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As you can see from your perusal of the ERWC modules, they provide students the opportunity to engage in writing designed with a genuine purpose. Talk in table groups about how this is different from the type of writing included in your adopted programs and/or current practice.
Scaffolding is essential in writing instruction; formulaic writing can serve a purpose. The key is to gradually remove the scaffolds and to teach when it is appropriate to use formulas.
Teacher asked student to write at least a page and a half for a journal. This was how the student filled the last half page.
Both the ERWC and the CCSS place argument at the center of college and career readiness. Many of the habits of mind, intellectual practices, and abilities referred to in Academic Literacy are developed through the careful study of and engagement in academic argument. It will be important for participants to be prepared to help their students understand the difference between an academic argument and the arguments they generally engage in between and amongst themselves and their families. The following set of slides is designed to prepare them for those conversations. Because it is critical that all presenters understand and communicate the special role of argument in Common Core expectations, the following excerpt from Appendix A of the Common Core Standards, pages 24 and 25 is provided. Emphasis added. The Special Place of Argument in the Standards While all three text types are important, the Standards put particular emphasis on students’ ability to write sound arguments on substantive topics and issues, as this ability is critical to college and career readiness. English and education professor Gerald Graff (2003) writes that “argument literacy” is fundamental to being educated. The university is largely an “argument culture,” Graff contends; therefore, K–12 schools should “teach the conflicts” so that students are adept at understanding and engaging in argument (both oral and written) when they enter college. He claims that because argument is not standard in most school curricula, only 20 percent of those who enter college are prepared in this respect. Theorist and critic Neil Postman (1997) calls argument the soul of an education because argument forces a writer to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of multiple perspectives. When teachers ask students to consider two or more perspectives on a topic or issue, something far beyond surface knowledge is required: students must think critically and deeply, assess the validity of their own thinking, and anticipate counterclaims in opposition to their own assertions. The unique importance of argument in college and careers is asserted eloquently by Joseph M. Williams and Lawrence McEnerney (n.d.) of the University of Chicago Writing Program. As part of their attempt to explain to new college students the major differences between good high school and college writing, Williams and McEnerney define argument not as “wrangling” but as “a serious and focused conversation among people who are intensely interested in getting to the bottom of things cooperatively”: Those values are also an integral part of your education in college. For four years, you are asked to read, do research, gather data, analyze it, think about it, and then communicate it to readers in a form . . . which enables them to assess it and use it. You are asked to do this not because we expect you all to become professional scholars, but because in just about any profession you pursue, you will do research, think about what you find, make decisions about complex matters, and then explain those decisions—usually in writing—to others who have a stake in your decisions being sound ones. In an Age of Information, what most professionals do is research, think, and make arguments. (And part of the value of doing your own thinking and writing is that it makes you much better at evaluating the thinking and writing of others.) (ch. 1) In the process of describing the special value of argument in college- and career-ready writing, Williams and McEnerney also establish argument’s close links to research in particular and to knowledge building in general, both of which are also heavily emphasized in the Standards. Much evidence supports the value of argument generally and its particular importance to college and career readiness. A 2009 ACT national curriculum survey of postsecondary instructors of composition, freshman English, and survey of American literature courses (ACT, Inc., 2009) found that “write to argue or persuade readers” was virtually tied with “write to convey information” as the most important type of writing needed by incoming college students. Other curriculum surveys, including those conducted by the College Board (Milewski, Johnson, Glazer, & Kubota, 2005) and the states of Virginia and Florida, also found strong support for writing arguments as a key part of instruction. The 2007 writing framework for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) (National Assessment Governing Board, 2006) assigns persuasive writing the single largest targeted allotment of assessment time at grade 12 (40 percent, versus 25 percent for narrative writing and 35 percent for informative writing). (The 2011 prepublication framework [National Assessment Governing Board, 2007] maintains the 40 percent figure for persuasive writing at grade 12, allotting 40 percent to writing to explain and 20 percent to writing to convey experience.) Writing arguments or writing to persuade is also an important element in standards frameworks for numerous high-performing nations. Specific skills central to writing arguments are also highly valued by postsecondary educators. A 2002 survey of instructors of freshman composition and other introductory courses across the curriculum at California’s community colleges, California State University campuses, and University of California campuses (Intersegmental Committee of the Academic Senates of the California Community Colleges, the California State University, and the University of California, 2002) found that among the most important skills expected of incoming students were articulating a clear thesis; identifying, evaluating, and using evidence to support or challenge the thesis; and considering and incorporating counterarguments into their writing. On the 2009 ACT national curriculum survey (ACT, Inc., 2009), postsecondary faculty gave high ratings to such argument-related skills as “develop ideas by using some specific reasons, details, and examples,” “take and maintain a position on an issue,” and “support claims with multiple and appropriate sources of evidence.” The value of effective argument extends well beyond the classroom or workplace, however. As Richard Fulkerson (1996) puts it in Teaching the Argument in Writing, the proper context for thinking about argument is one “in which the goal is not victory but a good decision, one in which all arguers are at risk of needing to alter their views, one in which a participant takes seriously and fairly the views different from his or her own” (pp. 16–17). Such capacities are broadly important for the literate, educated person living in the diverse, information-rich environment of the twenty-first century.
