Analyzing the Model Essay: Studying Argument (Chapter 27, plus synthesis of scenes in previous chapters) | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA 2012 G8:M2A:U2:L9

Analyzing the Model Essay: Studying Argument (Chapter 27, plus synthesis of scenes in previous chapters)

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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 identify the argument and specific claims in a text. (RI.8.8)
  • I can analyze how an author acknowledges and responds to conflicting evidence or viewpoints. (RI.8.6)

Supporting Targets

  • I can write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence. (W.7.1)
  • I can identify the argument and specific claims in a text. (RI.8.8)
  • I can analyze how an author acknowledges and responds to conflicting evidence or viewpoints. (RI.8.6)

Ongoing Assessment

  • Chapter 27 structured notes (from homework)
  • Supporting Evidence-Based Claims graphic organizer
  • Exit ticket

Agenda

AgendaTeaching Notes

1.   Opening

A.  Engaging the Writer and Reviewing Learning Targets (10 minutes)

2.   Work Time

A.  Reading and Analyzing the Model Essay (30 minutes)

3.   Closing and Assessment

A.  Exit Ticket (5 minutes)

4.   Homework

A. Complete a first read of Chapter 28 with structured notes. 

  • In this lesson, students begin the writing process for the End of Unit 2 Assessment, an argument essay on To Kill a Mockingbird. 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 the reasons before articulating the claim.

*    The author acknowledges and responds to a counterclaim in his or her writing.

  • Lessons 9-11 focus on the thinking that students need to do before crafting their own argument essay. It is important to take this time because argument thinking and writing is hard--in a sense, the writer is trying to work with a complicated question that often has many aspects to consider. First, writers know the issue well, then carefully consider all the relevant ideas before coming up with a good claim. Once they've come up with that claim, they acknowledge other ways of thinking about it so that the reader can grasp the full depth of the good thinking the writer is doing.
  • The argument essay in this module focuses on crafting a clear, logical argument. This is a writing skill that will be developed further in Module 4 when students will be asked to take this skill one step further as they study argument writing in greater depth.
  • The model essay is about the decision that Mrs. Dubose makes to overcome her morphine addiction before she dies. The model essay is intentionally written about the same text (To Kill a Mockingbird) that students also will write about, so that students are familiar with the context. However, the model essay does not use exactly the same examples and information that the student essay will use.
  • 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 NY State Grades 6-8 Expository Writing Evaluation Rubric. Because 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.        

  • Remember, writing is really about thinking. To be successful with a writing assignment, students need to know the content well and understand the structure in which they will work. Students have been developing a clear understanding of content; today is the day they build their understanding of what an argument essay is.
  • The Supporting Evidence-based Claims graphic organizer is adapted based on work from Odell Education resource. There is space on the Supporting Evidence-Based Claims graphic organizer for three pieces of evidence per paragraph, but there are only two pieces of evidence per paragraph in the model essay. This is intentionally done in order to allow flexibility in the writing of the essays. It also shows students that the quantity of evidence is not the only thing to consider when supporting an argument--it is more important to have the best possible evidence.
  • This lesson opens with a short discussion of Chapter 27. Although this isn't a reading lesson, this entry task will encourage students to continue with the reading homework.
  • In advance: Decide which Discussion Appointment to use today.
  • Post: Learning targets.

Vocabulary

argument, coherent, relevant evidence, counterclaim, conflicting viewpoint; analyze, logical; industry, notoriety (332), obscure (333), eccentricities (337)

Materials

  • To Kill a Mockingbird Model Essay (one per student and one to display)
  • Supporting Evidence-Based Claims graphic organizer (one per student and one for display)
  • Supporting Evidence-Based Claims graphic organizer (for Teacher Reference)
  • Document camera
  • Exit ticket (one per student)
  • To Kill a Mockingbird Structured Notes Graphic Organizer, Chapter 28 (one per student)
  • To Kill a Mockingbird Supported Structured Notes Graphic Organizer, Chapter 28 (optional; for students needing additional support)

Opening

OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Engaging the Writer and Reviewing Learning Targets (10 minutes)

  • Students should sit with their selected Discussion Appointment partner. Be sure that they have their structured notes from their homework and invite students to share with their partner their response to the focus question on the homework:

*   Reread Atticus's explanation of Bob Ewell's actions on page 335, beginning with "I think I understand ..." and ending with "Atticus chuckled." What does Atticus's explanation reveal about his character?

