Writing an Argument Essay: Evaluating the Model and Crafting a Claim | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA 2012 G8:M2B:U2:L12

Writing an Argument Essay: Evaluating the Model and Crafting a Claim

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Long Term Learning Targets

  • I can write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence. (W.8.1)
  • I can produce clear and coherent writing that is appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (W.8.4)
  • I can cite text-based evidence that provides the strongest support for my analysis of literary text. (RL.8.1) 

Supporting Targets

  • I can craft the claim of my argument essay based on the strongest evidence.
  • I can choose relevant and compelling reasons to support the claim I am making in my argument essay.

Ongoing Assessment

  • QuickWrite (from homework)
  • Exit ticket

Agenda

AgendaTeaching Notes

1.  Opening

     A.  Engaging the Writer and Reviewing Learning Targets: QuickWrite Responses from Homework (5 minutes)

2.  Work Time

     A.  Coding the Evidence of Control Note-catcher (15 minutes)

     B.  Building an Evidence-Based Argument (20 minutes)

3.  Closing and Assessment

     A.  Exit Ticket (3 minutes)

     B.  Previewing Homework (2 minutes)

4.  Homework

     A.  Complete the Supporting Evidence-Based Claims graphic organizer.

     B.  Continue your independent reading.

  • This lesson continues to prepare students to write their argument essay for their End of Unit 2 Assessment. Today, students use their Evidence of Control note-catchers and their understanding of the concept of control as expressed through two of Shakespeare's characters from A Midsummer Night's Dream by weighing the evidence and crafting the claim for their argument essay.
  • This lesson is a decision point for the students. By the end of the lesson, each student will write the claim in her essay and the underlying reasons. To help students decide which claim to argue, they will text code the Evidence of Control note-catchers and weigh the evidence they have gathered as they read A Midsummer Night's Dream.
  • Review the QuickWrite that students completed for homework. Be prepared to work with students who do not yet understand what it means to write an argument essay.
  • Post: Learning targets.

Vocabulary

claim, argument, relevant, compelling reasons

Materials

  • A Midsummer Night's Dream (book; one per student)
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream argument essay prompt (one per student and one for display)
  • Document camera
  • Evidence of Control note-catcher (students' completed copies)
  • Evidence of Control note-catcher (for teacher reference) (from Lesson 3; one to display)
  • Supporting Evidence-Based Claims graphic organizer (from Lesson 11; one new blank copy per student)
  • Colored pencils (enough for four different colors per student)
  • Exit ticket (one per student)

Opening

OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Engaging the Writer and Reviewing Learning Targets: QuickWrite Responses from Homework (5 minutes)

  • Invite students to sit with their Albany Discussion Appointments. Be sure they have their QuickWrite from their homework and invite students to work with their partner to share their response to the focus question on the homework:

*   "What must I do in this essay?"

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

-   "I can craft the claim of my argument essay based on the strongest evidence."

-   "I can choose relevant and compelling reasons to support the claim I am making in my argument essay."

  • Explain to students that in this lesson, they will be analyzing their strongest evidence from their note-catchers in order to craft a claim.
  • Based on the QuickWrite from Lesson 11, if any students did not understand how to write an argument essay, consider pulling a small group during this time. 

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Coding the Evidence of Control Note-catcher (15 minutes)

  • Make sure students have their text A Midsummer Night's Dream for reference during this lesson. Distribute and display the A Midsummer Night's Dream argument essay prompt using the document camera. Read the prompt aloud while students read along silently. Ask students to recall what they need to do to write an argument essay. Cold call students and listen for: 

-   "I need to make a claim about Shakespeare making the case about whether or not it is possible to control other people."

-   "I need to use reasons to support my claim."

-   "I need to acknowledge and respond to a counterclaim."

-   "I need to use evidence from the text and explain how it supports my reason."   