Now that we’ve seen a module up close and thought about the development of academic literacy, it is logical to ask why argument plays such a central role in the ERW modules. This section is designed to help teachers understand the importance of argument as not only a college and career readiness issue, but also as an essential life skill for any citizen of a democracy. Return to academic literacy. Define academic argument
We are not intending to look backward, but acknowledge that many districts and school sites are holding fast to the 1997 standards until the transition to new assessments for accountability. This slide should be deleted if you are working with systems that are embracing the transition to common core. It may also be helpful to note that this is not a new expectation. Argument has always played a central role in our standards. Unfortunately, it was not well supported in our curriculum and thus many teachers do not have much of a background.
We see the language of argument peppered throughout the CCSS. Appendix A (see previous slide) provides a great deal of background why the writers of the common core place so much value here.
Have participants read over the slide. These skills aren’t any less important for our students who are going straight to work. If anything, they are more critical as those students do not have the additional time of college study to refine these skills. They must be prepared to apply them them on the job immediately.
To “change a reader’s understanding of a topic” requires the skills of argument. Rhetoric is another concept that teachers may have little experience with. The term will be defined on another slide, but it is important for teachers to understand the concept of rhetoric in context of what we need students to accomplish. It is not simply a philosophy to study in isolation, but a concept that underlies all of the work of the Expository Reading and Writing modules.
These concepts will be defined in the following slides.
The idea of text as something beyond words on a page is not a difficult one, but may be one that teachers have not considered before. Smarter Balanced is taking a similar view when interpreting the idea of text for the purposes of assessment. Students will be asked to view video, photographs, cartoons, or listen to audio to gather evidence to support their claims and assertions. Most of the ERW modules focus on written text, but teachers should not feel so constrained when developing their own materials (in collaboration with colleagues) for use in their classrooms.
As we roll out common core, teachers can expect students arriving in their classrooms with little experience with the rhetorical definition of argument as “a course of reasoning.” Even with common core, the standards focus on “opinion” in grades K-5, only transitioning to actual argument in grade six.
Students will need guidance in developing their understanding of this concept and harnessing their intellectual skills to craft effective courses of reasoning that are grounded in actual evidence from credible sources, rather than reasoning focused on opinion with which they’ve had the most experience. The last two bullets are particularly sophisticated ideas, and depend on students developing some understanding and awareness of the historical, social, and political contexts around them.
Developing a healthy skepticism in students can be a tricky business. Many of our students tend to accept, without question, the authority of the written word. When reading rhetorically, students must examine all aspects of the issue under consideration, and consider the authority and truthfulness of the author as open to question (within reason). This means that they have a great deal of work to do—a concept not always warmly welcomed by students. That is why it is so very important that the issues we bring to students for consideration be worthy of their hard work and have a payoff in terms of a greater understanding of the world around them.
This works within the modules on multiple levels. Students analyze at the word, sentence, paragraph and whole text levels. This is slow and methodical work. Teachers (and their students) are not used to investing this kind of time in a single text or group of texts. It is going to require the development of stamina for all involved to do this type of analysis.
