Writing and Presenting a Persuasive Paper Grade Nine

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1 Ohio Standards Connection Writing Applications Benchmark E Write a persuasive piece that states a clear position, includes relevant information and offers compelling in the form of facts and details. Indicator 5 Write persuasive compositions that: a. establish and develop a controlling idea; b. support arguments with detailed ; c. exclude irrelevant information; and d. cite sources of information. Communication: Oral and Visual Benchmark F Provide persuasive presentations that use valued speaking techniques and strategies and include a clear and controlling idea or thesis. Indicator 10 Deliver persuasive presentations that: a. establish and develop a logical and controlled argument; b. include relevant, differentiating between and opinion to support a position and to address counter-arguments or listener bias; Lesson Summary: Students consider issues in their school and/or community they would like to change, interview people in the school and/or community for background information and facts, research comparable situations from published sources and construct a persuasive paper expressing a position on the issue. Then, they present their research in a formal speech to their class. Estimated Duration: Five hours and 50 minutes Commentary: This lesson focuses primarily on the writing of the paper. Please see the lesson, Delivering a Persuasive Speech, for ideas specifically tied to delivering a persuasive speech. I like all aspects of the lesson. The use of an editorial as the pre-assessment through the development of a persuasive paper and speech are excellent ways to teach these [benchmarks]. I particularly like the real world connections here. Students like to feel their opinions matter and can make a difference. Pre-Assessment: Distribute a letter to the editor or editorial from a local paper or a persuasive essay. These editorials should include persuasive techniques such as repetition, appeals to emotion or reason, authoritative support, etc. Individually respond to the following: a. Find and quote the controlling idea in the editorial. b. What is presented to support the controlling idea? c. Rate the from most (4) to least (1) persuasive. Instructional Tip: Students may be directed to circle the controlling idea and underline or highlight the two in different colors rather than requiring students to copy the quotes. Share their responses in small groups and come to agreement on their rankings. Share responses with the entire class. 1

2 c. use persuasive strategies such as rhetorical devices, anecdotes and appeals to emotion, authority and reason; d. use common organizational structures as appropriate (e.g., cause-effect, comparecontrast, problemsolution); e. and use speaking techniques (e.g., reasoning, emotional appeal, case studies or analogies). Research Benchmark C Organize information from various resources and select appropriate sources to support central ideas, concepts and themes. Indicator 4 Compile and organize important information and select appropriate sources to support central ideas, concepts and themes. Writing Process Benchmark B Determine the usefulness of organizers and apply appropriate pre-writing tasks. Indicator 5 Use organizational strategies (e.g., notes and outlines) to plan writing. Scoring Guidelines: Ensure that students identify appropriate details and the controlling idea and can justify their rankings. Show how their answers can complete a graphic organizer, like Persuasive Organizer, Attachment A. Post-Assessment: Write a persuasive paper. Deliver the content of the paper as a speech. Scoring Guidelines: Grade papers based on a holistic rubric, see Essay Scoring Rubric, Attachment B. The Writing Skills Scoring Scale, Attachment C can also be used to assess writing skills. Using the Persuasive Organizer, Attachment A, peers should ensure speeches contain an obvious controlling idea and persuasive supporting. At least five students and the instructor should respond to each speech, allowing students considerable feedback. These evaluations are designed to be formative; if a grade is desired as a result of these evaluations, a rubric such as the one designed for the lesson, Delivering a Persuasive Speech, could be used. In that case, the lowest and highest student evaluations may be discarded to ensure appropriate evaluation results. The peer and instructor responses should be compared to the student s intended controlling idea and supporting details to ensure the audience received the intended message and should serve as the basis for a self-evaluation paragraph submitted to the teacher. Instructional Procedures: Day One (Days are based on 50-minute periods) 1. Based on the results of the pre-assessment, review persuasive structure and devices. Display a copy of the editorial from the pre-assessment in which individual parts are labeled (i.e., controlling idea, supporting points, rhetorical devices, etc.). 2

3 Instructional Tip: This is a good point in the lesson to discuss specific rhetorical strategies and their persuasive purposes. Refer to the lesson, Delivering a Persuasive Speech, for a handout on persuasive devices. 2. Think-Pair-Share a list of issues about which people in the school or community disagree. a. Individually brainstorm a list of problems. b. With partners, compare the list of problems. c. Share the lists as an entire class and record these for the class. 3. Organize the issues students generate into categories (e.g., athletics, laws, social groups, etc.), creating an affinity diagram. 4. Direct each student to select an issue that seems promising and to free write (write nonstop in a stream-of-consciousness style) for 10 minutes, presenting their viewpoint on the issue. Encourage students to consider and refute arguments against their views as they write. Explain that this issue might be developed into a persuasive paper at the end of the lesson. 5. Ask students to determine possible purposes for their writing: Do they want to change the minds of their readers, to make them take action or to encourage them to understand a different point of view? 6. Repeat Steps Three and Four with a different issue. This way, if students cannot find supporting information on a topic, they can shift to a backup topic. Day Two (these activities may require more than one day) 7. Instruct students to gather facts, examples, details, observations and other people s opinions on one of the issues they chose. a. Encourage students to find a variety of sources (e.g., books, periodicals or the Internet) for both the positive and negative sides of the issue. b. Encourage students to survey their classmates on their issues. They should record quotes from other students whom they interview. c. Encourage students to interview authoritative sources about the issues (e.g., a police officer about a law or the athletic director about Title IX). d. Direct students to cite all sources using an appropriate citation guide. Instructional Tip: Help students develop interview questions. While these may need to be developed for each student s specific topic, many can be developed as a group. Encourage students to offer possible questions and record these on the board. Possible general questions include: 1) When did this issue first become important in the community? 2) How is the person being interviewed involved in the debate of this issue? 3) What is the basic controversy behind this issue? 4) How will the controversy be resolved? 8. Students should evaluate the chosen topic based on the available research and discard topics if there is little research to support their views. 3

