, women and children attempting to navigate complicated lives in the awful world of racial mayhem left behind by the Civil War -- that made her the most usable example of excellence for succeeding generations of Southern writers.”

  15. We are not necessarily advocating the use a traditional five paragraph essay. This example is to demonstrate the relationship between traditional language (thesis) and CCSS language (claim). The Traditional Five Paragraph Essay* Essay with Thesis Essay with Argument Paragraph 1: Introduction and argument (super claim) with three claims. Paragraph 2: First claim restated followed by supporting evidence and detailed reasoning (in HS includes counterclaims for each claim) Paragraphs 3 & 4: Same as paragraph 2 with second and third claims, reasoning, and evidence Paragraph 5: Conclusion with a restatement of argument (different words) and an analysis countering the counterclaim(s) Paragraph 1: Introduction and thesis with three reasons. Paragraph 2: First reason morphs into topic sentence followed by supporting evidence. Paragraphs 3 & 4: Same as paragraph 2 with second and third reasons Paragraph 5: Conclusion with a restatement of thesis (different words) and…

  16. The role of reasoning in argument

  17. Evidence & Reasoning • Evidence is ALWAYS evidence for something! Reasoning gives us that answer! • Example Statistic: 74% of high school students read at a minimum of an 8th grade level. American schools are failing! According to a new national study, 26%, or, in other words, 1 in every 4 high school students, cannot read at a 9th grade level. If 1 in 4 people in the country had a disease, we would call it an epidemic of mass proportions! In a recent study of U.S. students’ reading, the U.S. was given a B average. 74% of high school students reads at or above an 8th grade level, the level necessary to read most newspapers and popular fiction texts. The study factored in the nearly 10% of students who have learning disabilities or are learning a second language to come to the average grade of “B.”

  18. Reasoning Matters • After you introduce evidence into your writing, you must say why and how this evidence supports your argument. What turns a fact or piece of information into evidence is the connection it has with a larger claim or argument: evidence is always evidence for or against something, and you have to make that link clear with reasoning. • We should not assume that our readers already know what we are talking about. The audience can’t read our minds: although they may be familiar with many of the ideas we are discussing, they don’t know what we are trying to do with those ideas unless we indicate it through reasoning. Adapted from UNC at Chapel Hill College of Arts and Sciences Writing Center

  19. Questions to Develop Reasoning • So what? Why should anyone care about this evidence? • What does this information imply? • I’ve just described what something is like or how I see it, but why is it like that? • Why is this information important to understanding why I made my claim? • How is this idea related to my claim? What connections exist between them? • Can I give an example to illustrate the application of this evidence? • What are the consequences of thinking this way or looking at a problem this way? (for evidence of a counterclaim)

  20. Reasoning Matters (Example) Why is this a weak use of evidence? Discuss with the people next to you. Adapted from Indiana University Writing Center Weak use of evidence Today, we are too self-centered. Most families no longer sit down to eat together, preferring instead to eat on the go while rushing to the next appointment (Gleick 148). Everything is about what we want. Stronger use of reasoned evidence Today, Americans are too self-centered. Even our families don't matter as much anymore as they once did. Other people and activities take precedence. In fact, the evidence shows that most American families no longer eat together, preferring instead to eat on the go while rushing to the next appointment (Gleick 148). Sit-down meals are a time to share and connect with others; however, that connection has become less valued, as families begin to prize individual activities over shared time, promoting self-centeredness over group identity.

  21. Claim: Hybrid cars are an effective strategy to fight pollution. Evidence 1:Driving a private car is a typical citizen's most air polluting activity. Evidence 2: Each vehicle produced is going to stay on the road for roughly 12 to 15 years. Evidence 3: Hybrid cars combine a gasoline engine with a battery-powered electric motor. Which piece of evidence best supports the claim? Adapted from Purdue Writing Center

  22. Claim: Hybrid cars are an effective strategy to fight pollution. Evidence 1:Driving a private car is a typical citizen's most air polluting activity. Reasoning 1: Because cars are the largest source of private, as opposed to industry produced, air pollution switching to hybrid cars should have an impact on fighting pollution. Evidence 2: Each vehicle produced is going to stay on the road for roughly 12 to 15 years. Reasoning 2: Cars generally have a long lifespan, meaning that a decision to switch to a hybrid car will make a long-term impact on pollution levels. Evidence 3: Hybrid cars combine a gasoline engine with a battery-powered electric motor. Reasoning 3: This combination of technologies means that less carbon pollution is produced. Adapted from Purdue Writing Center

  23. Reflect • How might you introduce the elements of argument? If you already do this, what works well? What could be tweaked? • What examples might you use to help your students understand these elements? • How could you reinforce using reasoning throughout all classroom activities? • Take notes on your “Plan” sheet.

