Last month I discussed how I introduced the argumentative writing process. This month I'm going to share how I put the process into action by having my students write their own argumentative essay. First, let me be honest. I had really dreaded introducing this concept to my 6th graders. I had quite a few students who really struggled w/ reading in general, so I knew explaining the whole argumentative essay process would be challenging to say the least. But I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised at how well they grasped it, after taking them step-by-step, through each stage of developing the essay using my Argumentative Writing Unit. This gave them the ground rules and all that they needed to know. Now I just needed them to APPLY what they had learned.
To do this, I used the amazing an article called, "Why You Won't Find Her on Spotify" from the amazing Scholastic Scope Magazine! For copyright issues, I can't post the article here, but if you Google the title, it should come right up. This article discusses streaming services, such as Spotify, Apple Music, etc. and whether they help or hurt the music business. The article talks about why Taylor Swift isn't available on certain streaming programs. After reading the article, I created a digital chart in Google Slides for students to access, similar to the one that's included at the end of the article. *FYI- In Scope, there were several graphic organizers that students are to use in the writing process. I modified them for my students and created digital versions. You can access all of these here. Please make a copy before using, so that you don't edit my original version. To do this, once you open the document, click "File," then choose the "Make a Copy" option.* Using the chart, students had to come up with 3 reasons streaming is not good and 3 reasons it is good. Then they were to choose the stance that they were going to take when they wrote their own essay, and use the 3 reasons to develop a thesis statement. This was Step 1 of the process:
In step 3, they were ready to begin their intro paragraphs. We had previously discussed writing strong hooks, background statements (as we call them-- some may call this a transition statement), and thesis statements when we began the Argumentative Writing Unit.
Before students began to work on their body paragraphs, I reminded them that each reason HAD to be supported w/ evidence from the article, another website, etc. When had previously spent a great deal of time on what this looks like and how to locate the evidence in the Argumentative Unit I mentioned before. After gathering evidence for each reason, they completed the graphic organizer below in step 4.
For step 5, the conclusion paragraph, we reviewed that it should begin with a lead-in statement, where they acknowledge the topic. Then they will restate the thesis statement by beginning with a concluding transition word. The last sentence--the concluding statement-- will be their last chance to convince the reader that their side is the best. Again, they did this using the graphic organizer below:
My students LOVED using an article that they were interested in, and I really received some excellent argumentative essays after doing it this way. What has worked with your students? Where do you find topics to use when attempting help your kids master these skills? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below. Also, make sure to stop by the other blogs to get more incredible writing tips!