Mapping the Analytical/Argumentative Essay from Start to FinishRebecca D. Elswick, M.Ed.Buchanan County Schools, Grundy, VA (retired)Teacher Consultant Appalachian Writing Project UVA Wise, Wise, VAAdjunct Faculty UVA Wise & Southwest VA Community CollegePlanning, Writing, Evaluating, and Presenting
Goals of Argument LiteracyArgumentative Writing: • Prepares students to consider two or more perspectives on a topic or issue. • Engages students in analytical and critical thinking. • Teaches students to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of multiple perspectives. • Teaches students to assess the validity of their own thinking and anticipate counterclaims in opposition to their arguments. • Prepares students with skills, oral and written, that are fundamental to success in the argument culture of the college community.
Standards of Learning • 11.1 The student will make informative and persuasive presentations. • 12.1 The Student will make a formal oral presentation in a group or individually. • 11.2 & 12.2 The student will examine how values and points of view are included or excluded and how media influences beliefs and behaviors. • 11.5 & 12.5 The student will read and analyze a variety of nonfiction texts. • 11.6 The student will write in a variety of forms, with an emphasis on persuasion. • 12.6 The Student will develop expository and informational, analyses, and persuasive/argumentative writings.
11.7 The student will self- and peer-edit writing for correct grammar, capitalization, punctuation, spelling, sentence structure, and paragraphing. • 12.7 The Student will write, revise, and edit writing. • 11.8 The student will analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and organize information from a variety of sources to produce a research product. • 12.8 The student will write documented research papers.
Key Terms in Academic Argument • Apply- Relate information to real-life examples; ask how information "works" in a different context. • Argue- Academic argument is constructed to make a point, not to "argue" heatedly. The characteristics of academic argument include language that is: impersonal, logical and evidence-based.
Purposes of an Academic Argument • Analyze an issue or a situation. • Make a case for your point of view. • Convince your reader or listener of the truth of something. • A convincing academic argument has two elements: • Assertion – What you are trying to prove - the claims. In written argument, the argument usually is crystallized in an essay's thesis sentence. • Proof– Evidence, appropriate in terms of type and quantity, to show the truth of the argument.
Step One: Choose the Topic • Topic should be age appropriate • Topic should appeal to the student. • Topic should identify GAP (genre, audience, purpose • Topic must be debatable to lend itself to research and argument/counter argument. • Topic must focus on a specific issue. I think that animals should have the same rights as human beings.
Suggested Topics for Argumentative Essays • Is torture ever acceptable? • Do curfews keep teens out of trouble? • Are cell phones dangerous? • Are law enforcement cameras an invasion of privacy? • Do we have a throw-away society? • Do violent video games cause behavior problems? • Are beauty pageants exploitative? • Should the military be allowed to recruit at high schools? • What age is appropriate for dating? • Does participation in sports keep teens out of trouble? • Should young children play little league sports? • Recycling should be mandatory for everyone. • Bullies should be kicked out of school. • Students in public schools should wear uniforms. • Should the government have the right to use surveillance on private citizens? • Should marijuana be legalized?
Step Two: Prewriting The critical thinking process is a question-guided process. • Step 1 - Write down everything you know about the topic. Put it away and come back to it later, and then ask yourself, “Is there anything else?” • Step 2 - Organize your information into groups or categories. Ask yourself, “How does this fit together?” “How are these elements related?” “What elements do they share?” • Step 3 – Determine the significance of your information. Ask yourself, “What can it be used for?” “What are its implications?” “Is there anything that doesn't fit, or that doesn't agree with the facts, or with other theories on the topic, or with my personal experience?” • Step 4 – Push past your limits. Always ask questions that you can't answer, and always ask more questions than you can answer. The interesting ideas are always the ones you haven’t thought of yet.
Persuasive Techniques • Power of Three • Emotive Language • Rhetorical Questions • Say Again • Undermine Opposing Views • Anecdotes • Direct Address • Exaggeration How do you make an effective point? While some consider persuasive and argument papers to be basically the same thing, an argument paper presents a stronger claim—possibly to a more resistant audience.
Definition Of Persuasive Techniques: FORCEFUL PHRASES Using words like ‘I urge’ or ‘I demand’ for emphasis RHETORICALQUESTIONS Questions that don’t require an answer STATISTICS Numbers/graphs which provide convincing information CHATTY STYLE Speak to the reader in a friendly way EMOTIVE WORDS Words that arouse emotion CRITICISE THE OPPOSITE OPINION Destroy the point of view of the opposing argument HUMOR Light hearted expression of a viewpoint. EVOKE SYMPATHIES Make the reader feel sorry for something or someone CLUSTERS OF THREE Three phrases or describing words used to emphasize REPETITION OF KEY WORDS AND PHRASES Say the same word or phrase more than once for emphasis PERSONAL PRONOUNS Using words like ‘we’, ‘us’ and ‘you’ to make the writing more appealing EXAGGERATION (HYPERBOLE) Being over-the-top to get a point across CATCHY PHRASES/SLOGANS Words that stick in your mind MAKE POSITIVE POINTS PERSONAL Thought provoking mind pictures MAKE NEGATIVE POINTS IMPERSONAL FIGURES OF SPEECH Similes and metaphors add color to the writing ANECDOTES Short stories to illustrate a point CONTRASTS Demonstrating differences in viewpoint SHORT SENTENCES PARAGRAPHS Make points easy to follow on the page SHOCK TACTICS Make the reader surprised or horrified QUOTE A RELIABLE SOURCE Support a point with the views of a professional EMOTIVE PICTURES Pictures or illustrations that are meant to arouse your emotions IMAGERY Choose vivid nouns and verbs PLAY ON THE READERS GUILT Make the reader feel bad about something
Questions to get your audience thinking – they don’t require an answer. Involve your audience by speaking to them directly using personal pronouns and shared experiences. Including little stories to illustrate a point. Destroy/criticise the opposing argument Being over-the-top to get a point across. Words, phrases and imagery that arouse an emotional response. Including lists of three items/reasons in your writing. Repeating the same word, phrase or idea more than once for emphasis.
