Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Writing Effective Arguments
Cathy McCarthy

Keys to Literacy offers a great workshop on writing effective arguments, and breaks down the process into manageable chunks to guide students and teachers through the process. After attending the workshop, my co-teacher Rebecca Bernard and I created a writing assignment for our Sophomore English students to argue for or against the United States Travel Ban. First, we had students read an article outlining both perspectives. We had them highlight in different colors, arguments for and those against. Students transferred these ideas onto a planning sheet.

After students have formed their opinions and chosen their position, based on what they have read, we introduced them to the structure of the argument essay.

As seen in the photo above, there are three major parts of the essay, just as with analytical writing: Introduction, Body and Conclusion, but instead of the PIE structure, the paragraphs are structured based on reasons and evidence, as well as the opposing point of view, or counter argument, which is followed by a rebuttal. Students do need encouragement to write their opinion, given we have disallowed it for their analytical writing.

Below is the link to the assignment and planning sheet:


When your students have completed the assignment, the KTL website contains rubrics for argument writing that closely examine the elements needed for an effective essay.

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