Writing an Argumentative Essay: Introducing the Writing Prompt and Model Essay | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA 2012 G7:M2A:U1:L13

Writing an Argumentative Essay: Introducing the Writing Prompt and Model Essay

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Long Term Learning Targets

  • I can write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence. (W.7.1)
  • I can produce clear and coherent writing that is appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (W.7.4)

Supporting Targets

  • I can explain what it means to write a coherent argument essay with appropriate structure and relevant evidence.
  • I can analyze the argument in a model essay.

Ongoing Assessment

  • Venn diagram
  • Exit ticket

Agenda

AgendaTeaching Notes

1. Opening

A. Entry Task (10 minutes)

2. Work Time

A. Reading and Analyzing the Model Essay (15 minutes)

B. Discussing Essay Prompt (15 minutes)

3. Closing and Assessment

A. Exit Ticket: Explain the Meaning of the Prompt: What Must You Do in This Essay? (5 minutes)

4. Homework

A. Reread the model essay and circle or highlight where the author acknowledges the opposing ideas to his/her claim.

B. Continue reading Chapters 18-19 of Lyddie and complete Reader's Notes for Chapters 18 and 19. This is due in Lesson 14.

  • In this lesson, students begin the writing process for the End of Unit 1 Assessment, an argument essay on Lyddie. In the design of this lesson and the lessons that follow, the following criteria were used to define argument writing:
  • The goal of argument writing is for the reader to acknowledge the validity of the claim (not necessarily be persuaded by it).
  • Appropriate evidence is used and analyzed logically to support the claim. This evidence is usually organized into reasons.
  • The author considers the reasons and evidence for them before articulating the claim.
  • The author acknowledges a counterargument in his or her writing.
  • The model essay is about the decision that Lyddie makes to go to Lowell to work in the mills. The model essay is intentionally written about the same text (Lyddie) that students also will write about so that students are familiar with the context. However, the model essay does not use the same prompt as the student essay. Instead, it focuses on a different decision Lyddie made.
  • Students will need the model essay in subsequent lessons, so ask them to keep their copy.
  • The writing process for the argument essay is similar to that of Module 1. The rubric for this assignment is based closely on the New York State Expository Writing Rubric. Because the students are already familiar with that rubric, the rubric analysis built into these lessons will not be as in-depth as it was in Module 1.
  • In this lesson, time is dedicated to students understanding the difference between an explanatory essay (which they wrote in Module 1) and an argument essay, which they are writing now about Lyddie.
  • Remember, writing is really about thinking. To be successful with a writing assignment, students need to know the content well and understand the structure they will work in. Students have been developing a clear understanding of content; today is the day they build their understanding of the structure of an argument essay.
  • For students who would benefit from a visual representation of the structure of an argument essay, consider creating and posting a Building an Argument Essay poster. A sample is included in the supporting materials.
  • As in Module 1, students will have a Writer's Glossary to help them master the language used to talk about writing. The goal of this glossary is to build students' understanding of an argument essay as well as their academic vocabulary. Consider asking students to add the Lyddie Writer's Glossary to their Writer's Glossaries from Module 1.
  • In advance: Post similarities and differences between explanatory essays and argument essays (see supporting materials).
  • Decide which Discussion Appointment to use today.

Vocabulary

argument, claim, relevant evidence, coherent, appropriate, counterclaim

Materials

  • Entry task (one per student)
  • Lyddie Writer's Glossary (one per student)
  • Lyddie Model Essay (one per student, plus one for teacher use)
  • Document camera
  • Explanatory Essay vs. Argument Essay handout (one per student)
  • Explanatory Essay vs. Argument Essay (Answers for Teacher Reference)
  • Similiarities and Differences between Expanatory Essays and Argument Essays (one to display)
  • Exit ticket (one per student)
  • Building an Argument Essay (optional; for Teacher Reference)

Opening

OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Entry Task (10 minutes)

  • Ask students to read the learning targets and circle the words that are the most important.

*     "I can explain what it means to write a coherent argument essay with appropriate structure and relevant evidence."

*     "I can analyze the argument in a model essay."

  • After 2 minutes, cold call on students to share what words they circled. Be sure that they note argument, relevant evidence, coherent, and appropriate.
  • Remind students that they discussed relevant evidence, coherent, and appropriate in Module 1, Unit 2 as they wrote their essays on A Long Walk to Water. These words, along with many others, were also included in their Writer's Glossaries in Module 1.
  • Invite students to turn to a partner and share the answer to the second question on their entry task:

*     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 that 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 author has evidence to prove it. However, in a written argument, the author will make a claim, support it with reasons, and prove his or her reasons with evidence. The author will also acknowledge that there is another valid point of view.
  • Let students know that today they will be focused on understanding what it means to write an argument essay.
  • Pass out the Lyddie Writer's Glossary. Ask students to look at the first page and put a star next to the words that appear in today's learning targets.
  • Tell students that in order for them to get ready to write their own essays, the lesson today will be focused on understanding what it means to write an argument essay. They will begin working on their own essays in the next class.
  • Discussing and clarifying the language of learning targets helps build academic vocabulary.
  • For students who need more support in understanding the structure of an essay or who might benefit from a visual representation, consider adapting and posting the Building an Argument Essay supporting material and pointing to it during this explanation.