Audience and purpose are terms that play a central role in any argument. Few of us create arguments as an intellectual exercise. We have a real world audience and what is usually an urgent purpose—whether that be our own kids at home (“you need to pick up your shoes or someone is going to fall and break their necks!”) or our administrator (“I can’t serve on one more committee—you’ve got be on six different committees already!”) Unfortunately, most of the writing or speaking assignments we have given our students in the past have only pretend audiences (“Imagine you are writing a letter to your favorite sports hero or movie star”) or audiences that are obscure or unstated (“write an autobiographical essay about an event that changed you in a significant way or helped you to see the world differently”), and purposes that may be completely mysterious to them. These “school” assignments have little relation to the kinds of writing that happens outside of school.
When writing an argument, the purpose is generally clear: a writer is trying to convince a reader that his/her position on a topic is valid and reasonable, backed up by convincing evidence, and worthy of consideration by the reader. The reader may choose not to agree with the writing, but if a writer has fulfilled their purpose, the reader must acknowledge their position.
Most students don’t give much thought to the type of language they use when writing. When we bring it to their attention, it can change the way they see their writing and help move them beyond the types of formulaic work that they’ve done in the past. When we give students dictums such as “all paragraphs have five sentences” or “all essays have five paragraphs,” we lesson their opportunity to use language effectively. Examining the language choices of professional writers can help to open their eyes to the possibilities. A one sentence paragraph has great power when wedged between two longer ones. Fragments be appropriate in particular contexts. It is a students’ mastery of language that makes this possible, and the power that rests in such mastery gives students a reason to strive to attain it.
It can be helpful to provide examples of each of these types of appeals or have participants brainstorm examples from popular media. Many pharmaceutical ads contain white-coated actors masquerading as doctors in order to lend ethos to their product. Many low fat or low calorie foods show smiling, skinny women joyously consuming their yogurt or cereal product as a way of appealing to a viewers emotions (pathos). Car advertisements may provide safety ratings or talk about what awards they’ve won in order to convince you that anyone who is reasonable and logical will buy their particular brand of automobile (logos). Many of our students may instinctively recognize these appeals, but don’t have the language to talk about them. Nor do they often consider the impacts of these appeals on their beliefs of decision making.
at is claim? (zombies make cool parents) Evidence? The reasons. Warrant? (what we know of zombies) Are there any counter-arguments?
the Literacy Design Collaborative (through a grant provided by the Gates Foundation)
It is important to communicate that these are not habits and practices we expect their students to have now. They take time and lots of practice and feedback to develop. Many of their most struggling students come from homes where these practices are not necessarily supported. Even those who do may not have a mindset that values persistence and stamina. (See the work of Carol Dweck for more on mindset.)
Ask participants to have a table conversation about how these two ideas are major components of critical reading and thinking. Have them share out pertinent comments. Some background from Reading Rhetorically: “Whereas the previous chapter focused on listening to a text with the grain in order to understand it as fully as possible, in this chapter we focus on questioning a text, which involves reading it analytically and skeptically, against the grain. If you think of listening to a text as the author’s turn in a conversation, then you might think of questioning the text as your opportunity to respond to the text by interrogating it, raising points of agreement and disagreement, thinking critically about its argument and methods, and then talking back.” --Reading Rhetorically, pg 69
Have participants go answer these questions and discuss how they would introduce their students to the assignment. This will be the first time many of their students will be asked to write in this fashion. They will need overt instruction on how to bring forward much of the information they have developed and use it in their writing. This is where a careful review of the assignment and the expectations will pay great dividends. The assignment is written as an on-demand essay, yet there are activities for pre-writing and revision. One way to approach this is to spend a class period or two reading the assignment, gathering evidence and preparing to write. The give the assignment as an on-demand writing, and hold them accountable for what they can produce in a single sitting. Students need to develop their ability to write in this fashion, as our new Smarter Balanced assessements will expect on demand writing from every student every year.
Provide participants time for this discussion in table groups. In Social Networking, students must write an argument and craft a response.
There is a key difference between editing and revising. Revision changes are substantive and change the meaning of the writing. Teachers may blend these two distinct processes. Have participants read through this section, and talk about why revising their writing is a good investment of their time. Remember common core encourages us to slow down and do more with less. It’s not about the number of stories and articles our students can read, but about what skills they can develop.
It is only after students have developed their ideas to the extent possible that we move toward polishing the piece for publication. This is a student-centered activity. It is not up to us to edit the work for students—only, as it says in bullet #4 above, help them see the most serious and frequent error they are making at this time.
Have participants engage in a table conversation about this activity and the modules in general. You could have tables generate examples and chart them at the front of the room. This will help participants understand all the various skills and abilities that the modules encourage. What will teachers do differently based on this conversation? Share.
