Argumentative Essay Planning
But over the next year or so, I plan to also share more of what I know about teaching students to write.
Although I know many of the people who visit here are not strictly English language arts teachers, my hope is that these posts will provide tons of value to those who are, and to those who teach subjects, including writing.
Then again, I’m always interested in how other people do the things I can already do; maybe you’re curious like that, too.
Before I start, I should note that what I describe in this post is a fairly formulaic style of essay writing.
In my experience, I’ve found that students appreciate having a clear picture of what’s expected of them when beginning a writing assignment.
Although many students might need more practice in writing an effective argument, many of them are excellent at arguing in person.I would ask students which author they feel did the best job of influencing the reader, and what suggestions they would make to improve the writing.I would also ask them to notice things like stories, facts and statistics, and other things the authors use to develop their ideas.So let’s begin with argumentative writing, or persuasive writing, as many of us used to call it.This overview will be most helpful to those who are new to teaching writing, or teachers who have not gotten good results with the approach you have taken up to now.Unlike the mentor texts we read on day 1, this sample would be something teacher-created (or an excellent student model from a previous year) to fit the parameters of the assignment.Before letting students loose to start working on their essays, I make sure they have a solid plan for writing.Then they take turns explaining why they are standing in that position.This ultimately looks a little bit like a debate, as students from either side tend to defend their position to those on the other side.Since I want the writing to be high quality and the subject matter to be high interest, I might choose pieces like Jessica Lahey’s Students Who Lose Recess Are the Ones Who Need it Most and David Bulley’s School Suspensions Don’t Work.I would have students read these texts, compare them, and find places where the authors used evidence to back up their assertions.