Qualities of a Strong Literary Argument Essay | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA 2012 G6:M2A:U2:L9

Qualities of a Strong Literary Argument Essay

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Long Term Learning Targets

  • I can cite text-based evidence to support an analysis of literary text. (RL.6.1)
  • I can produce clear and coherent writing that is appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (W.6.4)
  • With support from peers and adults, I can use a writing process to produce clear and coherent writing. (W.6.5)

Supporting Targets

  • I can describe the qualities of a literary argument essay about Bud's Rules.
  • I can analyze how evidence from the text supports a claim in the Steve Jobs model essay.

Ongoing Assessment

  • Qualities of a Strong Literary Argument Essay anchor chart
  • "Steve Jobs' Rules to Live By" model essay annotations

Agenda

AgendaTeaching Notes

1.  Opening

     A. Unpacking Learning Targets (5 minutes)

2.  Work Time

     A. Unpacking the End of Unit 2 Assessment Prompt (10 minutes)

     B. Reading Like a Writer: Annotating the Model Essay about Rules in the Steve Jobs Speech (12 minutes)

     C. Analyzing Evidence-Based Claims: Essay about the Steve Jobs Speech (16 minutes)

3.  Closing and Assessment

     A. Reflection: Why Do We Analyze Models? (2 minutes)

4.  Homework

     A. Review the novel and the Bud's Rules graphic organizer that you completed in Units 1 and 2. In preparation for Lesson 10, think about what claim you might make about how Bud used his rules. Bring both the Bud, Not Buddy novel and your Bud's Rules graphic organizer to class for Lesson 10.

  • This lesson launches the End of Unit 2 Assessment, in which students will write a literary argument essay about Bud, Not Buddy. The task is labeled a literary argument because students argue whether Bud uses his rules to survive or thrive, and use evidence from the novel to support their position. The New York State Grades 6-8 Expository Writing Evaluation Rubric has been adapted to assess the standard about written arguments, Writing 6.1, and has been renamed the Literary Argument Essay Rubric.
  • In this lesson, students closely examine the prompt and a model essay so they have a clear understanding and purpose for the work ahead.
  • In Work Time C, the teacher guides the students through an analysis of a model argument essay using an Analyzing Evidence-Based Claims graphic organizer.  This graphic organizer is designed to help students 'reverse engineer' the model essay, beginning with the claim and looking at how the author used evidence to support that claim. For their own essays, students will use the related Forming Evidence-Based Claims graphic organizer, which asks them to begin by considering the evidence, then they make their own claim. 
  • The instruction of language to use on the anchor chart comes directly from the rubric. Students will use the rubric in Lessons 12-14 to evaluate their writing.
  • In advance: Review the student model essay.
  • In Lesson 10, students will need their Bud, Not Buddy novel and their Bud's Rules graphic organizer.
  • In Lessons 12-14, students will need their annotated Steve Jobs model essay. Use routines of your classroom to help students organize and keep these resources.

Vocabulary

literary argument, qualities

Materials

  • End of Unit 2 Assessment Prompt: How Does Bud Use His Rules--To Survive or To Thrive? Argument Essay (one per student and one to display)
  • Document camera
  • Qualities of a Strong Literary Argument Essay anchor chart (new; co-created with students during Work Time A; see supporting materials)
  • Model literary argument essay: "Steve Jobs' Rules to Live By" (one per student and one to display)
  • Jobs Speech: Analyzing Evidence-based Claims graphic organizer (one to display)
  • Jobs Speech: Analyzing Evidence-Based Claims graphic organizer (for Teacher Reference)

Opening

OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Unpacking Learning Targets (5 minutes)

  • Invite students to read along with you as you read the learning targets out loud:

* "I can describe the qualities of a literary argument essay about Bud's Rules."

* "I can analyze how evidence from the text supports a claim in the Steve Jobs model essay."

  • Explain that understanding a literary argument is key to their success in the next several lessons. Begin with having them think about what an argument is.
  • Ask students to discuss with an elbow partner:

* "Think about a time that you were in an argument with someone. What causes an argument?"

  • Cold call on a pair to share their thinking. Ideally, students will say, "We disagreed about something," or "We had different ideas."
  • Explain that in writing, there is a difference between argument and opinion. In speaking, we often say we had an argument because we had a difference of opinion; but when we refer to writing, the meaning of the two words is different. Writing an opinion piece means that it's something a person believes, whether or not the person has evidence to prove it. However, in a written argument, the author will make a claim, support it with reasons, and prove those reasons with evidence.
  • Ask:

* "If a written argument is where the author makes a claim, supports it with reasons, and proves those reasons with evidence, what can you infer is a literary argument?"

  • After giving students some think time, ask for a volunteer to share their answer. Listen for students to infer that a literary argument means the supporting reasons and evidence come from a text, from a piece of literature.
  • Write the definition of a literary argument on the board: "A literary argument is a piece of writing that makes a claim about a literary text and uses details and evidence to support that claim."
  • Tell students that in order for them to get ready to write their own essays, the lesson today will be focused on looking at what makes a strong literary argument in a model essay.
  • Discussing and clarifying the language of learning targets helps build academic vocabulary.

