English Language Arts Curriculum

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1 Community Consolidated School District 181 English Language Arts Curriculum Opinion/Argument Writing Scope Grades K-8

2 Kindergarten Opinion Writing Scope Essential Questions & Understandings 1. Why write? I can write to tell what I think (i.e., my opinions) about a topic or text. 2. What do I think about this topic/text? Everyone has an opinion about a topic/text. An opinion should tell what I think about a topic/text and why I think that way. 3. Where do opinions come from? Opinions come from what I know, learn and experience. 4. How do I share what I think about a topic/text? I can share my opinions through my writing, pictures, or telling. 5. Why share an opinion? Sharing an opinion about a topic or book can make someone else think about something or think differently about something. Key Knowledge An opinion is what someone thinks, prefers, or believes about something (e.g., a topic, a book). A fact is something that can be proven as true. A topic is the main idea the writer is writing about. A reason is an explanation for why someone thinks something. Examples help show and prove reasons and opinions. The title is the name of a book (or other written piece). Essential Skills (Standards) With prompting and support Tell the difference between fact and opinion. 2. Identify a book or topic and state an opinion about it. 3. Combine pictures, dictation, and writing to create an opinion piece. 4. Support an opinion or preference with reason(s), example(s), and/or fact(s).

3 First Grade Opinion Writing Scope 1. Why write? Essential Questions & Understandings People write to share what they think (e.g., their opinions) or believe about a topic or text. People write opinions to make someone else think differently about something. 2. Where do ideas for opinion writing come from? Writers get ideas for opinion writing from what they read, what they care about, and what they experience. 3. How can people share what they think? People share what they think by expressing their opinions. (Everyone has an opinion!) There are many ways to share opinions (e.g., letters, speeches). The "best" way to share depends on the writer's purpose and audience. 4. What makes for a good opinion? How should it be organized? What should it include? Good opinions tell what a person thinks, give reasons why, and stick with an idea from beginning to end. All reasons for an opinion should connect to the main idea/opinion Key Knowledge Writing types, features, and formats An opinion is what someone thinks, prefers, or believes about something (e.g., a topic, a book). Opinions can be expressed in different writing formats (e.g., friendly letter/ , book report). Elements A topic is the main thing the writer is writing about. An introduction/hook includes the writer s opinion. A reason is an explanation for why someone thinks something. Reasons can be given in order of importance (most important to least important). Examples help show and prove reasons and opinions. A fact is something that can be proven as true. Closure is how a writer "wrap-up" or finish expressing his/her opinion.

4 Essential Skills (Standards) Independently 1. Distinguish fact from opinion. 2. Form an opinion about a topic or a text. 3. Support an opinion with one or more reasons. 4. Introduce the topic of an opinion piece (i.e., by naming the book or topic they are writing about). 5. Provide some sense of closure for an opinion piece. With prompting and support Use teacher-selected resources to gather facts that support an opinion. 2. Distinguish between important and unimportant reasons (i.e., relevant and irrelevant). 3. Use/select an appropriate writing format.

5 Second Grade Opinion Writing Scope 1. Why write? Essential Questions & Understandings People write to express opinions about a topic or text. People write opinions to make someone else think, feel, or act differently. 2. Where do ideas for opinions come from? Writers get ideas for opinions from what they read, what they're interested in or care about, and what is happening in the world around them. 3. What are the parts of an opinion? How should they be organized? Opinions identify a topic or text, state an overall opinion about it, and give reasons that connect to that opinion. Opinion pieces are organized in a way that makes sense to the reader. Writers of opinion pieces create "sense" by making sure all reasons connect to the opinion. 4. What makes an opinion clear? Opinions are clear when the reader understands what the writer thinks or believes and why. Opinions must be clear before they can be persuasive/convincing. (The audience has to know what the writer is saying before they can decide whether they agree!) 5. How can people share their opinions? There are many ways to share opinions (e.g., letters, speeches). The "best" way depends on the writer's purpose and audience.

