Current Unit: Argument & Advocacy - Researching Debatable Issues
Recognizing that opinions are not always directly stated, but hidden within the way a text is crafted, is an essential skill. In this unit, we dig deep pulling in everything we know about informational texts and then adding new layers that have us questioning the information and who wrote it at every turn. We've talked a lot about pushing our thinking as writers, this time we are pushing our thinking about what we are made to think.
How do you mine a text for relevant information that will support the side you are defending?
What aspects of a text should you be thinking and wondering about? (the author's background, how do the numbers given stake up against other information, why are some things affected and others aren't)
How do you summarize so that you hold onto what is most essential?
How does perspective play a role in what is written?
What kind of craft techniques do opinion authors use?
Current Unit: Research-based Argument Essays
It is easy to have an opinion and hard to stop yourself from forming one too quickly. In this unit, we are researching a debatable topic and we are putting into practice the skills that are needed to form sound arguments and organize them in a way that sways others to agree with us. This year's topic: Should zoos still be allowed to operate in the United States?
When beginning an investigation, research both sides.
Gather your evidence (facts, micro stories, etc.) into common topics - from these develop three major reason that would support your side.
Balance the evidence with explanations (analysis). Think of a cake - there is a balance between the cake and the frosting.
How do we use carefully chosen quotes to bolster our arguments?
How do we craft strong endings that encourage the reader to take action?