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Unpacking the End of Unit 2 Assessment Prompt (10 minutes)

  • Distribute the End of Unit 2 Assessment Prompt: How Does Bud Use His Rules--To Survive or To Thrive? Argument Essay and display it using a document camera. Invite students to follow along with you as you read the prompt aloud. Ask students to circle any unfamiliar words. Clarify words as needed.
  • Invite students to underline words and phrases on the prompt that will help them make a strong literary argument. Look for students to underline words and phrases such as:
  • Establish a claim about whether Bud uses his rules to help him survive or thrive.
  • Write an introduction.
  • To support your claim, use evidence about how Bud uses three of his rules.
  • Provide closure to your essay with a conclusion.
  • Use relevant and specific text evidence, including direct quotations, to support your claim.
  • Explain how your evidence supports your claim.
  • Use transitional words and phrases to make your writing cohesive and logical.
  • Invite students to close their eyes for a moment and envision themselves writing their essay. Ask them to think about what the essay needs to include and what thinking they need to do in order to write. Now have students open their eyes, get with a partner, and discuss the three questions displayed on the board.
  • Display and ask:

* "What is this prompt asking you to do?"

* "What will your writing have to include to address the question?"

* "What thinking will you have to do to complete that writing?"

  • Refocus students whole group. Begin the Qualities of a Strong Literary Essay anchor chart. Explain to students that they just discussed the qualities of a strong literary argument essay. Qualities are the parts or the characteristics of something--in this case, the essay.
  • Cold call pairs to share the qualities they discussed that will make this a strong literary argument essay. As students share their answers, put their answers into language from the rubric. For example, if a student says, "We have to choose a position," you might write: "Make a claim = choosing a side." Be sure the chart includes:

*  Make a claim. (Students may say, "Choose a side.")

* Choose text evidence that supports the claim. (Students might say, "Pick rules to help back up your choice.")

Explain how each piece of evidence supports the claim. (Students might say, "Add my own thinking" or "Explain the evidence.")

* Introduce the claim. (Students might say, "Write my claim in the beginning.")

* Make it coherent. (Students might say, "Make it stick together; have everything connect.")

* Make it logical. (Students might say, "Have it make sense.")

  • For anything students do not identify on their own, add it to the anchor chart and explain why you are adding it.
  • Spending time unpacking writing prompts gives students a clear vision of what is expected of them in the assessment.
  • Anchor charts provide a visual cue to students about what to do when you ask them to work independently. They also serve as note-catchers when the class is co-constructing ideas.
  • Adding visuals or graphics to anchor charts can help students remember or understand key ideas or directions.

B. Reading Like a Writer: Annotating the Model Essay about Rules in the Steve Jobs Speech (12 minutes)

  • Display and distribute the Model literary argument essay: "Steve Jobs' Rules to Live By"
  • Congratulate students on beginning the criteria for a strong literary argument. Tell them they will now begin reading like a writer, studying a model literary argument essay to see what they will be writing.
  • Invite students to follow along while you read the Jobs essay out loud.
  • Ask students to turn to their partner and talk about the gist of the essay. Prompt students with a few questions around the content of the essay, such as:

* "What claim is the author of this essay making?"

* "What is the purpose of the body paragraphs?"

  • Explain that based on the great close reading of the prompt, students already know a strong essay will include a claim, text evidence, and an explanation of how the evidence supports the claim.
  • Display a guide to coding the text where all students can see. Direct their attention to the text codes (C, T, E) and ask them to write the codes on the top of the speech so they remember what they are: C=claim, T=text evidence, E=explanation.
  • Students should use a "C" to identify a claim. They should use a "T" where they see text evidence. And they should use an "E" where the author of the essay explains the connection between the evidence and the claim.
  • Read aloud the first two paragraphs of the text as students read along. Model the process of coding it:
  • "Now I am going to read the first and second paragraph for you and code the text with our C, T, and/or E. Please follow along.
  • Read: "Life offers many opportunities to make choices. Life can be both easy and hard. When we make choices during the easy or hard times, we are either surviving or thriving. Steve Jobs used his rules in his life to help him thrive."
  • "I see a claim very clearly here, so I am writing a 'C.' The claim is that Jobs used his rules to thrive."
  • Read: "... despite being orphaned, dropping out of college, being fired, and having cancer."
  • "This phrase signals a lot of life experiences from the text, but we really want the rule as our text evidence here."
  • Read: "In his commencement address to Stanford University in 2005, Jobs shared his three rules to follow in order to thrive in life."
  • "This is the claim again at the end where I'm writing 'C.'"
  • Read: "Steve Jobs shared his first rule: 'You have to trust in something.'"
  • "This is his text evidence here, so I'll write a 'T.'"
  • Read: "He told the graduates that each choice in our lives is a dot, and we should trust in those choices. He said this was more important than spending time worrying about how all the dots connect in the future. Jobs followed his rule to trust his gut and enrolled in a calligraphy college course, and that led to the typefaces and spacing used in computers today. Following the rule to trust in something helped Jobs thrive in life because he trusted in himself and didn't spend energy worrying about the future."
  • "The rest of the paragraph is the writer's explanation about the rule and how Jobs used the rule to thrive. I'll place an 'E' next the whole section."
  • Check for student understanding by asking students to show a Fist to Five if you understand how I coded our model essay." Note any students who have less than a three and circulate to those students first when they work on Paragraph 2.
  • Prompt students to read the rest of the paragraphs of the model essay annotating the text with a C, T, and E.
  • Circulate and observe student annotations, making note of whether students are able to find the text evidence and the explanations. Give students a minute to review their annotation. Then have them turn to a partner and discuss their annotations.
  • Most likely, you will notice some students struggling to make a decision about whether part of the essay is a T or an E, or whether they should code T and E for the same part of the essay. Let them know that explaining supporting evidence is the analysis part of the essay, and that they are on the right track noticing the challenge of it.
  • It is important for students to process and understand the "content" of the essay before they look more closely at the writer's craft.
  • Consider giving select students pre-annotated or pre-highlighted texts. This will allow them to focus on key sections of the essay.
  • Coding the text will allow students to return the model essay later to help guide them in their independent writing.