6 Writing types, formats, and organization Key Knowledge Targeted formats/outlets for opinion writing An opinion is what someone thinks, prefers, or believes about something (e.g., a topic, a book). One organizational pattern for an opinion piece is introduce the opinion, give reasons for opinion that are supported by details, conclude the opinion. Elements A reason is an explanation for why someone thinks something. Reasons should be supported with details (e.g., examples, facts). Some reasons are more important than others. Not all possible reasons can or should be included in an opinion. An introduction/hook includes the writer s opinion. Linking words connect ideas, opinions, and reasons. Examples include because, and, also, first, second, last. A conclusion/concluding statement or section makes a connection to the overall opinion. (Note: It should move beyond "the end" or "that's what I think about that.") Essential Skills (Standards) In their opinion writing, students 1. Distinguish fact from opinion. 2. Develop two or more distinct reasons to support an opinion. 3. Support reasons for an opinion with details (facts, examples). 4. Distinguish between important and unimportant reasons (relevant/irrelevant). 5. Use resources to gather evidence which support the opinion (including teacherselected materials). 6. Group reasons and support them in logical way. 7. Use linking words to connect opinions and reasons (e.g., because, and, also). 8. Use/select an appropriate writing format. 9. Explicitly introduce the topic of an opinion piece (i.e., with a sentence). 10. Conclude the piece in a sentence or section by making a reference to the overall opinion.

7 1. Why write? Third Grade Opinion Writing Scope Essential Questions & Understandings People write to express opinions related to a topic or text. People write opinions to make someone else think, feel, or act differently. 2. Where do opinions come from? Opinions come from what writers read, hear, and see (e.g., in primary & secondary sources). Writers opinions are shaped by their interests, experiences, who they know, and what they care about. 3. What are the parts of an opinion? How should they be organized? Opinion pieces take a clear position/point of view on a topic or text. Opinion pieces present reasons that are linked to the topic/text, supported by facts and details, and presented in a logical order. Opinion pieces begin by explicitly introducing the topic and conclude by referring to the overall opinion. 4. What makes an opinion persuasive? Opinions can be more or less persuasive. Opinions must be clear before they can be persuasive/convincing. (The audience has to know what the writer is saying before they can decide whether they agree!) A persuasive opinion can make a difference in the way someone thinks or feels about something. An opinion can show good or strong reasoning but not persuade the reader/ audience. 5. How can writer share opinion pieces? There are many ways to share opinion pieces. The "best" way depends on the writer's purpose and audience.

8 Key Knowledge Writing types, formats, and structure Targeted formats/outlets for opinion writing An opinion is what someone thinks, prefers, or believes about something (e.g., a topic, a book). Persuade is another word for convince. Persuasion is the act of trying to convince someone of something. Opinions can be more or less persuasive/convincing. The organizational structure of an opinion is based on a clear position and formed around reasons. The reasons in an opinion piece can be organized in an order of importance. A source is anything that provides information that is relevant to a topic, issue, or question. o A primary source is original material or evidence from the time period involved (e.g., artifacts, diary, interviews, newspaper article, photographs, speeches, works of art, literature, music, etc.). o A secondary source is an interpretation or evaluation of a primary source that is written after the time period (e.g., biographies, editorials, textbooks, most websites, etc.). Elements A position is a stance or point of view on a topic, issue, or text that has multiple, debatable point of view. A reason is an explanation for an opinion or position. Reasons are supported by examples, facts, and ideas. Not all possible reasons for an opinion or position are equally important/relevant. The introduction/hook takes a clear point of view/position on a topic, issue, or text. The conclusion/concluding statement or section makes a connection to the overall opinion. (Note: It should move beyond "the end" or "that's what I think about that") Opinion writing use specific linking words and transition phrases to show reasoning (because, therefore, since, for example, on the other hand).

