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Beyond Argument's Sake: Teaching Students How to Deconstruct

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Lori Kixmiller

on 10 December 2013

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Transcript of Beyond Argument's Sake: Teaching Students How to Deconstruct

Beyond Argument's Sake:
Teaching Students How to Deconstruct, Construct, and Deliver Academic Arguments

To understand the subtle difference between persuasion and argumentation
To demonstrate teacher-tested techniques to use when tackling arguments with your students... TOMORROW
To engage in partner, small, and whole group discussions throughout the session
To leave this session feeling like your time was well spent
Shaping a Position: Coaching students to Write an Argument using Graphic Organizers and Common Structures
Persuasion=To change thinking or behavior
Uses whatever techniques necessary to convince: pathos, bandwagon, snob appeal
Examples: Advertising, pleading to parents
Persuasion vs. Argumentation
Extra, Extra: Analyzing Claim, Evidence, and Counterargument
One of the most important things we can teach students to do is critically "read" different forms of media.
They Say, I Say,
by Graff and Berkenstein, they write...
"What makes writers masters of their trade is not only their ability to express interesting thoughts, but their mastery of an inventory of basic moves that they probably picked up by reading a wide range of other accomplished writers. Less experienced writers, by contrast, are often unfamiliar with these basic moves, and unsure how to make them in their own writing" (Graff and Berkenstein 1).
"At its very beginning is the examination of data, not the invention of a thesis statement in a vacuum" (Hillocks xxii).
It’s up for Debate: Engaging Techniques to Address the CC Speaking Standards
It's about more than just Lincoln-Douglas debate.
Students need to have multiple exposures to speaking in front of their classmates.
Games to inspire argument and debate
for the secondary classroom
Would You Rather?
The Argument Game
Triple Speak
Impromptu Speeches
Tag Team Debates

Note of Reality: With middle school students, addressing the counterargument requires some budding maturity to exist within.
"Don't raise your volume, improve your argument."
-Desmond Tutu
A reason for the dice I have collected in my desk drawer.
You know the board games and the conversation starters...simple choices made about unusual considerations gets them talking...Let's play!
"How do I know what I think until I see what I say?"
-E.M. Forster
How does media affect the way I act?
Examine both sides of an issue...
Speaking and Listening
Standards for the Common Core

Ask students to respond through informal writing.
Close Reading
: Examine articles with 2 opposing arguments
Author's Claim and Supporting Evidence
the Evidence Presented on
Philosophical Chairs
Get your students talking and
the evidence presented.
As a teacher, since I can't really crawl inside a student's brain to check for comprehension, I need to be able to see his/her thoughts on paper.
Here's the Common Core on writing argument...
CCSS: W.8.1-Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
But there's actually more to it...
W.8.1a Introduce claim(s), acknowledge and distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and organize the reasons and evidence logically.
W.8.1b Support claim(s) with logical reasoning and relevant evidence, using accurate, credible sources and demonstrating an understanding of the topic or text.
W.8.1c Use words, phrases, and clauses to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
W.8.1d Establish and maintain a formal style.
W.8.1e Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.
Sounds simple enough!
Narrowing down a
Basic Organization
of the Argument:
Addressing the Other Side
Planning for the Counterargument
- Anticipating the other side's points may be one of the hardest elements
Paragraph Planning
Scaffolding Counterarguments
Writers must take the evidence they have, and write a focused CLAIM.
Inverted Argument Structure

"The warrants are the heart of the argument" (15).

Identifies the 'So What?'
Explains why/how the evidence leads to the claim

If kids eat both breakfast and lunch at school, then they need to have healthy choices.
If cafeterias put fries next to the carrot sticks, then kids won't choose the carrot sticks.

Position on the topic
Debatable and defensible

School lunches at Eastwood Middle School need to offer more healthy choices for students.
School lunches provide plenty of healthy choices, but unfortunately, students at Eastwood Middle School will still choose the fries and slushies unless they are removed from the cafeteria.
How has this shift impacted our teaching?
New focus on
: Claim, evidence, warrant, and counterargument rather than persuasive techniques
activities become equal players in the language arts curriculum
leads to argument
construction: Evidence might drive claim (Hillocks research)

"Judge a man by his questions
rather than his answers."
Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.
Follow rules for collegial discussions.
Pose questions that connect ideas.
Delineate a speaker's argument and specific claims.
Acknowledge new information expressed by others and warrant or justify their evidence.
Adapt speech to a variety of context and tasks.
The Argument Game
Triple Speak Impromptu Speeches
After reading articles of opposing sides of the issue, students are given a short time to prepare and then speak.
Information you gather related to the topic

Sample Topic
: School lunches

Potential Evidence
: calorie count, fat grams, my plate food guide, photographs of cafeteria line choices, quotes from cafeteria staff about preparation of the food
Two teams of 3-5 students are given a claim statement.
One student begins speaking, he/she tags another team member to come in and take over the debate.
Tag Team Debates
"We have to recognize that if we want to prepare students for their future education, for the workplace, and for their lives...[it] will require much more than the occasional persuasive writing assignment. It will require our making argument central to the work we do" (Smith, Wilhelm, Fredricksen 47).
CCSS related to argument
RI.8.8: Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; recognize when irrelevant evidence is introduced.

W.8.1: Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence

SL.8.3: Delineate a speaker’s argument and specific claims, evaluating the soundness of the reasoning and relevance and sufficiency of the evidence and identifying when irrelevant evidence is introduced.
Scaffolding the Paragraph
Key organizational components in a paragraph planner:
Topic/Concluding Sentences
Quote or Evidence Lead-ins
Punctuation Markers
Constructing An Argument:
Remember CCSS W8.1c?
1. Model a Good Conversation
2. Encourage Physical Cues
(use the AVID S.L.A.N.T.)
3. Challenge Put-Downs or Hurtful Comments
4. Ask Open-Ended Questions
5. Put Thinking Ahead of Knowing
("I'm not sure about that, but I think...")
6. Have Informal Chats
7. Make Eye Contact
8. Encourage Turn-Taking
Teaching students to have a good conversation
Feel free to share with credit and care :)
Contact us:
Andrea Gollnick
Lori Kixmiller
Liz Love
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