  24. Using Art & Political Cartoons to Jumpstart Argumentative Writing

  25. Art & Argument • Art sources can provide a great visual entrée to writing and substantiating claims. • Appeals to visual learners • Forces students to think as writers without the intimidation of complex text • Great way to practice as using art can take less time than reading a traditional text

  26. The Problem We all Live WithNorman Rockwell, 1963 oil on canvas

  27. Make a list of all of the details (evidence) you see. You do not yet need to know where the evidence leads…just that it is there. Do not jump to inferences.

  28. What can you assert/claim about this painting? Why is this a valid claim? With a partner, discuss what type of claim you can make for which there is evidence in the picture and for which you can reason. In 30 words or less, write your claim and include reasoning and two pieces of evidence. Remember, the reasoning explains why the evidence supports your claim. The reasoning can come from within or outside of the text.

  29. How could we find out if our claims and reasoning are true?

  30. American ProgressJohn Gast, 1872

  31. What claim can you substantiate with at least three pieces of evidence from the text? Use reasoning to explain how the evidence supports the claim. Step 1: Make a list of all evidence. Step 2: Write a claim based upon that evidence. Step 3: Use reasoning to make sure that your evidence clearly supports the claim.

  32. Theodor Seuss Geisel May 22, 1941

  33. With a partner, discuss what type of claim you can make for which there is evidence in the picture and for which you can reason.In 30 words or less, write your claim and include reasoning and evidence. Theodor Seuss Geisel May 22, 1941

  34. Reflection • How might you introduce claims, reasoning, and evidence in your classes? • Do you use art that would lend itself to a similar lesson? • Take notes on your planning page.

  35. Highlighting Claims, Reasoning, & Evidence in Text How can reading argumentative texts help students explicitly understand the elements of argument?

  36. Claims, Evidence, Reasoning • Claims: What are the main ideas that support the author’s overall argument (super claim)? • Evidence: Concrete facts supporting the author’s claims. • Reasoning: So What? The author’s independent interpretation of the textual evidence. The facts don’t speak for themselves!

  37. Ratify the ERA: By “George Steinmetz” • The ERA passed the House by a vote of 354-23 and the Senate by a vote of 84-8! I am surprised there is any debate about whether to ratify it. • The 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868 and was supposed to ensure equality to “all persons.” Unfortunately, for the next 100 years, the Supreme Court concluded that the Amendment only applied to men. The court refused to strike down laws that discriminated against women. • Today, there are laws setting higher minimum wages for men, excluding pregnant women from disability benefits, forbidding women from working in specific jobs, requiring women to earn more than men to receive social security benefits, and excluding women from the military academies. This discrimination must end. • But, the ERA will also benefit men. For example, many criminal sentences are more severe for men, domestic violence laws are rarely enforced against women, men can be drafted into military service but women cannot, and child custody decisions are biased toward women. It is time for this discrimination to end, too.

  38. Ratify the ERA: By “George Steinmetz” • The ERA passed the House by a vote of 354-23 and the Senate by a vote of 84-8! I am surprised there is any debate about whether to ratify it. • The 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868 and was supposed to ensure equality to “all persons.” Unfortunately, for the next 100 years, the Supreme Court concluded that the Amendment only applied to men. The court refused to strike down laws that discriminated against women. • Today, there are laws setting higher minimum wages for men, excluding pregnant women from disability benefits, forbidding women from working in specific jobs, requiring women to earn more than men to receive social security benefits, and excluding women from the military academies. This discrimination must end.

  39. Ratify the ERA: By “George Steinmetz” • The ERA passed the House by a vote of 354-23 and the Senate by a vote of 84-8! I am surprised there is any debate about whether to ratify it. • The 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868 and was supposed to ensure equality to “all persons.” Unfortunately, for the next 100 years, the Supreme Court concluded that the Amendment only applied to men. The court refused to strike down laws that discriminated against women. • Today, there are laws setting higher minimum wages for men, excluding pregnant women from disability benefits, forbidding women from working in specific jobs, requiring women to earn more than men to receive social security benefits, and excluding women from the military academies. This discrimination must end.