9 Essential Skills (Standards) 1. Distinguish an opinion from a position/point of view. 2. Differentiate between relevant and irrelevant reasons. 3. Identify an issue in a topic or text. 4. Develop a position/point of view on topic or a text. 5. Support a position/point of view with multiple reasons. 6. Develop reasons that include details (facts, examples) that are connected to the position/point of view. 7. Group reasons and support them in logical way. 8. Integrate an appropriate variety of reasons/evidence into an opinion/position. 9. Prioritize reasons/evidence for a position/point of view. 10. Use resources--including teacher-selected primary and secondary sources--to locate, sort, and select reasons based on facts, examples, and/or evidence. 11. Use linking words to connect opinions and reasons. (e.g., because, and, also). 12. Use/select an appropriate audience and writing format. 13. Explicitly introduce the topic of an opinion piece. (i.e., in an introduction). 14. Conclude an opinion piece in a sentence or section by making a reference to the overall opinion. 15. Organize opinion pieces with an introduction paragraph, body paragraphs, and a concluding statement/paragraph.

10 Fourth Grade Opinion Writing Scope Essential Questions & Understandings 1. Why write opinions? Opinions express a point of view or position about a topic or text. Opinions can influence what others feel, think, and do. 2. How do writers form opinions/positions? Writers form opinions based on read, hear, and see (e.g., in primary & secondary sources, from other people). Writers opinions are shaped by their purpose, interests, beliefs, and experiences. Writers craft opinion pieces with an audience in mind. 3. How should an opinion/position be organized? What are the parts? The parts of an opinion piece are interdependent--each part relies on and must "fit with" the other parts. The organizational structure of a must support the writer s purpose and way of thinking about the topic or text. (It shouldn t just be a formula!) Opinion pieces take a clear position/point of view on a topic or text. Opinion pieces begin by explicitly introducing the topic and conclude by referring to the overall opinion. Opinion pieces present reasons that are linked to the topic/text, supported by facts and details, and presented in a logical order. 4. What makes an opinion/position piece persuasive? The clarity of an opinion (e.g., how clear the position/pov is) affects how persuasive it is. Persuasive opinion pieces are built on reasons supported by credible and relevant information. Persuasive opinion pieces draw on multiple sources on a topic/issue to develop and support an opinion/position. A persuasive opinion can change or influence an audience s perspective. (But an opinion can show good or strong reasoning without persuading the reader/audience.)

11 Key Knowledge Writing types, formats, and structure Targeted formats/outlets for opinion writing An opinion is what someone thinks, prefers, or believes about something (e.g., a topic, a book). Persuade is another word for convince. Persuasion is the act of trying to convince someone of something. Opinions can be more or less persuasive/convincing. The organizational structure of an opinion is based on a clear position and formed around reasons. The reasons in an opinion piece can be organized in an order of importance (either weakest to strongest or strongest to weakest). A source is anything that provides information that is relevant to a topic, issue, or question. o A primary source is original material or evidence from the time period involved (e.g., artifacts, diary, interviews, newspaper article, photographs, speeches, works of art, literature, music, etc.). o A secondary source is an interpretation or evaluation of a primary source that is written after the time period (e.g., biographies, editorials, textbooks, most websites, etc.). Elements and their Attributes A position is a stance on a topic/issue (including one that is connected to a text) that has multiple, debatable points of view. A reason is an explanation for an opinion or position. All reasons should be linked to the overall opinion and to one another. A reason is relevant if it supports or flows logically toward an opinion or position. Not all possible reasons for an opinion or position are equally important/relevant. Evidence is facts/information that can be used to prove or disprove a reason or opinion/position. Evidence can take many forms (e.g., examples, statistics, data, credible personal and expert opinions, facts). Evidence is relevant if it supports the opinion/position. Credible evidence can be verified/proven. An effective introduction/hook is one that takes a clear position, clarifies the issue, and provides necessary background (on the topic/issue/text). An effective conclusion/concluding statement or section makes a connection to the overall opinion. Sometimes, it calls the audience to action or provides a next-step. (In any case, it should move beyond summary.) Opinion writing uses specific linking words and transition phrases to show connections between reasons and evidence (because, therefore, since, for example, on the other hand).