Here are some examples from Achieve the Core that compare text dependent to non text dependent questions. Teachers should be familiar with these non text dependent questions. We often would see them in post reading activities in our instructional materials.
Activity 1 grounds the students in the topic at hand and helps them make explicit connections between what will be a research-driven article and their own experiences. The process of creating statistics from the survey results emphasizes the tension between actively engaging with the text while still maintaining a critical distance.
Provide some quiet, independent reading time. Then refer participants back to the handouts on text complexity and creating text dependent questions. Have them work together in table groups to identify the reader and task and issues of complexity. Have them chart their findings, with examples, on chart paper, and post them around the room. Allow participants time to do a quick gallery walk and compare.
Walk teachers through marking of the module. Each cell must be thoroughly discussed. Shared ways to teach the content discussed in groups.
Post chart paper around the room-- each labeled with elements of the Assignment Template (reading rhetorically, writing rhetorically, connecting reading to writing). Assign each table group one of the sections. Have them read through the questions to consider on the Assignment Template in Appendix A. What is important to think about when adapting existing curricular units to the ERWC model? What must be considered during instructional planning? We will revisit this activity on day three to specifically discuss differentiating for students with special needs, advanced learners, and ELs. Participants move from poster to poster in small groups, conversing with colleagues about what is important or noteworthy. At the end of the gallery walk participants return to their table groups and discuss what know about the modules based on their experience and how the modules fit in with what they know about teaching and learning in the common core era.
Emphasize copies with no names only—they shouldn’t bring the work they need to return to students. These should be culminating activities rather than mid-point assignments. Papers should not be marked with grades or feedback, and participants should try to get papers from mid-range students. For purposes of illustration we don’t want work from the high or low ends. If you provide either of the two texts, you may want to add some homework asking them to investigate a section or chapter and come back ready to share what they’ve learned. If you have additional time, give teachers a chance to start the planning process together in grade level teams.
SMWP. day two_ppt_ERWC.Oceanside7-11.lps.2.14.final
Middle School Professional Learning:
Expository Reading and Writing Modules
Overview of our three days together
December 11, 2013
February 11, 2014
February 25, 2014
background of ERWC
Review ERWC outcomes Status check
Alignment of the CCSS
standards and ERWC
What writers need,
effective writing practice
and writing argument
Integration of reading
and writing to support
academic literacy, close
Continued work with
Differentiating ERWC for
ELs, SPED, and
Experience with a
module and the
Adapting the assignment
template to your own
Agenda: February 11, 2014
Debrief of “homework” Laurie & Erika
What writers need, effective writing practice Laurie & Erika
– Supporting the development of habits of mind
Argument in writing Laurie
Academic literacy, close reading, text complexity Erika
– Connections to the Assignment Template
Examination of an 8th grade module: Social Networking Erika
Adapting the assignment template to your own curriculum Erika
Homework: Teach all or part of one of the existing modules
– OR Adapt one of your current unit’s to the Assignment Template
Writing in the Common Core
Writing activities and assignments should be
designed with genuine purposes and
audiences in mind in order to foster flexibility
and rhetorical versatility.
Framework for Success in Postsecondary Writing, co-authored by the Council of Writing Program Administrators,
NCTE and NWP, as quoted in the Content Specifications for the Summative Assessment of the Common Core State
Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy , pp. 45
Writing in the Common Core
Standardized writing curricula or assessment
instruments that emphasize formulaic writing for
non-authentic audiences will not reinforce the
habits of mind and the experiences necessary for
success as students encounter the writing
demands of postsecondary education” [and the
world of work and career].
Framework for Success in Postsecondary Writing, co-authored by the Council of Writing Program
Administrators, NCTE and NWP, as quoted in the Content Specifications for the Summative
Assessment of the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy , pp. 45
Timeline of writing experiences
Create a timeline of your writing experiences in
(and out) of school from when you first
remember writing to now. Put positive
experiences above the line and negative below
Effective Writing Instruction for Grades 6-12
Carnegie report that identified 11 elements of current
writing instruction found to be effective for helping
students in grades 4-12 learn to write well and use
writing as a tool for learning. All eleven elements
are supported by rigorous research but even taken
together do not constitute a writing curriculum.