  40. Ratify the ERA: By “George Steinmetz” • The ERA passed the House by a vote of 354-23 and the Senate by a vote of 84-8! I am surprised there is any debate about whether to ratify it. • The 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868 and was supposed to ensure equality to “all persons.” Unfortunately, for the next 100 years, the Supreme Court concluded that the Amendment only applied to men. The court refused to strike down laws that discriminated against women. • Today, there are laws setting higher minimum wages for men, excluding pregnant women from disability benefits, forbidding women from working in specific jobs, requiring women to earn more than men to receive social security benefits, and excluding women from the military academies. This discrimination must end.

  41. Ratify the ERA: By “George Steinmetz” • The ERA passed the House by a vote of 354-23 and the Senate by a vote of 84-8! I am surprised there is any debate about whether to ratify it. • The 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868 and was supposed to ensure equality to “all persons.” Unfortunately, for the next 100 years, the Supreme Court concluded that the Amendment only applied to men. The court refused to strike down laws that discriminated against women. • Today, there are laws setting higher minimum wages for men, excluding pregnant women from disability benefits, forbidding women from working in specific jobs, requiring women to earn more than men to receive social security benefits, and excluding women from the military academies. This discrimination must end.

  42. Ratify the ERA: By “George Steinmetz” • The ERA passed the House by a vote of 354-23 and the Senate by a vote of 84-8! I am surprised there is any debate about whether to ratify it. • The 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868 and was supposed to ensure equality to “all persons.” Unfortunately, for the next 100 years, the Supreme Court concluded that the Amendment only applied to men. The court refused to strike down laws that discriminated against women. • Today, there are laws setting higher minimum wages for men, excluding pregnant women from disability benefits, forbidding women from working in specific jobs, requiring women to earn more than men to receive social security benefits, and excluding women from the military academies. This discrimination must end.

  43. Ratify the ERA: By “George Steinmetz” • But, the ERA will also benefit men. For example, many criminal sentences are more severe for men, domestic violence laws are rarely enforced against women, men can be drafted into military service but women cannot, and child custody decisions are biased toward women. It is time for this discrimination to end, too.

  44. Ratify the ERA: By “George Steinmetz” • But, the ERA will also benefit men. For example, many criminal sentences are more severe for men, domestic violence laws are rarely enforced against women, men can be drafted into military service but women cannot, and child custody decisions are biased toward women. It is time for this discrimination to end, too.

  45. Ratify the ERA: By “George Steinmetz” • But, the ERA will also benefit men. For example, many criminal sentences are more severe for men, domestic violence laws are rarely enforced against women, men can be drafted into military service but women cannot, and child custody decisions are biased toward women.It is time for this discrimination to end, too.

  46. Ratify the ERA: By “George Steinmetz” • The ERA passed the House by a vote of 354-23 and the Senate by a vote of 84-8! I am surprised there is any debate about whether to ratify it. • The 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868 and was supposed to ensure equality to “all persons.” Unfortunately, for the next 100 years, the Supreme Court concluded that the Amendment only applied to men. The court refused to strike down laws that discriminated against women. • Today, there are laws setting higher minimum wages for men, excluding pregnant women from disability benefits, forbidding women from working in specific jobs, requiring women to earn more than men to receive social security benefits, and excluding women from the military academies. This discrimination must end. • But, the ERA will also benefit men. For example, many criminal sentences are more severe for men, domestic violence laws are rarely enforced against women, men can be drafted into military service but women cannot, and child custody decisions are biased toward women. It is time for this discrimination to end, too.

  47. Ratify the ERA: By “George Steinmetz” • The ERA passed the House by a vote of 354-23 and the Senate by a vote of 84-8! I am surprised there is any debate about whether to ratify it. • The 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868 and was supposed to ensure equality to “all persons.” Unfortunately, for the next 100 years, the Supreme Court concluded that the Amendment only applied to men. The court refused to strike down laws that discriminated against women. • Today, there are laws setting higher minimum wages for men, excluding pregnant women from disability benefits, forbidding women from working in specific jobs, requiring women to earn more than men to receive social security benefits, and excluding women from the military academies. This discrimination must end. • But, the ERA will also benefit men. For example, many criminal sentences are more severe for men, domestic violence laws are rarely enforced against women, men can be drafted into military service but women cannot, and child custody decisions are biased toward women. It is time for this discrimination to end, too.

  48. Practicing the Skill • In groups of 2 or 3, choose two or three paragraphs from the remaining text. • Read the text • Work together to find and highlight the claim(s), evidence, and reasoning in the passage.

  49. Reflection • What was this process like for you/your group? • How could you implement this strategy in your classroom? • What to do with a weak argument? • Improve it! Ask students to write their own sentences improving the reasoning of a given argument.