12 Essential Skills (Standards) 1. Distinguish opinion from position/point of view on a topic or a text. 2. Identify and develop a point of view/position issue in a topic or a text. 3. Support a position/point of view with multiple reasons. 4. Develop reasons/evidence that include details (facts, examples) that are connected to the position/point of view. 5. Integrate an appropriate variety of reasons and evidence into an opinion/ position. 6. Use credible facts and relevant details as evidence to support reasons for a position. 7. Group reasons and support in logical way. 8. Prioritize reasons/evidence for a position/point of view. 9. Distinguish between relevant and irrelevant reasons/evidence. 10. Use primary and secondary sources to locate, sort, and select reasons based on facts, examples, and/or evidence for two sides (of an issues) differentiating between relevant and irrelevant reasons/evidence. 11. Link opinion and reasons/evidence using words, phrases, and clauses. 12. Organize writing with an introduction paragraph, body paragraphs, and a concluding statement/paragraph. 13. Explicitly introduce the topic of an opinion piece (i.e., in an introduction). 14. Conclude an opinion piece in a sentence or section by making a reference to the overall opinion/position. 15. Select an audience and an appropriate format for an opinion piece.

13 Fifth Grade Opinion Writing Scope Essential Questions & Understandings 1. Why write opinions? Opinions express a point of view or position about a topic or text. Opinions can influence what others feel, think, and do. Opinions can motivate change. 2. How do writers form opinions/positions? Writers consult multiple sources and points of view on a topic/issue in developing their own opinion/position. Writers opinions are shaped by their purpose, interests, beliefs & values, and experiences. Writers craft opinion pieces with an audience in mind. 3. How should an opinion/position be organized? What are the parts? The parts of an opinion piece are interdependent--each part relies on and must "fit with" the other parts. The organizational structure of an opinion piece must support the writer s purpose and way of thinking about the topic or text. (It shouldn t just be a formula!) Opinion pieces clearly identify and take a position on a topic or text. Opinion pieces begin by explicitly introducing the topic and conclude by referring to the overall opinion. Opinion pieces present reasons that are linked to the topic/text, wellsupported by relevant facts and details that are logically grouped and ordered. 4. What makes an opinion/position piece persuasive? The clarity of an opinion affects how persuasive it is. Persuasive opinions are built on reasons supported by credible and relevant evidence from multiple and varied sources. Persuasive opinions acknowledge or imply an awareness of opposing points of view. The most persuasive opinions can or do change or influence an audience s perspective. (But an opinion can show good or strong reasoning without persuading the reader/audience.) 5. How can opinions and reasons connect? Writers can use certain words, phrases, and clauses to connect opinions and reasons. (This helps make an opinion clear and strong. Writers shouldn t leave it to the reader to make those connections.)

14 Key Knowledge Writing types, formats, and structure Targeted formats/outlets for opinion writing An opinion is what someone thinks, prefers, or believes about something (e.g., a topic, a book). Persuade is another word for convince. Persuasion is the act of trying to convince someone of something. Opinions can be more or less persuasive/convincing. The organizational structure of an opinion is based on a clear position and formed around reasons. Organizational pattern (e.g., introduction/opinion, logically grouped and ordered reasons, conclusion). The reasons in an opinion piece can be organized in an order of importance (either weakest to strongest or strongest to weakest). A source is anything that provides information that is relevant to a topic, issue, or question. A primary source is original material or evidence from the time period involved (e.g., artifacts, diary, interviews, newspaper article, photographs, speeches, works of art, literature, music, etc.). A secondary source is an interpretation or evaluation of a primary source that is written after the time period (e.g., biographies, editorials, textbooks, most websites, etc.). Elements and their Attributes A position is a stance on a topic/issue (including one that is connected to a text) that has multiple, debatable points of view. Writers have strategies for thinking about, noting, and/or addressing in writing opposing points of view. These can include acknowledgement, rebuttal, and concession. A claim is a specific position or stance on an issue/topic that the writer wants the audience to accept (claim = position + reasoning + evidence) Note: This is a term used in the standards beginning at grade 6. It is included here for teachers to begin to use, as appropriate. A reason is an explanation for an opinion or position. All reasons should be closely and evidently related to the overall opinion and to one another. Reasons can be grouped in various logical ways. A reason is relevant if it supports or flows logically toward an opinion or position. Not all possible reasons for an opinion or position are equally important/relevant. Evidence is facts/information that can be used to prove or disprove a reason or opinion/position. Evidence can take many forms (e.g., examples, statistics, data, credible personal and expert opinions, facts). Evidence is relevant if it supports the opinion/position. Credible evidence can be verified/proven. An effective introduction/hook is one that takes a clear position, clarifies the issue, and provides necessary background (on the topic/issue/text). An effective conclusion/concluding statement or section makes a connection to the overall opinion. Sometimes, it calls the audience to action or provides a next-step. (In any case, it should move beyond summary.) Opinion writing uses specific linking words and transition phrases to show connections between reasons and evidence (because, therefore, since, for example, on the other hand, for instance, in order to, in addition, consequently, specifically).