  • Clarify as needed. Remind students that the prompt asks them to make an argument based on what makes sense for the characters in the play.
  • Ask students to get out their Evidence of Control note-catchers and display the Evidence of Control note-catcher (for teacher reference). Explain that they have been gathering evidence for their argument essays as they have read the play. Now, they will sift through the evidence to see which argument they should make: "Yes, Shakespeare makes the case that it is not possible to control others" or "No, the evidence does not support that Shakespeare makes the case that it is not possible to control others."
  • Continue to clarify the task. Students will code the evidence to see which position has stronger support. Ask students to put a "Y" next to evidence that supports the position "Yes, the case is made that it is not possible to control others," and an "N" next to evidence that supports the position "No, the case is not made that it is not possible to control others." Model using the first few pieces of evidence on the displayed note-catcher.
  • Invite students to work with their partner to code their note-catchers.
  • When students have finished, ask students to talk with their partner about which position the evidence more strongly supports. After 1 minute, cold call pairs to share their responses. 
  • To support visual learners, consider creating a poster titled "What Makes a Strong Argument Essay" and record criteria for argument writing on it. 

B. Building an Evidence-Based Argument (20 minutes)

  • Distribute and display the Supporting Evidence-Based Claims graphic organizer. Remind students that they used a very similar this graphic organizer in the previous lesson to analyze the argument in the model essay. Today, they will use it to construct their own arguments about Shakespeare's case about controlling others. (Point out that this version does not include Helena and Puck, who were used for the model essay in Lesson 11).
  • Let students know they have already decided which position to support because they looked critically at the evidence. Invite students to write their claim in the "Claim" box on their graphic organizer.
  • Now, they need to chunk the evidence into reasons, just as in the model essay. (For example, the reasons to support the claim "Shakespeare makes the case that it is not possible to control another person's actions" are that the results of attempting to control others are unpredictable and temporary. Those are the reasons that make sense when analyzing the characters of Helena and Puck.) It's their turn to chunk their evidence into reasons, based on the two characters from the essay prompt they chose to analyze.
  • Model a reason using the Evidence of Control note-catcher. This might involve the following:

-   Point to the first piece of evidence. Read what it reveals about Shakespeare's perspective on controlling others: "It is not possible to control another person's actions."

-   Say that this perspective is made clear in the confusion and havoc Puck's behavior caused for the four lovers, showing that the effects of controlling others are unpredictable.

-   Write that as Reason 1 on the displayed Support Evidence-Based Claims graphic organizer and write the evidence in the first evidence box under that reason.

-   Do a think-aloud to answer: "How does this evidence support my reason?"

-   Explain that when Puck put the magic potion in Lysander's eyes, the four friends began to argue, Hermia was hurt by her rejection, and Oberon was angered. Though Puck was amused, these results were unanticipated.

  • Distribute four different colored pencils to each student. Ask students to work with their partner to select one colored pencil and use it to circle two other pieces of evidence that most strongly support the reason "The results of trying to control another person's actions are unpredictable."
  • Cold call pairs to share out. Add the strongest evidence to the displayed graphic organizer.  
  • Explain to students that they will continue this process now as they select a new colored pencil, circle a reason on their Evidence of Control note-catcher, then circle the evidence that supports that reason in the same color. They should use their Evidence of Control note-catchers to decide on two reasons based on the roles of two characters in the play that make the case that Shakespeare believed it is not possible to control another person's actions. Remind students that they must also identify one counterclaim. A different colored pencil will be used for each of the reasons and the counterclaim.
  • Remind students that they need to have two reasons that strongly support their claim, as well as a counterclaim. Prompt students to work with their partner to identify pieces of evidence that have something in common--they focus on the results of some characters attempting to control others.
  • Once they have done that, ask students to record their reasons and evidence on the Supporting Evidence-Based Claims graphic organizer and complete the rest of it.
  • Graphic organizers engage students more actively and provide the necessary scaffolding especially critical for students with lower levels of language proficiency and/or learning. For students who need additional support, provide a partially filled-in graphic organizer.

Closing & Assessments

Closing

A. Exit Ticket (3 minutes) 

  • Distribute the Exit Ticket and read aloud the question:

*   "What is your claim about Shakespeare making the case whether or not it is possible to control other people's actions? What reasons will you use to support your claim? What counterclaim will you include in your essay?"

B. Previewing Homework (2 minutes)

  • Encourage students to sift through their Evidence of Control note-catchers as they complete the Supporting Evidence-Based Claims graphic organizer for homework.

Homework

Homework
  • Complete the Supporting Evidence-Based Claims graphic organizer.
  • Continue your independent reading.

Note: Review students' exit tickets to ensure that students' claims, reasons, and counterclaims are strong and logical. Address any misconceptions in the next lesson.

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