Literacy Retreat 2017
Prepare Argumentative Thinkers
SKILL 1: Recognize a debatable topic
SKILL 2: Study the sides; Analyze the perspectives
SKILL 3: Write the opinion/thesis statement
SKILL 4: Generate reasons supported by details
SKILL 5: Present ideas with an appropriate tone
SKILL 6: Acknowledge the opposition
Additional argumentative writing resources
Redefine the argumentative thinking process
Recognize a debatable topic
Differentiate between informative and argumentative when introducing the three major writing purposes—Persuade, Inform, Entertain.
Lay that foundation with pictures books and other literature. Start with texts that express opinions.
Move onto literature that reveals multiple perspectives.
Read informational text
Eventually, reveal multiple perspectives within informational texts. The Perspectives Flipbook series offers two major positions on historical events and hot topics.
Several websites offer excellent informative text that reveals hot topics, current trends, and kid-friendly issues.
Browse commercials organized into a variety of categories on iSpot.tv.
What does the Dawn PSA not say? Check out this blog that reveals that the company sells their products in plastic bottles and Proctor and Gamble tests products on animals. This blog is an argument. (Blog no longer exists.)
Study the sides; Analyze the perspective
Teach the 4 steps
Teach students to first chart the perspectives before choosing a position. Watch the kindergartners at Concord South Elementary discern between duck details and rabbit details before determining which animal they think is depicted within Duck! Rabbit!
Collect details for all perspectives
Identify details, facts, pros/cons, strengths/weaknesses, etc. for all sides.
Write the opinion/thesis statement
State the position on a narrow topic
The strength in an opinion sentence/thesis statement is knowing its limitations.
Qualify the opinion
Generate reasons supported by details
Collect details to infer reasons
Create your own simple flashcards for any hands-on sort using kitzkikz.com.
- Type facts and categories into the table.
- Click PDF to move to the next screen.
- Modify settings and/or click “View PDF.”
- Print flashcards from this same screen.
Present ideas with an appropriate tone
Start with video clips
It’s not just what is said but how it is said. Recognize the power of body language, facial expressions, and hand gestures in communicating attitude.
Acknowledge the opposition
Share the floor
Provide students ways to actively listen and respond to one another’s ideas. During class conversations, Talk Moves are a fabulous technique to foster this notion. And check out the first grader who “respectfully disagrees” with a peer during a close reading (at approximately 4:30 in the video).
Apply 4 Talk Moves in whole-class discussion.