15 Essential Skills (Standards) 1. Distinguish opinion from position/point of view. 2. Identify and develop a point of view/position issue in a topic or text. 3. Use primary and secondary sources to locate, sort, and select reasons based on facts, examples, and/or evidence for two sides of an issue/topic. 4. Distinguish between relevant and irrelevant reasons/evidence. 5. Use credible facts and relevant details as evidence to support reasons for a position. 6. Integrate an appropriate variety of reasons and evidence into an opinion/position. 7. Acknowledge or show/imply an awareness of an opposing point of view. 8. Group reasons and support in logical way. 9. Link opinion and reasons using words, phrases, and clauses. 10. Organize writing with an introduction paragraph, body paragraphs, and a concluding statement/paragraph. 11. Explicitly introduce the topic of an opinion piece (i.e., in an introduction). 12. Conclude an opinion piece in a sentence or section by making a reference to the overall opinion/position. 13. Select a format, audience, and "outlet" for an opinion piece that is appropriate to the purpose of the piece.

16 Sixth Grade Argument Writing Scope Essential Questions & Understandings 1. Why write (an argument)? Why argue? People write to argue a position or convey a point of view, often with the goal of changing how others think, how they feel, and/or what they do. 2. What is an argument? How is it different from an opinion? An argument is an organized way of presenting claims related to a topic or text using reasons and evidence. Arguments establish and maintain a formal style. Opinions express a perspective; arguments explore differences in perspective. 3. What informs/influences an argument? Multiple sources inform an argument. Arguments are influenced by the writer s purpose, beliefs & values, interests, and experiences. Arguments are crafted with an audience in mind. 4. How should an argument be organized? Arguments have an interdependent organizational structure that fits the writer s purpose, audience, and format. (There s not just one way to organize an argument!) Certain techniques (e.g., clauses, conjunctive adverbs) can clarify and strengthen the relationship between the parts of an argument. 5. What makes an argument strong? Strong arguments take an informed position around claims that are supported by clear reasons and relevant evidence drawn from multiple and credible sources. Strong arguments link the position, claims, reasons, and evidence. Strong arguments acknowledge or imply an awareness of opposing points of view. The clarity of an argument affects its strength and effectiveness. 6. What makes an argument persuasive? Arguments are persuasive when the audience can tell the writer understands the topic/subject. The most persuasive arguments change or influence the audience in a way that aligns the writer s intent. (But an argument can be strong and logical without convincing all or some of the audience.) Key Knowledge