  • As students discuss, circulate and listen for students to use evidence from the novel to support their ideas.
  • Direct students' attention to the posted learning targets. Cold call on a student to read the learning 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.

*   I can analyze how the author of the model essay acknowledges and responds to conflicting viewpoints.

  • Ask students to identify one word that they think is really important in the learning targets. When they are ready with a word, ask them to give you a thumbs-up. When most students are ready, cold call on individuals and ask them to share their word. Underline the word in the learning target and write what it means next to it. Listen for students to suggest:

*   coherent: when something such as a piece of writing is easy to understand because its parts are connected in a clear and reasonable way

*   relevant evidence: quotes or details from the text that direct relate to the claim the author is making

*   counterclaim: a different interpretation of the text; an opposite claim--also called a conflicting viewpoint

*   argument: when students suggest this, explain that the lesson will be focused on helping them understand what "argument" means in writing.

  • Discussing and clarifying the language of learning targets helps build academic vocabulary.

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Reading and Analyzing the Model Essay (30 minutes)

  • Have students remain with their selected Discussion Appointment partner. Pass out the To Kill a Mockingbird Model Essay. Point out the prompt at the top of the essay: "When Mrs. Dubose dies, Atticus says, 'It's when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what.' (149) Does it make sense for Mrs. Dubose to take a stand for herself? Give evidence from the text to support your thinking, and be sure to take into account what people who disagree might say." Ask students to turn to their partner and explain what the essay will be about. Cold call on pairs to share their ideas. Listen for students to say: "The essay needs to be about how whether or not Mrs. Dubose's choice to get over her drug addiction makes sense with who she is."
  • Invite students to read along silently while you read the model essay 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 that they will be expected to write. Ask students to turn and talk to their partner about what kinds of careful thinking do you think the author did before writing this essay? Listen for students to say: "The author needed to think a lot about Mrs. Dubose's character," "The author had to look for the best evidence to decide on a claim," and "The author needed to figure out what reasons would go in the body paragraphs."
  • Let students know that writing an argument essay requires a lot of thinking before any essay writing happens. The thinking they do before they begin writing is a very important part of the process. Just as a good car mechanic would never try to fix a car's engine without a deep understanding of engines and all the factors that could be involved, so an argument writer would never try to write an argument essay off the top of her head. They have to consider the all evidence first, then make a claim based on the best evidence.
  • Explain to students 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 they have evidence to prove it. However, in a written argument, the author will make a claim, support it with reasons, and develop her reasons with evidence. The author will also acknowledge and respond to another valid point of view. In this lesson, students 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, the reasons that support the claim, and the acknowledgment of the counterclaim.
  • 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:

    *    Claim: "Because of her high expectations for herself and her courage, it makes sense for Mrs. Dubose to take that stand."

    *    Reason 1: "The first reason it makes sense for Mrs. Dubose to take a stand is that she has high expectations for people, including herself."

    *   Reason 2: "The second reason is it makes sense for Mrs. Dubose to take a stand is her courage."

    *   Counterclaim: "Some might say that it does not make sense for Mrs. Dubose to take this stand."

  • Clarify as necessary.

