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Strategies to Teach Argumentative Writing


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Develop a Yearlong Vision

Redefine argument in the writing curriculum

Download 11×17 document of the K-12 Persuasive/Argumentative Writing Standards | Common Core | Indiana | Ohio

Plan Essential Skills

Focus on the “trump” traits

Launching the Writer's Workshop
Launching the Writer's Workshop

Execute Dynamic Mini-Lessons

Clarify informative versus argumentative style

Read the world

Identify topics you care about. List things wrong with the world.

Writing-Time Handout | Template

Parent Letter requesting stamps, addresses, and envelopes

Consider debatable topics

Reveal argumentative ideas that are part of student’s everyday digital worlds. | Argument in the Real World

Students can find argumentative writing topics on

Conduct a small argumentative activity by having students research to confirm a Snapple fact.

Read newspaper articles on everyday topics to use as a basis for debate.
Horizontal articles | Vertical articles

Consider the different perspectives for each newspaper article. Download corresponding prompts.

Check out the ABC News Report about the controversial decision to publish graphic images on the effects of smoking.

Identify character perspectives

Read mentor text to determine character opinions/feelings in literature.

Compare Perspective A versus Perspective B

Read mentor text that reveals a situation and two different character perspectives.

Farmer v. Animals

Spoon’s life | Pros v. Cons

Dog v. Cat

Duck v. Rabbit

Arnie v. Owner

Ant v. Kid

Anticipate more than two perspectives

The same topic/situation is the subject for multiple characters within these texts.

Identify author perspective within informational text

Transition from reading character feelings in literature to author viewpoints in nonfiction.

Check out additional sources for informational text.

Infer a commercial’s claim

Start with commercials where the claim is very clear.

Then move to less obvious arguments.

Choose a position in 4 steps

Teach students to first chart the perspectives before choosing a position.

Review this video clip explaining the four steps to align with the strongest position, not personal opinion.

Concord South Elementary kindergartners execute the four steps before deciding if the character is a duck or rabbit.

Identify details for all perspectives

Identify details, facts, pros/cons, strengths/weaknesses, etc. for all sides.

Identify details for both sides | Template

Organize details pulled from sources both sides | Template

List details for all perspectives | Template

List details for all perspectives | Template

List details for all perspectives | Example

State your opinion/thesis within the introduction

 Introduce the various information that comprises the opening paragraph.

State your position within a main-idea sentence

Primary teachers often provide sentence starters for the opening sentence.

State your claim within a narrow thesis sentence

A strong, narrow thesis statement is typically much longer than the broad, general one.

Qualify thesis statements in order to strengthen their argument.