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Everything's An Argument

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Evan Johnson

on 23 October 2013

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Transcript of Everything's An Argument

Everything's An Argument
“Argument” and “Persuasion”
When writing to persuade, writers employ a variety of persuasive strategies. One common strategy is
an appeal to the credibility, character, or authority of the writer (or speaker)
. When writers establish that they are knowledgeable and trustworthy, audiences are more likely to believe what they say. Another is an appeal to
the audience’s self-interest, sense of identity, or emotions
, any of which can sway an audience. A logical argument,
on the other hand
, convinces the audience because of the perceived merit and reasonableness of the claims and proofs offered rather than either the emotions the writing evokes in the audience or the character or credentials of the writer. The Standards place
special emphasis on writing logical arguments
as a particularly important form of college- and career-ready writing. –CCS, Appendix A, p 24
Micro Processor – 5 minutes
Articulate with a neighbor your understanding of the differences between the definitions of argument and persuasion that Common Core stresses
What are the challenges you see in articulating this to your students?

Brainstorming: Substantive Topics and Issues
What are substantive topics and issues?
Ken Stamatis
Harding University
2013

Argument
Arguments are used for many purposes—to change the reader’s point of view, to bring about some action on the reader’s part, or to ask the reader to accept the writer’s explanation or evaluation of a concept, issue, or problem. An argument is a
reasoned, logical way of demonstrating that the writer’s position, belief, or conclusion is valid.
In English language arts, students make claims about the worth or meaning of a literary work or works. They defend their interpretations or judgments with evidence from the text(s) they are writing about. In history/social studies, students analyze evidence from multiple primary and secondary sources to advance a claim that is best supported by the evidence, and they argue for a historically or empirically situated interpretation. In science, students make claims in the form of statements or conclusions that answer questions or address problems. Using data in a scientifically acceptable form, students marshal evidence and draw on their understanding of scientific concepts to argue in support of their claims. Although young children are not able to produce fully developed logical arguments, they develop a variety of methods to extend and elaborate their work by providing examples, offering reasons for their assertions, and explaining cause and effect. These kinds of expository structures are steps on the road to argument. In grades K–5, the term “opinion” is used to refer to this developing form of argument. –CCS, Appendix A, p 23

The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls – Language Arts
Excerpt
“Students make claims about the worth or meaning of a literary work or works. They defend their interpretations or judgments with evidence from the text(s) they are writing about.”

Flesh & Blood So Cheap – Social Studies
P 4-6
“Students analyze evidence from multiple primary and secondary sources to advance a claim that is best supported by the evidence, and they argue for a historically or empirically situated interpretation.”
“Bon Voyage to Bad Boating” - Science
Article
“Students make claims in the form of statements or conclusions that answer questions or address problems. Using data in a scientifically acceptable form, students marshal evidence and draw on their understanding of scientific concepts to argue in support of their claims.”

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…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. – CCS, Appendix A, p 24

Wonder by R.J. Palacio, p 1
Issues from Language Arts
Issues from Social Studies
http://www.wingclips.com/movie-clips/cinderella-man/stealing-sausage

“Eugenics, Past and Future” by Ross Douthat (New York Times)

Issues from Science
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.”



“Wrangling” vs. “Controlled Discussion”
Micro Processor – 5 minutes
In your classroom what tools can be used to illustrate the difference between “wrangling” and “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) –CCS, Appendix A, p 24
Necessary for the Workplace
Teaven
Greer
Billy
My mechanic
Necessary for Higher Education
Specific skills central to writing arguments are also highly valued by postsecondary educators…(They) 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.

–CCS, Appendix A, 25

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. –CCS, Appendix A, p 25

Where do we see persuasion and arguments in our own culture?


 
W.8.1 - Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
Introduce claim(s), acknowledge and distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and organize the reasons and evidence logically.
Support claim(s) with logical reasoning and relevant evidence, using accurate, credible sources and demonstrating an understanding of the topic or text.
Use words, phrases, and clauses to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
Establish and maintain a formal style.
Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.


W.6.1 - Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
Introduce claim(s) and organize the reasons and evidence clearly.
Support claim(s) with clear reasons and relevant evidence, using credible sources and demonstrating an understanding of the topic or text.
Use words, phrases, and clauses to clarify the relationships among claim(s) and reasons.
Establish and maintain a formal style.
Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from the argument presented.



W.3.1 - Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons.
Introduce the topic or text they are writing about, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure that lists reasons.
Provide reasons that support the opinion.
Use linking words and phrases (e.g., because, therefore, since, for example) to connect opinion and reasons.
Provide a concluding statement or section.