Step Three: Gathering Information • Research both sides of the topic thoroughly. Even if you know which side you want to argue, research can give you ideas for counterarguments and help your paper show balance rather than bias. • When using the Internet, look for “good” sources. • Remember to look for sites that end in .edu and .gov. • A good source usually has an author. • A good source will have parenthetical citations and a works cited or references page.
Student Example: Essay Topic – Energy Drinks are Bad for You This student conducted research to prove her assertion/claim: Energy drinks are harmful to your health. She used this template to organize and analyze her research.
Step Four: Writing the Essay Introduce it. • Claim – The first paragraph must state your claim which is your response to your readings about the topic. • In the subsequent paragraphs, you will support your claim by presenting your interpretation of the different sides in the debate, evaluating the warranted and the unwarranted. • In the conclusion of your analytical essay explain the relation between the analyzed text and the presented argument once again drawing attention to the most important aspects of the issue. Explain it. Justify it. Drive it home.
The Revision Process • Did you present a supported written argument? • Look for places where you have considered your readers’ questions, beliefs, assumptions, and attitudes toward your subject. Where do you need to ground your argument more in the values and beliefs which you and your audience share? • Consider how well you used specific examples and illustrations. Are they simply dry facts and statistics, or “real” examples that have emotional power and significance? • Consider how well you used narrative to evoke certain feelings about the subject. Did you persuade your readers with your argument? • Look closely at your word choice. Did you use vivid nouns and verbs? Do they have the connotations you desire, those that reinforce your argument and evoke emotions that are consistent with your argument? • Look at your paper to see if you've supplied the kind of evidence likely to persuade your audience and whether you've addressed what they already think. If not, consider replacing or adding further evidence and refuting positions you have not included.
Picky Rules – Grammar Assessment Picky Rules are a set of rules that encompass grammar and mechanics, sentence and paragraph structure, content and word choice. Picky Rules are used during the editing part of the writing process. Students are responsible for the assessment and became active participants in the assessment process.
Grading with Rubrics • A rubric is a standard of performance used to communicate expectations of quality around a task. • Rubrics are shared with the student at the same time the assignment is given. • Teachers can involve the student in the creation of the rubric. Thereby, initiating a discussion of “good” versus “not good” work. • Rubrics are a basis for self-evaluation, reflection, and peer review. • Rubrics serve as an ongoing assessment by integrating performance and feedback.
Essay Rubric 5Accomplished Writing-Focused on topic-Logical progression of ideas-Sentence structure varied-Mature understanding of writing conventions-Specific details -All supportive facts are reported accurately • 4Proficient Writing-Focused on topic and includes few, if any, loosely related ideas-Transitional devices strengthen organization-Occasional errors; word choice is adequate-Commonplace understanding of writing conventions-Some specific details; support is loosely developed • -Almost all supportive facts are reported accurately
3Basic Writing-Focused but may contain ideas that are loosely connected to the topic-Lacks logical progression of ideas-General conventions are used-Partial, limited understanding of writing conventions-Development of support is uneven • -Most supportive facts are reported accurately • 2Limited Writing-Addresses topic but may lose focus by including loosely related topics-Includes a beginning, middle, and end, but these elements may bebrief
2 Continued -Errors in basic conventions, but common words are spelled correctly-Definite misunderstanding of writing conventions-Development of support is erratic and nonspecific -Few supportive facts are reported accurately • 1Poor Writing-Addresses topic but may focus by including loosely related ideas-Has an organizational pattern but may lack completeness or closure-Frequent and blatant errors in basic conventions; commonly usedwords may be misspelled-Obvious misunderstanding of writing conventions-Little if any development of the supporting ideas; support may consist of generalizations or fragmentary lists • -No supportive facts are reported or are inaccurately reported.
Planning an Oral Presentation of your Argumentative Essay • Consider your audience. How is what you are going to say affect them? • Structure your presentation by preparing notes and visual aids. • Practice the presentation: time yourself; have someone to listen and make suggestions; then make changes accordingly and practice again. • Evaluate your performance.
Bibliography • Rosenwasser and Stephen, Writing Analytically, 2nd edition, 2010. • Frank, Marjorie. Using Writing Portfolios to Enhance Instruction & Assessment. Incentive Publications. 1994. • Gottschalk and Hjortshoj. The Elements of Teaching Writing. Bedford/St. Martin’s. 2004. • National Writing Project. Because Writing Matters: Improving Student Writing in our Schools. 2006. • Lunsford, Ruszkiewicz and Walters. Everything’s an Argument.
Disclaimer • Reference within this presentation to any specific commercial or non-commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer or otherwise does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the Virginia Department of Education.