C. Analyzing Evidenced-Based Claims: Essay about the Steve Jobs Speech (16 minutes)

  • Display the blank Jobs Speech: Analyzing Evidence-Based Claims graphic organizer.
  • Invite a volunteer to tell you how she or he coded the third paragraph. For example, a student might tell you to code a "T" on "'Love what you do' and do what you love," and both a "T" and an "E" on "Jobs overcame being fired and followed that rule. He continued doing what he loved, working on computer systems and starting companies such as Pixar. By choosing to do what he loved, Steve Jobs stayed true to himself and thrived regardless of the tough times."
  • Write the rule in the "text evidence" box of the graphic organizer and the other quote in the "explaining the thinking" box of the graphic organizer in the middle row. Refer to Jobs Speech: Analyzing Evidence-Based Claim graphic organizer (for Teacher Reference) for examples.
  • Model for students how to think about using text evidence in their explanations. To the student who shared her or his annotations, you might say: "I can tell you understand that text evidence includes the rule to live by. Good. This is clear text evidence. I also see you identifying the last line as both text evidence and explaining the support of the claim. A good way to figure this out is to ask yourself, 'What is the line mostly doing? Stating text evidence or clarifying the author's thinking about how Jobs used the rule?' In this case, the part you labeled 'T' and 'E' clearly had some text evidence in it with the author's own thinking. But the purpose of the line was to explain how Jobs used the rule to thrive in life--the explanation. So it should be labeled only with an E."
  • Invite students to Think-Pair-Share:

* "With your partner, review the fourth paragraph, asking yourselves, 'What is each section of this paragraph doing? Supporting the claim with text evidence or explaining how Jobs used his rule?'"

* "Revise any annotations, based on your discussion."

  • Refocus students whole group. Invite a volunteer to share how she or he coded the paragraph. Listen for an explanation that the 'T' is the rule "to live each day as if it was your last," and that the 'E'--the explanation of how Jobs used that rule--was "Jobs followed his heart and intuition with the calligraphy class. He found courage to get over fears of what others thought about him after getting fired from Apple. He knew death was a part of life, and remembering this each day helped him ensure he was doing what he really wanted most days of his life. By living the rule, Jobs thrived."
  • Write student thinking on the graphic organizer. Explain that you are filling in a model of the graphic organizer they will use in Lesson 10 for their own essay.
  • Ask students to give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down if they felt successful separating the text evidence from the explanations.
  • Note the students who show a thumbs-down and may need more scaffolding to separate text evidence and explanations in Lesson 10.

Closing & Assessments

ClosingMeeting Students' Needs

A. Reflection: Why Do We Analyze Models? (2 minutes)

  • Ask students to talk with a partner. Encourage them to look back at the anchor chart they created and see if they can make connections between the work they did in class and the chart.
  • Ask:

* "Why are we studying our model essay so closely?"

  • Invite volunteers to share their answers. Guide students to understand that they are reading like writers as they study the model essay in preparation for writing their own essay. Analyzing the text is specifically helping them to identify the content and evidence they need to include in a strong essay.
  • Developing self-assessment and reflection supports all learners, but research shows it supports struggling learners most.

Homework

Homework
  • Review the novel and the Bud's Rules graphic organizer that you completed in Units 1 and 2. In preparation for Lesson 10, think about what claim you might make about how Bud used his rules. Bring both the Bud, Not Buddy novel and your Bud's Rules graphic organizer to class for Lesson 10.

Note: If you have not already launched independent reading, do so before or during Lesson 10. See Unit 2 Overview for details.  Students will need to be ready to read their independent reading book for homework beginning in Lesson 10.

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