The Art of Teaching Argument


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a day long workshop of elements of argument, building a culture of argument in the classroom, task and learning progressions and effective argument task design

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The Art of Teaching Argument

  1. 1.   The  Art  of  Teaching  Argument   Delia  DeCourcy      Susan  Wilson-­‐Golab   Oakland  Schools   ELA  -­‐  Social  Studies  -­‐  Science  
  2. 2. Today’s Workshop Goals •  To review the foundational moves of •  •  •  argument. To experience how to build a culture of argument in your classroom. To explore a possible argument task progression for your students. To experiment with effective argument task design.
  3. 3. Argument vs. Persuasion Argument Persuasion Argument is about making a case in support of a claim in everyday affairs – in science, policy making, in courtrooms, and so forth. In a persuasive essay, you can select the most favorable evidence, appeal to emotions, and use style to persuade your readers. Your single purpose is to be convincing. - George Hillocks, Jr., Teaching Argument Writing -- Kinneavy and Warriner 1993 logical appeals advertising, propaganda
  4. 4. Argument in the CCSS Reading Anchor Standards: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.8 Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence. Writing Anchor Standards: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence. History, Science & Technical Subjects: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.6-8.1 Write arguments focused on disciplinespecific content.
  5. 5. Your Goals for Your Teaching Practice? Identify an open-ended question or two about teaching argument writing that you would like to explore during this 2-day workshop. pair & share post to the wall
  6. 6. Arguments Surround Us
  7. 7. Arguments Surround Us  
  8. 8. Unpack the Argument INFORMAL WRITE 1.  Select one visual argument from the page. 2.  Identify a possible argument that is implied by this image/text. (claim) 3.  Name evidence to support your claim. (details from the image, anecdotal, etc.) 4.  Explain your reasoning.
  9. 9. Share & Analyze 1.  Share your flash draft with a partner. 2.  Partner say back. What was the claim evidence reasoning (connection between claim & evidence) •  •  • 
  10. 10. Share & Analyze HAVE A CONVERSATION: FEEDBACK •  What was the strongest part of the argument and why? •  What could the writer add or subtract to improve the argument?
  11. 11. Arguments in the Real World
  12. 12. Students’ Concept of Argument/ Writing What high schoolers sometimes come to us with (and what can get in the way of their college writing/thinking): * a tendency to see writing and research as report rather than discovery; not seeing or believing that you can write to find and hone your ideas, and that some of this comes from the richly complex relationships that evolve between ideas that may take sentences and paragraphs (i.e., not just a "However") to explain and unpack; in conjunction with this, not always knowing or believing how thoughtful responses from readers (including themselves) can really help along a writer's process of discovery. - MSU Writing Instructors
  13. 13. Foundational Concepts of Argument •  Claim •  Evidence (standards and nature of evidence •  •  •  differs by subject area) Reasoning/Analysis/Warrant - an explanation of how the evidence supports the claim Counterargument/Rebuttals - refute competing claims Consideration of audience
  14. 14. Toulmin Model
  15. 15. Argument as a Habit of Mind •  In your teaching •  In your students’ o  o  o  thinking discussion writing •  Teach across the year •  Consistently use rhetorical language to build students’ academic vocabulary
  16. 16. Instructional Strategies to Build Argument Culture & Habits of Mind annotation talk to the text text in the middle informal writing first thoughts respond to a prompt visual thinking routines flash drafts discourse Socratic seminar structured small groups - test ideas talk protocol debates think alouds •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  • 
  17. 17. BREAK Join the Art of Teaching Argument Community •  Log in to your Google account •  Visit: •  search for The Art of Teaching Argument •  Click Join Community •  We will accept your invitation •  Once you’re a member, click on the cog (settings) to •  turn your notifications on. Share your current interests, curiosities, and challenges with teaching argument writing.
  19. 19. LUNCH!
  20. 20. Coding Activity
  21. 21. Shifting Our Language Curriculum and Assessment
  22. 22. List  of  Events                  Learning  Progression  
  23. 23. Working  at  the  “Edge”  of  Learning   Progressions  invite  a  developmental  view  of   learning  because  they  lay  out  how  exper>se   develops  over  a  more  or  less  extended  period   of  >me,  beginning  with  rudimentary  forms  of   learning  and  moving  through  progressively   more  sophis>cated  states.     -­‐Margaret  Heritage,  p.  37   Forma>ve  Assessment  in  Prac>ce    
  24. 24. What’s  a  Learning  Progression?   What  it  is…   What  it  isn’t…   Sequence  set  of  subskills  and   bodies  of  enabling  knowledge     Composed  of  step-­‐by-­‐step   building  blocks  needed  to   aMain  target  curricular  aim       Flawless     Un-­‐changing     One  size  fits  all         Transforma)ve  Assessment,  W.  James  Popham      
  25. 25. Building Blocks of Argument Enabling Knowledge claim evidence counterargument audience •  •  •  •  Subskill reasoning analysis angling evidence for audience •  •  • 
  26. 26. Example Today’s Task Progression •  video analysis •  visual argument •  argument talk •  protocol coding activity What has our learning skill progression been today? TURN & TALK
  27. 27. Today’s Learning Progression 1.  video analysis: notice pattern of argument 2.  visual argument: make a claim, identify argument traits and give feedback 3.  talk protocol: gather evidence, make a claim, argue with an opponent, angle evidence for a particular audience 4.  coding activity: identify argument traits, norm across content areas