4 Day Three (these activities may require more than one day) 9. Students draft the persuasive paper. a. First, students complete a graphic organizer, such as Attachment A, to organize the information found in research. b. Next, they share completed organizers with partners. Partners should ensure the controlling idea is debatable (establish that both a positive and a negative view are plausible) and the and details actually support the view. Use The Persuasive Organizer, Attachment A helps show that and details fit together directly. Instructional Tip: If a good student example is available, display it on an overhead or distribute copies with labeled parts such as the controlling idea, main points, supporting details and rhetorical devices. c. Students should write the draft of the paper in which the introduction clearly states the issue and the writer s view, multiple paragraphs organize around logical and incorporate research supports and ends with a conclusion that offers a call to action or an explanation of the importance of shifting viewpoints on the issue. d. During the drafting, conduct one-on-one conferences with the students about the content of their writing. Keep these conferences short and ask students to tell about their piece; do not read or write on the drafts. Resist making judgments about the ideas; just ask questions about their topics. e. As students complete the drafts, engage them in a group share session. This is similar to the one-on-one conference, but all writers respond to an individual writer s work. 10. Students should revise their papers into final drafts to be turned in and presented the next day. Day Four 11. Students present papers as speeches and complete the formative post-assessment. Instructional Tip: The instructions for the post-assessment focus on the structure of the paper/speech (controlling idea,, etc.). If presentation aspects of the speech will be a focus, insert the following instructional step before step 10 on Day Three. Students brainstorm criteria for and may even develop a rubric about important speech presentation points (i.e., volume, enunciation, eye contact, gestures/movement, etc.). Differentiated Instructional Support: Instruction is differentiated according to learner needs to help all learners either meet the intent of the specified indicator(s) or, if the indicator is already met, to advance beyond the specified indicator(s). Students with good research skills can evaluate the reliability of a variety of sources through comparing and contrasting the information found. 4

5 They also can act as student aides to students experiencing difficulty with the research aspect of the assignment. Students who have difficulty in research may be provided with a set of materials to support their ideas or have the number of required sources reduced. Students who have difficulty with writing may need to say their ideas aloud and have them scripted for them. Students who have difficulty presenting in front of a live audience may make a video recording of their presentation or present in front of the teacher or small groups. Provide and teach how to use a graphic organizer to help students separate pro and con views on the issue. Extensions: Have students submit their papers to a local newspaper for publication or send them to an authority to raise awareness. Have students use The Persuasive Organizer, Attachment A, to evaluate historical or contemporary speeches or the arguments from a persuasive television program on news, politics or sports. Use the issues developed in this project as the subject of a class debate. Research documentation (citations) could be an additional focus for instruction on Day Two. Homework Options and Home Connections: The interview portions of this assignment will need to be completed as homework. Survey adults on the issue and use this survey for supporting details in the persuasive paper. Give the speech to adults who have differing views on the issue before presenting the speech to the class. Get responses to the following questions from these adults: 1) Was the speech thought-provoking? 2) Did I present enough to support my view? 3) What can I do to improve the delivery of my speech? Interdisciplinary Connections: Choose a historical event and write a paper expressing its positive or negative effect on humanity. Social Studies Social Studies Skills and Methods Standards Benchmark: B. Use data and to support or refute a thesis. Indicator: 4. Develop and present a research project including: a. collection of data b. narrowing and refining the topic c. construction and support of thesis Science: Choose an ecological issue and write a paper for or against governmental action. Scientific Inquiry Standard Benchmark: A. Participate in and apply the processes of scientific investigation to create models and to design, conduct, evaluate and communicate the results of these investigations. 5

