MS Argument Writing2 - Transition to Common Core

Argument Writing
“Argument literacy is fundamental to
being educated… Because argument
is not standard in most school
curricula, only 20% of those who
enter college are prepared in this
Gerald Graff, 2003
(Common Core, Appendix A)
What is an argument?
An argument is a “claim” that
must be supported by evidence.
Attempts to convince the reader to
accept a thesis as truth.
Attempts to convince the reader to
accept a claim as truth.
Appeals to the credibility, character,
or authority of the writer (ethos).
Focuses on evidence (logos).
Is often grounded more in feelings
(pathos) than in facts.
Is grounded more in facts, data, and
Is often associated with speeches
and frequently requires listeners/
readers to take some sort of action
to remediate an issue.
Requires critical reading of the text(s);
may include evidence from other
Addresses counterclaims fairly in
order to present a complete argument
An Effective Claim
• Takes a clear position
• Is debatable – people could reasonably have
different opinions on the issue
• Is narrow enough to be supported effectively
within the scope of the assignment
Teaching How to Focus a Claim
• A claim is a statement with which others may
agree or disagree. It is not an opinion.
• Non-claim
Margot is the sympathetic figure in the story “All
Summer in a Day.”
• Claim Revision
Margot misses the anticipated hour of sun
because of her classmates’ actions, but she has
really brought this punishment on herself.
Types of Claims
• Claims of cause and effect
• Argues that one person, thing, or event caused
something else to occur
• Claims of definition or fact
• Argues what a definition is or if something
accepted as a “fact” is really so
• Claims about values
• Argues the worth of something and whether we
value it or not.
• Claims about solutions or policies
• Argues for or against specific approaches to
Why Address Counterclaims?
Acknowledging counterclaims —
• Enhances the writer’s credibility and thoroughness
• Recognizes that the reader may have a different point
of view.
“Conceding that the opposing point is valid and then
building upon it to further one’s own claim allows a writer
to make the audience feel appreciated without giving up
her or his own position.”
Organizational Structure
• Present the claim – a debatable statement
• Present evidence to support the claim
o Cite credible sources
o Make a connection between the evidence and the
• Present counterclaim(s)
o Cite credible sources
o Make a connection between the evidence and the
• Concluding statement or section that follows from
and supports the argument presented
Links to Support Argument Writing
• Common Core English Language Arts Standards
• Appendix A: Research supporting key elements of the
• Appendix B: Text exemplars and sample performance tasks
• Appendix C: Samples of student writing
• Application to ELL and students with disabilities
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