  28. 28. GRADES  3-­‐5  LUCY  CALKINS:     BOXES  &  BULLETS   Thesis Statement ·∙  Parallel Topic Sentence #1 ·∙  Parallel Topic Sentence #2 ·∙  Parallel Topic Sentence #3 Concluding Statement
  29. 29. THESIS  PARAGRAPH     Thesis  Statement  (Stance,  Position,  Claim)     May  require  sentence  order  or  sentence  #.     BODY  PARAGRAPH  #1    Topic  Sentence  (Least  important  point  or  reason)    Include  evidence,  explanation,  and  concluding  sentence     BODY  PARAGRAPH  #2   Topic  Sentence  (2nd  most  important  point  or  reason)     Include  evidence,  explanation,  and  concluding  sentence     BODY  PARAGRAPH  #3   Topic  Sentence  (Most  Important  Point  or  Reason)   Include  evidence,  explanation,  and  concluding  sentence     CONCLUDING  PARAGRAPH     Restate  Thesis     Include  summary  and/or  comment  
  30. 30. KEYHOLE  ESSAY   Thesis  Paragraph                  General:  Grabber                Specific:  Thesis  (Claim)       Body  Paragraph  #1   Topic  Sentence  (Specific  Point)    Evidence,  explanaeon,  transieonal  conclusion     Body  Paragraph  #2   Topic  Sentence  (Specific  Point)    Evidence,  explanaeon,  transieonal  conclusion     Body  Paragraph  #3   Topic  Sentence  (Specific  Point)    Evidence,  explanaeon,  transieonal  conclusion     Concluding  Paragraph     Rephrase  Thesis  (Claim)   Summarize  Points      
  31. 31. Students & Structures/Reasoning What high schoolers sometimes come to us with (and what can get in the way of their college writing/thinking): * a relentless search for / use of formulas (3- to 5paragraph essays) and "rules" (i.e., Never use "I" in an essay; Never begin a sentence with "But," etc.) rather than focusing on audiences, purposes, contexts, etc. In other words, not recognizing, as a friend of mine says, that there are "different spokes for different folks," and that different contexts invite different kinds of writing. - MSU Writing Instructors
  32. 32. Arguments: encouraging complexity COMPLEXITY consider alternatives, evaluate evidence, and think critically Teacher provided question/problem Teacher provided topic WHO DECIDES? control of question/problem control of data/evidence Student generated response Student generated question/problem + response
  33. 33. Developing  Task  Trajectories     Nominaeons   Best  in  Show Wrieng  to  make  the   world  different(fixable   problem  in   community)       Elevating the quality of argument: create a trajectory across a year and grade levels that develops cognitive complexity. -Mary Ehrenworth
  34. 34. Developing  Task  Trajectories     Social  issues  with   meaning  for  writer     Research  items  having   a  direct  impact  on   writer   TURN & TALK: How does each task layer more complexity than the previous task?
  35. 35. Task Trajectory - Brainstorm! - pairs/trios - Google Community: Task Trajectories Subject Grade Level - Question/problem for each task •  •  1.  Best in Show 2.  Nominations 3.  Writing to make the world different (community problem) 4.  Social issues with meaning for writing 5.  Research on topic directly impacting
  36. 36. Designing Argument Tasks
  37. 37. More & Shorter Tasks •  Assign more writing tasks of shorter length or smaller •  •  scope rather than fewer tasks of great length or large scope. Students get more opportunity to practice basic skills and can refine their approach from assignment to assignment based on feedback they receive. BENEFIT: frees you to think beyond the large paper and be more creative in the type of writing you assign
  38. 38. Big Picture •  Place the task outcomes in the larger frame of the learning progression for the class: o  How is this particular task a piece of the “big picture” §  for the writing task §  for the unit §  for the your year-long class?
  39. 39. Purpose •  What do you want students to show you in this •  assignment? What is the purpose of the task/assignment? o  to find evidence? o  to develop a claim? o  to put forth an original ideas? o  to create a more nuanced argument? o  to synthesize research to examine a new hypothesis? •  Making the purpose(s) of the assignment explicit helps students complete the task and/or write the kind of
  40. 40. Audience •  Who is the audience the writer is addressing? o  o  o  classmates? an imagined audience? (the EPA, Congress, literary experts, the NY Times Editorial Board) an authentic audience? •  Specificity of audience affects o  o  o  o  evidence selection evidence angling counterargument writing style
  41. 41. Learning Outcomes Specify learning outcomes: •  What should students learn from doing the assignment? •  What should the experience of it DO for them? •  Consider your task and skills progression here. Does the assignment build on what they learned previously and demand more of them?
  42. 42. Clarity of Process •  Include expectations for process steps/activities: o  Are there multiple steps? o  How will you support the writing process? o  At what point will you check in to formatively assess? o  What intermediate steps and procedures would be useful for a longer piece?
  43. 43. Let’s Evaluate •  Read and evaluate the tasks provided based •  •  on the the provided criteria Discuss as a table - find consensus? Share scores with the larger group.
  44. 44. Design a Task •  Works with your curriculum before March 11 •  •  based on where your students are on task trajectory Can collect and share exemplar Consider where you are in the argument learning progression o  o  preceding skill & content development where will you go after this task to continue to build skills
  45. 45. Design a Task o  Before March 11: Post to Google Community before March 11 §  Google Drive folder (Argument Writing Tasks) o  On March 11: Bring student artifact exemplar
  46. 46. Share Your Task •  Provide context •  Share thinking •  Discuss challenges & concerns with implementation
  47. 47. Reflection on the Day •  How has your thinking about teaching argument writing shifted today? •  Reflect on the question you generated at the beginning of the day.