• Study of models
Collaborative writing •Summarization
Word processing • Process writing approach
Specific Product goals
writing for content learning
What writers need:
• Room Structure:
procedures for solving
Immersion in writing
circulate & conference
Demonstration: Models/Mentor texts
Process centered approach
Expectation of success
A love of words
A significant subject
Safe place to take risks
The art of specificity
Knowledge writers need:
According to Hillocks, all writers
must have five kinds of knowledge
to write effectively:
1.Declarative knowledge of form
2.Declarative knowledge of substance
3.Procedural knowledge of form
4.Procedural knowledge of substance
5.Knowledge of context
How do we create these conditions for
The Special Place of
Argument is, “a serious and
focused conversation among people
who are intensely interested in getting to the
bottom of things cooperatively . . .
-Joseph M. Williams and Lawrence McEnerney as quoted in Appendix A of the CCSS
Neil Postman (1997) called argument
the soul of an education because
argument forces a writer to evaluate
the strengths and weaknesses of
From Appendix A of CCST
“While all three text types are
important, the Standards put particular
emphasis on students’ ability to write
sound arguments on substantive topics and
issues, as this ability is to critical to
college and career readiness. English
and education professor Gerald Graff
(2003) writes that ‘argument literacy’ is
fundamental to being educated. The
university is largely an ‘argument
culture,’ Graff contends; therefore K-12
schools should ‘teach the conflicts’ so
“A 2009 national curriculum survey
of postsecondary instructors of
composition, freshman English and
Survey of American literature
courses (ACT, Inc., 2009) found
that ‘write to argue or persuade
readers’ was virtually tied with
‘to convey information’ as the
most important type of writing
needed by incoming college
because . . .
“argument” is a significant part of the English/ Language Arts
Content Standards, the recently adopted Common Course
Standards (across disciplines) and college readiness.
“argument” is the central aspect of “reading rhetorically”
and each of the modules (grades 7-10) – which have been
designed – expressly – to be standards based AND to
increase AP and college readiness
we and our students are not necessarily familiar with
the language of “argument” used in this context
“argument” is a significant part of the English/ Language
Arts Content Standards
Students read and understand grade-level-appropriate material. They describe
and connect the essential ideas, arguments, and perspectives of the text by
using their knowledge of text structure, organization, and purpose.
Identify and trace the development of an author’s argument, point of view, or
perspective in a text
Assess the adequacy, accuracy, and appropriateness to support claims and
assertions, noting instances of bias and stereotyping
a. State a clear position or perspective in support of an argument or proposal
b. Describe the points in support of the argument and employ well-articulated
Writing Strategies 1.0
Support all statements and claims with anecdotes, descriptions, facts and
statistics, and specific examples
2.4 (Write persuasive compositions)c. Anticipate and address reader concerns
“argument” is a significant part of the cross disciplinary
California Common Core State ELA/Literacy Standards
Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says
explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how the
author distinguishes his or her position from that of others.
Trace and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether
the reasoning and the evidence is relevant and sufficient to support the claims.
Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence . . .
Delineate a speaker’s argument and specific claims, and attitude toward the
subject, evaluating the soundness of reasoning and the relevance and sufficiency of
Plan and present an argument that: supports a claim, acknowledges
counterarguments, organizes evidence logically, uses words and phrases to create
cohesion, and provides a concluding statement that supports the argument
Theories underpinning CCSS
Different kinds of writing work differently.
Writing requires task specific knowledge as
opposed to the position that believes writers
work in essentially the same way regardless of
the kind of writing they are doing.
. Note the sequence and introduction of
complexity in argument in the CCSS. Become
familiar with the way the complexity of
argument builds through the standards. It’s
not enough to know the expectation of your
particular grade level. As teachers we must
be familiar with the anchor standard and how
“argument” is a significant part of college readiness
“Those values [of argument] are also an integral part
of your education in college. For four years, you are
asked to read, do research, gather data, analyze it,
think about it, and then communicate it to readers in a
form . . . which enables them to assess it and use it.
You are asked to do this . . . because in just about any
profession you pursue, you will do research, think
about what you find, make decisions about complex
matters, and then explain those decisions—usually in
writing—to others who have a stake in your decisions
being sound ones.”