W.K.1 - Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose opinion pieces in which they tell a reader the topic or the name of the book they are writing about and state an opinion or preference about the topic or book (e.g., My favorite book is . . .).


 W.11-12.1 - Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
Introduce precise, knowledgeable claim(s), establish the significance of the claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that logically sequences claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly and thoroughly, supplying the most relevant evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both in a manner that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level, concerns, values, and possible biases.
Use words, phrases, and clauses as well as varied syntax to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships between claim(s) and reasons, between reasons and evidence, and between claim(s) and counterclaims.
Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.
Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.


W.9-10.1 - Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
Introduce precise claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that establishes clear relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly, supplying evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both in a manner that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level and concerns.
Use words, phrases, and clauses to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships between claim(s) and reasons, between reasons and evidence, and between claim(s) and counterclaims.
Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.
Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.

W.7.1 - Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
Introduce claim(s), acknowledge alternate or opposing claims, and organize the reasons and evidence logically.
Support claim(s) with logical reasoning and relevant evidence, using accurate, credible sources and demonstrating an understanding of the topic or text.
Use words, phrases, and clauses to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among claim(s), reasons, and evidence.
Establish and maintain a formal style.
Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.

W.5.1 - Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.
Introduce a topic or text clearly, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure in which ideas are logically grouped to support the writer’s purpose.
Provide logically ordered reasons that are supported by facts and details.
Link opinion and reasons using words, phrases, and clauses (e.g., consequently, specifically).
Provide a concluding statement or section related to the opinion presented.


W.4.1 - Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.
Introduce a topic or text clearly, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure in which related ideas are grouped to support the writer’s purpose.
Provide reasons that are supported by facts and details.
Link opinion and reasons using words and phrases (e.g., for instance in order to, in addition).
Provide a concluding statement or section related to the opinion presented.


W.2.1 – Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply reasons that support the opinion, use linking words (e.g., because, and, also) to connect opinion and reasons, and provide a concluding statement or section.


W.1.1 - Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or name the book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply a reason for the opinion, and provide some sense of closure.


Text Types and Purposes*
1. Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.


Vertical Alignment

Student Examples
Annotation
The writer of this piece:
Introduces a claim.
I would not have any smokers in my movies for many reasons.
Organizes the reasons and evidence clearly.
The first reason is it sets a bad example for children.
Another reason not to promote smoking is it ages and wrinkles your skin.
It turns your teeth yellow and may lead to gum disease and tooth decay.
Supports the claim with clear reasons and relevant evidence, demonstrating an understanding of the topic.
Lastly, smoking is a very expensive habit. A heavy smoker spends thousands of dollars a year on cigarettes.
Uses words, phrases, and clauses to clarify the relationship between the claim and reasons.
The first reason . . . Another reason . . . Lastly . . .
Establishes and maintains a formal style (except for the postscript).
Dear Mr. Sandler . . . Thanks for reading my letter. I hope you agree with my opinion . . .
Sincerely . . .
Provides a concluding statement that follows from the argument presented.
Instead of having your characters smoke have them do healthy things. That will set a positive influence for children instead of poisoning their minds.
Demonstrates good command of the conventions of standard written English (with occasional errors that do not interfere materially with the underlying message).
(CCS, Appendix C, p 36-37)

Dear Mr. Sandler,

Did you know that every cigarette a person smokes takes seven minutes off their life? I mentioned this because I just watched the movie, Benchwarmers, and I noticed that Carlos smoked. Why did you feel the need to have one of the characters smoke? Did you think that would make him look cool? Did you think that would make him look older? It did neither of those things. As a matter of fact, I think it made him look stupid and not very cool. Especially when he put out a cigarette on his tongue.
If I were producing a movie, I would want my characters to be strong, healthy and smart. I would not have any smokers in my movies for many reasons. The first reason is it sets a bad example for children. An estimated 450,000 Americans die each year from tobacco related disease. In fact, tobacco use causes many different types of cancers such as lung, throat, mouth, and tongue. Another reason not to promote smoking is it ages and wrinkles your skin. Who wants to look 75 if you are only 60? It turns your teeth yellow and may lead to gum disease and tooth decay. Lastly, smoking is a very expensive habit. A heavy smoker spends thousands of dollars a year on cigarettes. I can think of better things to spend money on.
So Mr. Sandler, I urge you to take smoking out of all future movies you produce. Instead of having your characters smoke have them do healthy things. That will set a positive influence for children instead of poisoning their minds. Thanks for reading my letter. I hope you agree with my opinion.