  • Tell students that now that they have identified the major pieces of the argument in the model essay, they will analyze the argument more closely. Distribute and display Supporting Evidence-Based Claims graphic organizer using the document camera. Point out on the graphic organizer that there are places to record the claim and reasons that the students identified in the model essay. Model adding the claim, reasons, and counterclaim to the displayed graphic organizer and invite students to do the same. See Supporting Evidence-Based Claims graphic organizer (for Teacher Reference) as an example.
  • When students have written in the claim, reasons, and counterclaim, turn their attention to the boxes under "Reason 1." Explain that they are going to look at how the author uses evidence to support the first reason. Continue to use the displayed graphic organizer and do a think-aloud about the use of evidence in the first body paragraph of the essay: "First, I'm going to look for evidence in the first body paragraph. I found a quote, and I know that a quote is evidence, so I'm going to add it to the first evidence box on my graphic organizer. Now, I'm going to reread the sentences around the quote to see if I can figure out how that quote supports the reason. I can see that after the quote, the author explains what the quote shows, so I will write that in the box underneath the evidence I just added. This means that the author is analyzing the evidence. Since her analysis makes sense with the text, the analysis is also logical." Repeat with the second piece of evidence.
  • Invite students to work with their Discussion Appointment partner to complete their graphic organizers. Circulate as students work and push them to notice the kinds of phrases the author uses to explain how the evidence supports the reasons, such as "this shows" or "this demonstrates." 
  • When students have completed the graphic organizer for the second body paragraph, refocus them whole class. Cold call on pairs to share their work. Clarify as necessary and encourage students to revise their graphic organizers based on the class responses.
  • Point to the section on "Counterclaim" on the displayed graphic organizer. Since this is a different kind of body paragraph, do another think-aloud to help students begin the analysis. As you read the paragraph aloud, only add to the "evidence" and "response to counterclaim" box. Also, point out where the author uses the phrase "It is true ..." as an introduction to the reason for the counterclaim. Let students know that this is one way to introduce a conflicting viewpoint in an essay. Encourage students to write on their own graphic organizers as you add to the displayed copy. Then, ask students to find how the evidence supports the counterclaim, as well as how the author shows that her claim is stronger than the counterclaim. Explain to students that in order to answer "Why is your claim stronger than the counterclaim?" they will need to make an inference based on what the author says in the essay. Encourage them to do their best to answer it, but let them know that the class will have an opportunity to talk about it.
  • Once students have finished, cold call on pairs and add to the displayed graphic organizer. Encourage students to revise their own graphic organizers based on the class understanding. Make sure to spend time talking about the response to "Why is your claim stronger than the counterclaim?" Listen for students to say: "The counterclaim isn't as strong as the claim because the author shows how the pain that Mrs. Dubose felt demonstrated her courage," and "The author used the counterclaim to strengthen her own claim by connecting it to a reason she gave in the second body paragraph." Ensure that students see that they can make this inference because the author writes, "However, that reinforces the idea that Mrs. Dubose is, in fact, a brave woman. If she tolerates pain in order to die how she wants to, it means that she is courageous."
  • Refer students back to the prompt for the model essay and reread it. Ask students to turn and talk about what the author of the model essay needed to do in order to address that prompt. Listen for them to say:

*    "She needed to make a claim that was about Mrs. Dubose taking a stand."

*     "She used two reasons to support her claim."

*     "She acknowledged and responded to a counterclaim."

*     "She used evidence from the text and explained how it supported her reason." 

  • Providing models of expected work supports all learners but especially supports challenged learners.
  • It may be appropriate for the teacher to guide the identification of the claim and reasons in the model essay. If so, display the model essay using the document camera and lead students through that process.
  • 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.
  • Depending on the needs of your students, it may be appropriate for the teacher to continue to model the analysis of evidence in the model essay. If so, display the model essay using the document camera and lead students through that process. 

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 by explaining what they will need to do in their own argument essay.
  • Distribute the exit ticket. Ask students to read the essay prompt and explain the meaning of the prompt: What must they do in this essay?
  • Distribute the To Kill a Mockingbird Structured Notes graphic organizer, Chapter 28. Preview the homework.

Homework

HomeworkMeeting Students' Needs
  • Complete a first read of Chapter 28 with structured notes. Answer the focus question: How does Harper Lee build suspense in this chapter? Use the strongest details from the novel to support your answer.

 

Note: Review exit tickets to ensure that students understand what they will need to do in order to write an argument essay. Address any misconceptions in the next lesson. 

  • Provide struggling students with the supported structured notes for additional scaffolding as they read the novel

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