Have students answer the following questions in their spirals-"How do you argue? What does it mean to argue? and What is evidence?" This will get the students to start thinking about the skills needed to argue.
I will have the students share their thoughts with their Shoulder Partners and then as a class.
I do not want to get too heavy into the particulars with writing an argumentative essay, I just want to get the students feet wet with doing the skill. So, to begin, I will take all of their thoughts from the advanced organizer and use them to guide our lesson.
First of all, I will define argumentative writing. I want the students to to have a basic understanding for what it is and the vocabulary used within the concept. To do this, I will display the Argumentative Writing power point and have the students copy down the definitions onto the next blank page in their spiral. I will go over argument, claim, and evidence. These three terms are tier 3, or content specific, vocabulary words so the completion of the task is dependent upon the understanding of these terms.
Next, I will ask the students how they design a good argument to get something they want from their parents. What do they say to get their parents to understand their point of view and to see they are right?
I want the students to see the process we use to argue. First, we state our claim. Then, we provide evidence to that claim and explain why that evidence supports our claim. This is the process we take when we are writing an argument as well. First, we state our claim (thesis), then we provide evidence (from text) to support our claim, and lastly, we explain our evidence and how it supports our claim.
I will have the students copy down these notes into their spiral so they have it to use as a reference when they are writing.
Next, I want to show the students a model for the writing. Because our writing today will be a shorter piece and because it will be the students first time doing argumentative writing, I want to provide them with a good model.
I will display the piece of writing, but also provide them with a copy. This is a student sample of the task we will have to write later in the lesson.
First, I will the prompt to the students, "How has the Gibb Street Garden changed one of the characters' from the novel Seedfolks, perspective of life? Provide text evidence to support your claim."
Next, I will ask a student to restate the prompt, explaining what they have to do. I do this to ensure the students understand what the question is asking and if there are multiple parts to the prompt they understand they need to address them as well.
I will then read through the student sample aloud. I will not mark anything, I will just read through it. Then, I will ask the students to help me identify and analyze the argument. Is there a claim made? We will underline the claim and clarify what it says. Then, I will ask the students to identify and label the evidence. We will underline the evidence and discuss what it states. Finally, I will ask the students to underline the explanation of the evidence. I will ask them why this piece is important. I often times see students provide evidence but forget to explain that evidence and how it supports the claim. This is key in argumentative writing or writing in general.
This process will allow the students to see how an argumentative piece is constructed. It will hopefully provide them with a good model when they go to write their own.
We will wrap up with discussion about the piece and whether or not it does a good job answering the prompt.
Total shocker! I was amazed by how quickly the students picked up this style of writing. They were quickly motivated to write because how much they enjoyed this novel and these characters.
Using the brainstorming to help us get started was essential! The students are still learning the writing process and often skip over the brainstorming step and want to get right to the writing. Today, I required all students to complete the brainstorming because I wanted them to see the benefits of this step. All students were able to complete this step without any problems. Again, this is due to their response to the novel.
The brainstorming was effective, helping the students who dislike writing. It gave them a basis for writing and a good jumping off point.
One thing I would do differently in the future, is provide some students with a guided graphic organizer for this piece. For the students who have never really been exposed to formal writing, this was a difficult task to do on their own. I ended up providing a lot of support that I feel a graphic organizer could provide.
It is time for the students to get to work! I will have the students respond to the same prompt I used during instruction. "How has the Gibb Street Garden changed one of the characters in the novel?"
There are many characters to chose from within the novel, so they have plenty of options left. It also provides them with a concrete example to use because this is a newer skill and or concept.
I will have the students begin by brainstorming. I want them to remember that brainstorming is an imporatant step in writing and should always be used to help us prepare for the task. To do this, I will have them use loose-leaf paper to list at least three characters they want to chose for the piece. Then, I will have them brainstorm the changes each one of those characters went through. This will allow them to see what character is their best option. It also gets them practicing with the text to provide and look for evidence.
Finally, once I have approved their brainstorming list, I will have them begin their rough drafts. I may need to provide assistance with starting their introductions. I am going to see how they do and if I notice it is more than one or two students, I may stop to teach a mini-lesson on introductions. The students all have writing experience, so I am going on the assumption that they know how if they are pushed to do it.
I will allow the students time to draft. As they are working, I will monitor they work, provide assistance and check for word choice, sentence structure, etc. The more guidance I can give them in the drafting process, the easier my life is when editing!
I'll have the students work on this piece for homework.
To help the students process their own learning and to assess their understanding, I will have them complete a Closure Slip.
I want the students to gain an understanding for argumentative writing, can they explain the steps needed to build an argument? I am expecting the students will be able to identify the basic steps. This will help me when deciding what path I need to take to further and deepen their skills.