Sincerely, __________

P.S. I love your Chanukah song. (CCS, Appendix C, p 36)


This argument was written as homework after a class in which grade 6 students viewed a movie titled Benchwarmers and discussed how movie writers and producers promote smoking. The letter is addressed to the producer of a film in which smoking appears.
-CCS, Appendix C, p 36


Student Sample: Argument, Grade 6
Provides a concluding statement that follows from and supports the argument presented.
I agree with Shell and I believe that it is more beneficial for children to make believe, be spontaneous, and discover as much as they can about the world for themselves.
Demonstrates good command of the conventions of standard written English (with occasional errors that do not interfere materially with the underlying message).

(CCS, Appendix C, p. 78-79)


Develops the claim in a manner that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level, concerns, values, and possible biases.
. . . making new friends can be an awkward and terrifying process for kids, so parents will try to make friends for their children. What most adults don’t realize is that they are robbing their child of a chance to open up and reach out to another person.
Uses words, phrases, and clauses as well as varied syntax to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships between claim and reasons, between reasons and evidence, and between claim and counterclaims.
As a child . . . As we grow up . . . For example . . .
To relieve the inevitable boredom that every child eventually encounters, they can nourish their creative minds by playing alone. As a child, I was content to sometimes play by myself in a land of make-believe. . . . “Boredom leads to exploration, which leads to creativity,” and nothing is more creative than a world that exists in the mind of a child.
There are endless opportunities for parents to stimulate and teach their kids that come with instructions and rules and boundaries, but I agree with Shell when she declares that “the best play is spontaneous and unpredictable.”

Develops the claim and counterclaims fairly and thoroughly, supplying the most relevant evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both.
Allowing a child to interact with their surroundings . . . leaves each decision, and each consequence of that decision, up to them.
Ellen Ruppel Shell believes that children miss out on experimenting and discovering aspects of the world that cannot be taught in a classroom or read about in a book.
. . . they can nourish their creative minds by playing alone.
There are many life lessons that can be difficult to learn on your own, so adults establish controlled environments for their children to learn about the world.
When forced to follow rules and obey boundaries, kids are not given the opportunity to use their imagination.

Freedom from Structure (Part 2)

There are endless opportunities for parents to stimulate and teach their kids that come with instructions and rules and boundaries, but I agree with Shell when she declares that “the best play is spontaneous
and unpredictable.” Plain and simple freedom is invaluable, and we are only so free as children. As we grow up, our minds become molded around society’s rules and we learn to conform to a certain way of
thinking and creating. If adults see a soccer ball, they will only think of how to play soccer. If children see a soccer ball they will immediately create their own rules and proceed with an entirely different game.
The ability to be spontaneous and imaginative is strongest in children because they know nothing else. Adults and parents that bombard their kids with structured activities are wasting the unique and innate
ability of children to create; however, a parent’s reasoning for such structure is not unsupported.

Freedom From Structure (Part 1)

Children are blank slates that are subject to the environment around them. Allowing a child to interact with their surroundings is difficult for adults because it leaves each decision, and each consequence of that decision, up to them. Ellen Ruppel Shell believes that children miss out on experimenting and discovering aspects of the world that cannot be taught in a classroom or read about in a book. I agree that children can learn many important lessons about social interaction and the products of creativity by playing on their own, or with other children, in a free and open environment.

To relieve the inevitable boredom that every child eventually encounters, they can nourish their creative minds by playing alone. As a child, I was content to sometimes play by myself in a land of make-believe. If it was cold and rainy outside, I would pretend it was the middle of summer. Night became day, my bedroom became a kingdom, my bed was a castle, my floor was a mote, and I was a princess. Playing “let’s pretend” allowed me to imagine and create my own world when reality seemed too mundane. “Boredom leads to exploration, which leads to creativity,” and nothing is more creative than a world that exists in the mind of a child.

Freedom from Structure (Part 3)

There are many life lessons that can be difficult to learn on your own, so adults establish controlled environments for their children to learn about the world. For example, making new friends can be an awkward and terrifying process for kids, so parents will try to make friends for their children. What most adults don’t realize is that they are robbing their child of a chance to open up and reach out to another person. The kid they meet on the jungle gym will be more beneficial to them than the kid their parent forced them to play with. “We don’t believe that they can navigate the world, so we try to navigate it for them.” Shell believes that adults need to trust their kids to discover the world for themselves and that it’s just as important for them to fail as it is for them to succeed.
For children, it’s not about the final product, it’s how they get there.