6 Indicator: 6. Draw logical conclusions based on scientific knowledge and from investigations. Materials and Resources: The inclusion of a specific resource in any lesson formulated by the Ohio Department of Education should not be interpreted as an endorsement of that particular resource, or any of its contents, by the Ohio Department of Education. The Ohio Department of Education does not endorse any particular resource. The Web addresses listed are for a given site s main page, therefore, it may be necessary to search within that site to find the specific information required for a given lesson. Please note that information published on the Internet changes over time, therefore the links provided may no longer contain the specific information related to a given lesson. Teachers are advised to preview all sites before using them with students. For the teacher: overhead/blackboard, lesson attachments For the students: access to library resources and/or the Internet Vocabulary: controlling idea rhetorical devices supporting details Technology Connections: Use the Internet to access Web sites to find supporting details. Use presentation software to support the speech. Research Connections: Lyman, F. "The Responsive Classroom Discussion. In Anderson, A. S. (Ed.), Mainstreaming Digest, College Park, Md.: University of Maryland College of Education, Think-Pair-Share is one of the most common cooperative-learning structures. It is extremely versatile because it can be used for higher-level thinking, as well as basic review and recall. It is important to follow the steps exactly to avoid the "group work" pitfalls. In this structure, the teacher will ask students to think about a topic, have them pair with partners to discuss it and, finally, have them share their ideas with a group. Marzano, Robert J., Jane E. Pollock and Debra Pickering. Classroom that Works: Research-Based Strategies for Student Achievement. Alexandria, Va.: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Setting objectives and providing feedback establish directions for learning and ways to monitor progress. 6

7 Zemelman, Steven, Harvey Daniels, and Arthur Hyde. Best Practice: New Standards of Teaching and Learning in America s Schools. Portsmouth, N.H.: Heinemann, Help students find real purposes for writing. Zorfass, Judith, & Harriet Copol. The I-Search: Guiding Students toward Relevant Research. Educational Leadership. 53 (1995) Allow students to choose motivating themes. Allow students to follow and revise their plans as they gather information. Attachments: Attachment A, Persuasive Organizer Attachment B, Essay Scoring Rubric Attachment C, Writing Skills Scoring Scale 7

8 CONTROLLING IDEA Writing and Presenting a Persuasive Paper Grade Nine Attachment A Persuasive Organizer EVIDENCE (main points) RANK (order of effectiveness) FACTS (supporting details) 8

9 Attachment B Essay Scoring Rubric Grades of A+ and A These are accomplished although not flawless papers that demonstrate much strength. Papers at the A+ level demonstrate consistent control in developing interesting ideas in an organized fashion to convey the purpose of the writing to readers. Such papers are likely to be distinctive in the strategies used to present information. Stylistic choices on the word and sentence structure level are consistently effective and may stand out as powerful or memorable, and the use of writing conventions presents no major distractions or confusions for readers. Papers at the A level also demonstrate consistent control of the paper s development and organization but are less likely to be distinctive in the strategies used to present ideas, examples and details. Stylistic choices on the word and sentence level are consistently effective and, on occasion, may stand out as powerful or memorable, and the use of writing conventions presents few major distractions or confusions for readers. Grades of B and C These are adequate papers that present a mix of strengths and weaknesses. Papers at the B level demonstrate reasonable control in developing ideas in an organized fashion to convey the purpose of the writing to readers. Such papers, more often than not, employ effective strategies to present information. Generally, these papers will have adequate examples and details to illustrate ideas. Stylistic choices on the word and sentence level are generally effective although not likely to stand out as powerful or memorable. The use of writing conventions may present occasional distractions or confusions for readers. Papers at the C level only suggest reasonable control in developing ideas in an organized fashion designed to convey the purpose of the writing to readers. Such papers may, at times, employ effective strategies to present information; these papers are likely to be somewhat scant at times in offering examples and details to illustrate ideas. Stylistic choices on the word and sentence level are effective at times but may often be pedestrian or formulaic. The use of writing conventions may present occasional distractions or confusions for readers. Grades of D and F These are less-than-adequate papers which present more weaknesses than strengths. Papers at the D level do not suggest reasonable control in developing ideas in an organized fashion to convey the purpose of the writing to readers. Such papers infrequently employ effective strategies to present information; these papers are likely to be scant in offering examples and details to illustrate ideas. Stylistic choices on the word and sentence level are generally pedestrian or formulaic. The use of writing conventions regularly presents distractions or confusions for readers. Papers at the F level do not suggest much if any control in developing ideas in an organized fashion to convey the purpose of the writing to readers. Such papers rarely employ effective strategies to present information; these papers are likely to be scant in offering examples and details to illustrate ideas. Stylistic choices on the word and sentence level are generally pedestrian or formulaic. The use of writing conventions may present frequent distractions or confusions for readers. 9

10 Attachment C Writing Skills Scoring Scale Aspect Development: use of appropriate examples and interesting details to illustrate ideas in order to convey meaning and purpose to an audience Organization: use of words, sentences and paragraphs relay the central idea and connect it to others Expression: use of word choice and sentence structure to convey personal style and voice in a paper Conventions: use of correct spelling, punctuation and grammar Consistent Consistent Consistent Consistent Reasonable Reasonable Reasonable Reasonable Inconsistent Inconsistent Inconsistent Inconsistent No No No No 10

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