~ Joseph M. Williams and Lawrence McEnerney as quoted in Appendix A of the CCSS
“argument” is the central aspect of “reading rhetorically”
“ ‘reading rhetorically’ [is defined] as attending to a
writer’s purposes within a rhetorical situation by
examining both what the author says and how he or
she says it.
“In most cases, a writer’s goal is to change a reader’s
understanding of a topic in some way . . . . and their
efforts to do so involve both direct and indirect
means. . . .”
~ Bean, Chappell, Gilliam, Reading Rhetorically, xii
we and our students are not necessarily familiar with the
language of “argument” used in this context
Rhetoric / Persuasive Strategies
The Two Components of Critical Reading and Thinking
The Language of
"By reading . . . we mean something more than
simply lifting information out of books and articles. To
read a text or event is to do something to it, to make
sense out of its signals and clues . . . . Reading is thus not
something we do to books alone. Or, to put it another
way, books and other printed surfaces are not the only
texts we read. Rather, a ‘text’ is anything that can be
interpreted, that we can make meaning out of or assign
value to. In this sense, all culture is a text and all culture
can be read."
~ Joseph Harris and Jay Rosen, eds, The Media Journa l
The Language of
ar • gu • ment
a. A discussion in which disagreement is expressed; a debate.
b. A quarrel; a dispute.
c. A course of reasoning aimed at demonstrating truth or
Latin root – arguere – to make clear
Our Simple, Straightforward, and User-Friendly Definition
A claim an author makes
about how things are and/or ought to be.
The Language of
explicit (clearly stated) or implicit/implied
supported by reasons and evidence
rooted in an author’s philosophical beliefs/assumptions
placed in particular contexts – historical, social, political,
religious, etc – and therefore respond to, are informed by,
and shape what’s happening around them
Some argue that all writing is an argument!
The Language of
For students to engage in this way, they must accept
certain beliefs about the nature of knowledge: that
knowledge is created; that they themselves are
capable of creating knowledge; that authors present
knowledge in the form of claims rather than truths;
that the knowledge claims of one author often
conflict with those of another; and that they can test
knowledge claims and decide which are worthy of
acceptance because they’re backed by good reasons.
~ Carolyn Boiarsky, Academic Literacy in the Classroom: Helping Underprepared and
Working Class Students Success in College
The Language of
an • a • lyze
to examine methodically by separating into parts
and studying their interrelations.
The Language of
1. the group of spectators at a public event; listeners or viewers
collectively, as in attendance at a theater or concert: The
audience was respectful of the speaker's opinion.
2. the persons reached by a book, radio or television broadcast,
etc.; public: Some works of music have a wide and varied
The Language of
1. the reason for which something exists or is done, made,
2. an intended or desired result; end; aim; goal.
The Language of
rhet o ric
o the art or study of persuasion
o the art or study of using language effectively and
The Language of
the use of
appeals to the
project his or
her character as
appeals to the
Argument and persuasion
With its roots in orality, rhetoric has a bias for viewing
audiences as particular. Aristotle said, ‘The
persuasive is persuasive to someone.’ In contrast to
rhetoric, writing has a bias for an abstract audience or
generalized conception of audience. . . . For this
reason, a particular audience can be persuaded,
whereas the universal audience must be convinced;
particular audiences can be approached by way of
values, whereas the universal audience (which
transcends partisan values) must be approached with
facts, truths, and presumptions.” ~Miller & Charney 37
What is a good leader?
1. Pass out copies of “The Voluptuary”
and ask students what they think of the
2. Ask students what a voluptuary is
and why this man might be labeled one.
3. Ask, “What makes a good king?” and
encourage them to justify their
responses. Record their thinking. At
the end of the discussion, you have a
list of criteria for your question. 41
What makes a good king?
4. Work with the class to apply one of their criteria to the
prince pictured in “The Voluptuary”. Record:
Prince is not
Book on the floor
called “Debts of
Anyone with gambling
debts is probably not a
good manager of money
because spending money
gambling results in debt.
It is common knowledge
you lose money
5.Put students in groups of 3-4
and ask them to work with the
remaining criteria established
by the class.
6.Students write an argument of
What is courage?
Developing and supporting
criteria for arguments of
Slip or trip?
Puzzles from Crime and
Puzzlement : Solve them
yourself picture mysteries
Solving mysteries to teach
Resources for teaching argument
See student samples in
Appendix C of CCSS. They have
samples for every grade. Go
Download ELA Appendix C
In 2009, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor founded iCivics
to reverse Americans’ declining civic knowledge and
participation. iCivics prepares young Americans to
become knowledgeable, engaged 21st century citizens
by creating free and innovative educational materials.