When forced to follow rules and obey boundaries, kids are not given the opportunity to use their imagination. I agree with Shell and I believe that it is more beneficial for children to make believe, be spontaneous, and discover as much as they can about the world for themselves.
(CCS, Appendix C, p. 78)

This essay was produced in a two-hour-long college placement exam. Students first read a passage of approximately a thousand words titled “In Praise of Boredom.” The passage was adapted from an essay published by Ellen Ruppel Shell in 2000. Students were then asked to respond to Shell’s views, drawing on anything else they had previously read, their observations, and/or their experiences.
– CCS, Appendix C, p. 78

Student Sample: Argument, Grade 12

Annotation

The writer of this piece
Introduces a precise, knowledgeable claim.
I agree that children can learn many important lessons about social interaction and the products of creativity by playing on their own, or with other children, in a free and open environment.
Establishes the significance of the claim, distinguishing the claim from alternate or opposing claims.
Allowing a child to interact with their surroundings is difficult for adults because it leaves each decision, and each consequence of that decision, up to them.
Creates an organization that logically sequences claim, counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
I agree that children . . . they can nourish their creative minds by playing alone. . . . As a child, I was . . . but I agree with Shell when she declares . . . As we grow up . . . There are many life lessons that can be difficult to learn on your own . . . What most adults don’t realize . . . For children, it’s not about the final product . . . I agree with Shell and I believe . . .
7. Debates over ___ have long obscured the far more important issue of _____. [DISPLACE THE DEBATE]

8. Although fierce debates have raged over _____, the opponents all share a commitment to ____that they may not recognize.
[OPPOSITES CONVERGE]

9. Until now I’ve been suggesting that ____. But it’s actually more complicated, because _________________.
[IT’S MORE COMPLEX]

10. Of course it might be objected that _____. And I concede that ___________, yet I would still maintain that _____.
[NAYSAYER]

11. We all agree nowadays that___________________. Where the agreement ends, however, is on_________
[WHERE CONTROVERSY BEGINS]
-”Demystifying Academic Writing” by Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein

Essay by Gloria Anzaldua

Literature – “How to Tame a Wild Tongue”

Science – “Fork Over Knives”

Social Studies – “Trail of Tears”

Writing with the Templates
In recent discussions of___________, a controversial issue
has been whether ____________. On the one hand, some argue
that____________.


From this perspective,____________________.
On the other hand, however, others argue that_______. In the
words of one of this view’s main proponents, “_______________.”
According to this view,_________. In sum, then, the issue is
whether____________or_____________________.


My own view is that______________________.
Though I concede that_____________, I still maintain that_______.
For example,____________. Though some might object that___________, I reply that______________. The issue is
important because__________________________.

-”Demystifying Academic Writing” by Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein

Templates for supporting students in writing argument

How do we create a culture of argument that produces rigorous argumentative writing?

What are the key points that you are taking back to the classroom with you?
What do you still need clarification on?
What is your plan for implementation?
What do you plan on taking back and sharing with colleagues about argumentative writing?

Group Processing
FURTHER “THEY SAY/I SAY” TEMPLATES
1. Although it is often said________, I argue ____________________. [DISAGREE]

2. X argues __________________, and I agree because _______________. [AGREE W/A DIFFERENCE]

3. On the surface, this text suggests _________. But a closer analysis shows _____.
[LITERARY INTERPRETATION]

4. I used to think_____. Having read___, however, I now see___________.
[I WAS LOST BUT NOW I’M FOUND]

5. X argues ____, and I have mixed feelings about it.
On the one hand, ____. On the other hand,_____________.
[I’M OF TWO MINDS]
[CONTRADICTION SPOTTER]
-”Demystifying Academic Writing” by Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein


Micro Processor - 5 Minutes
Articulate with a neighbor the differences between argument in ELA, science, and social studies
How will you articulate these differences to your students?


Micro Processor - 5 Minutes
How will you implement the “proper context for thinking about argument” in your classroom?
What will that look like?
What cultural factors make this difficult?


“Argument” and “Persuasion”
When writing to persuade, writers employ a variety of persuasive strategies. One common strategy is an appeal to the credibility, character, or authority of the writer (or speaker). When writers establish that they are knowledgeable and trustworthy, audiences are more likely to believe what they say. Another is an appeal to the audience’s self-interest, sense of identity, or emotions, any of which can sway an audience. A logical argument, on the other hand, convinces the audience because of the
perceived merit and reasonableness of the claims and proofs offered rather than either the emotions the writing evokes in the audience or the character or credentials of the writer.
The Standards place special emphasis on writing logical arguments as a particularly important form of college- and career-ready writing. –CCS, Appendix A, p 24
Full transcript