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Reading and Analyzing the Model Essay (15 minutes)

  • Ask students to meet with their selected Discussion Appointment partner. Distribute the Lyddie Model Essay. Invite students to read along silently while you read the model aloud.
  • Ask students to turn to their partner and talk about the gist of the essay.
  • Explain that this is an argument essay, like the ones they will be expected to write. In this lesson, they will use this essay to help them understand how to make a claim and support it in an argument essay.
  • Ask students to reread the model essay, underlining the claim that the author makes and numbering the reasons that support the claim.
  • After about 5 minutes, refocus the class. Cold call on pairs to share the claim of the model essay and the reasons to support it. Listen for students to say:
  • "The claim is, 'This is the right decision for her to make because by leaving she at least stands a chance of improving her situation and making enough money to buy back the farm.'"
  • Reason 1: "One of the reasons that Lyddie has made the right decision to leave her job at Cutler's Tavern to go to work in the mills is that it will be a better life than the one she is leading at the tavern."
  • Reason 2: "Another reason the author gives is that it will pay her much better."
  • Students who need substantial support with this writing assignment will be able to use the top of the anchor chart to create the introduction paragraph to their essays.
  • You may wish to have each student maintain a copy of the Lyddie's Decision anchor chart in his/her notes. If so, photocopy enough to distribute. However, also make sure to keep a class anchor chart.

B. Discussing Essay Prompt (15 minutes)

  • Distribute the Explanatory Essay vs. Argument Essay handout. Point out the argument essay prompt. Remind students to read along while you read the prompt aloud. Explain that they will write an essay on Lyddie based on this prompt, and make sure that they notice that this is the question they have been gathering textual evidence about in Lessons 10-12. Their task now is to understand how this essay is going to be similar to and different from the essay they wrote on A Long Walk to Water.
  • Point out the title of the worksheet--Explanatory Essay vs. Argument Essay--and explain that they are going to work with their partner to compare and contrast the essay prompts.
  • Show the class the posted list of Similarities and Differences Between Explanatory Essays and Argument Essays.
  • Tell students that they are going to work with their partner to sort these similarities and differences and write them on their Venn diagram on the Explanatory Essay vs. Argument Essay handout.
  • While students are working, circulate and check student progress. If students are stuck, consider asking questions like:

*     What did you need to do to address the prompt in your essay on A Long Walk to Water?

*     Based on the prompt for the essay on Lyddie, what do you think you'll need to do to address this prompt?

  • Once students have their Venn diagrams filled out, refocus whole class. Project a blank Venn diagram using the document camera. Cold call on pairs to share something they included in their Venn diagrams. As students share, fill in the blank Venn diagram with similarities and differences between the explanatory essay and the argument essay. Encourage students to add to their own Venn diagrams as others in the class share their work.
  • When a student mentions, "In the essay you need to acknowledge that others might disagree with you," add it to the Venn diagram. Then point out that this is known as acknowledging a counterclaim. Let students know that they will learn more about counterclaims in the following lesson.
  • If a student volunteers information that does not help the class understand the difference between the two essay types, thank the student for taking a risk and sharing, but do not add it to the Venn diagram.
  • Taking the time to explicitly teach students the expectations of a particular writing form gives all students more opportunity to be successful, but it is particularly supportive of ELL students and others who need additional support.
  • If you identified students who need more support on their Forming Evidence-Based Claims graphic organizers, consider working with a small group during this time.

Closing & Assessments

Closing

A. Exit Ticket: Explain the Meaning of the Prompt: What Must You Do in This Essay? (5 minutes)

  • Tell students that they get to synthesize their understanding of what an argument essay is.
  • Distribute the exit ticket. Ask students to reread the essay prompt and explain the meaning of the prompt: What must they do in this essay?
  • Collect the exit tickets.

Homework

Homework
  • Reread the model essay and circle or highlight where the author acknowledges the opposing ideas to his/her claim.
  • Continue reading Chapters 18-19 of Lyddie and complete Reader's Notes for Chapters 18 and 19. This is due in Lesson 14.

Note: Look over the exit tickets to make sure students understand what the essay prompt is asking them to do. If there is confusion, address it in the next lesson. 

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