In this language arts unit, students learn how to “argue
on paper” using a fictional case about a school dress
code rule against band t-shirts. The lessons take them
through the process of writing two persuasive essays:
one supporting the rule and one opposing it.
ASCD worked with the Literacy Design Collaborative
to develop these resources. These modules, written
by educators working through LDC, are designed to
support core content teachers in implementing the
Common Core State Standards. A standard format
provides clarity and support for teachers as well as
the flexibility for them to be creative. Each module
focuses on a specific teaching task and includes the
skills students need to be successful, a set of minitasks to guide instruction, and a scoring guide/rubric
to help assess student performance.
Sample argumentation modules can be found at:
http://educore.ascd.org/channels/c8920746-9ae8-49bf(These are for grades 6-12)
Sample informational modules can be found at:
Hillocks, G. (2011) Teaching argument writing grades
Lapp & Fisher, Persuasion = Stating and arguing
claims well. English Journal. April 2012
Smith, M., J. Wilhelm & J. Redricksen. (2012) Oh
Yeah?! Putting argument to work both in school and
Academic literacy—developing habits of mind
Text complexity, close reading, text-dependent questioning are part
of academic literacy. Academic literacy is really about habits of mind.
Read through the three handouts (habits of mind, students who are
college and career ready, classroom discussion strategies).
Annotate to note the big ideas, interesting concepts, and important
Make notes about what habits do your students already exhibit
and what habits they are working toward.
Put the big ideas onto sticky notes (one idea per note).
Create a concept map to represent your thinking about the concepts.
The Language of Argument:
Critical Reading and Thinking
an a lyze: to examine
methodically by separating into
parts and studying their
e val u ate: to examine
carefully for the purpose of
rough synonyms: listen, observe,
understand, break down, deconstruct
rough synonyms: judge, conclude, decide
facilitated by “listening to the text,”
“trying to understand it on its own terms
. . . trying to consider the ideas fairly and
accurately before rushing to judgment”
facilitated by “questioning the text” and
“carefully interrogating a text’s claims and
evidence and its subtle forms of
persuasion” in order to “make sound
judgments and offer thoughtful
responses” (Bean et all, Reading
(Bean et all, Reading Rhetorically 52).
The Two Major Components of Critical Reading and Thinking
of the module, and
in table groups.
Review the writing prompt from Social Networking.
Discuss the following:
What appears to be the key learning objective of
What is the expected product?
How does this kind of writing task prepare
students to meet Common Core standards?
Report to the group.
How will you
Why is this
work a good
can you help
see these as
of their education”
How does this
In “Casey at the Bat,” Casey
strikes out. Describe a time when
you failed at something.
In “Letter from a Birmingham
Jail,” Dr. King discusses nonviolent
protest. Discuss, in writing, a time
when you wanted to fight against
something that you felt was unfair.
In “The Gettysburg Address”
Lincoln says the nation is dedicated
to the proposition that all men are
created equal. Why is equality an
important value to promote?
What makes Casey’s experiences at
bat humorous? Give some
examples of the humor from text.
What can you infer from King’s
letter about the letter that he
received? Explain to whom he was
addressing in this letter and give
examples of how you know this.
What year was “The Gettysburg
Address,” and according to
Lincoln’s speech, why is this year
significant to the events described
in the speech?
8th Grade Module: Social Networking
Read pages 1 & 2 from the module. Annotate the text
through your teacher lens.
– What is important to know about this module?
– How do the module objectives connect to academic
literacy and habits of mind?
Do activity 1: Getting Ready to Read
Social Networking—Reading the text
Read the text: Teenage Social Media Butterflies May
Not Be Such a Bad Idea.
Prepare to discuss what makes it complex using both
qualitative and quantitative criteria (day 1).
Identify the reader and task considerations that might
be posed for YOUR students.
When you look at a module like Social Networking, with
what aspects of it would your students be ready to
engage and where would they require more support?
What moves will you make to
– construct opportunities for students to do the hard
work of analyzing the text?
– support students who are unprepared for this work?
– assess students along the way
What do you need to do to prepare for instruction of this
module? Mark the module with your instructional notes.