17 Writing types, formats, and structure Targeted formats/outlets for opinion writing An argument is an organized way of presenting claims related to a topic or text using reasons and evidence. An opinion is what someone thinks, prefers, or believes about something (e.g., a topic, a book). Persuade is another word for convince. Persuasion is the act of trying to convince someone of something. Arguments can be more or less persuasive/convincing. The organizational structure of an argument is based on a central claim and supported by reasons and evidence that are clearly grouped. A source is anything that provides information that is relevant to a topic, issue, or question. A writer can verify the accuracy of information from a source by checking multiple sources on the same subject. o A primary source is original material or evidence from the time period involved (e.g., artifacts, diary, interviews, newspaper article, photographs, speeches, works of art, literature, music, etc.). o A secondary source is an interpretation or evaluation of a primary source that is written after the time period (e.g., biographies, editorials, textbooks, most websites, etc.). Elements and their Attributes A position is a stance on a topic/issue (including one that is connected to a text) that has multiple, debatable points of view. A claim is a specific position or stance on an issue/topic that the writer wants the audience to accept (claim = position + reasoning + evidence). Writers have strategies for thinking about, noting, and/or addressing in writing opposing points of view. These can include acknowledgement, rebuttal, and concession. A reason is an explanation for an opinion or position. All reasons should be closely and evidently related to the overall opinion and to one another. Reasons can be grouped in various logical ways. A reason is relevant if it supports or flows logically toward an opinion or position. Not all possible reasons for an opinion or position are equally important/relevant. Evidence is facts/information that can be used to prove or disprove a reason or opinion/position. Evidence can take many forms (e.g., examples, statistics, data, credible personal and expert opinions, facts). Evidence is relevant if it supports the opinion/position. Credible evidence can be verified/proven. An effective introduction/hook is one that takes a clear position, clarifies the issue, and provides necessary background (on the topic/issue/text). An effective conclusion/concluding statement or section follows from the argument presented and, as appropriate, calls people action or provides a next-step, or answers the So what? question. (It should move beyond summary.) Arguments uses specific linking words, transition phrases, and clauses to show reasoning and relationships and create complex sentences: because, therefore, since, for example, on the other hand, for instance, in order to, in addition, consequently, specifically, for this reason. A clause is a group of words containing a subject and a predicate and forming part of a compound or complex sentence.

18 Essential Skills (Standards) 1. Distinguish an opinion from an argument. 2. Identify a debatable position on a topic, issue, or text. 3. Develop a position/stance issue on a topic, issue, or text through claim(s), reasons, and evidence. 4. Distinguish between relevant and irrelevant reasons/evidence. 5. Determine the credibility of a source based on given criteria. 6. Use credible facts/data and relevant evidence to support reasons for a position. 7. Acknowledge or imply an awareness of alternate or opposing claims. 8. Integrate an appropriate variety of reasons and evidence into an argument. 9. Organize reasons and support in argument clearly. 10. Use words, phrases, and clauses to clarify the relationships among claim(s) and reasons. 11. Select a format for argument that is appropriate to audience and purpose. 12. Establish and maintain a formal style in writing an argument. 13. Introduce an argument that engages (hooks) the reader, establishes the writer s position/claim, and provides necessary context. 14. Conclude an argument in a logical, effective, and satisfying way.

19 Seventh Grade Argument Writing Scope Essential Questions & Understandings 1. Why write (an argument)? Why argue? People write to advance and/or defend a position or claim. Argument can influence what others feel, think, and do. Argument can motivate change. 2. What is an argument? An argument is an organized way of presenting claims related to a topic or text using reasons and evidence. Arguments explore differences in perspective. Arguments establish and maintain a formal style. 3. What informs/influences an argument? Multiple and varied perspectives inform an argument. Arguments are shaped by the writer s purpose, beliefs & values, interests, and experiences. Arguments are crafted with an audience in mind. 4. How should an argument be organized? Arguments have a logical and interdependent organizational structure that fits the writer s purpose, audience, and format. (There s not just one way to organize an argument!) Certain techniques (e.g., clauses, conjunctive adverbs) can clarify and strengthen the relationship between the parts of an argument. 5. What makes an argument strong? Strong arguments take an informed position around claims that are supported by logical reasoning and relevant evidence drawn from multiple accurate and credible sources. Strong arguments create cohesion between the position, claims, reasons, and evidence. Strong arguments anticipate and acknowledge alternate or opposing claims. The clarity of an argument affects its strength. 6. What makes an argument persuasive? Arguments are persuasive when the audience can tell the writer is knowledgeable about the topic/subject. The most persuasive arguments change or influence the audience in a way that aligns the writer s intent. (But an argument can be strong and logical without convincing all or some of the audience.)

20 Key Knowledge Writing types, formats, and structure Targeted formats/outlets for opinion writing An argument is an organized way of presenting claims related to a topic or text using reasons and evidence. Persuade is another word for convince. Persuasion is the act of trying to convince someone of something. Arguments can be more or less persuasive/convincing. The organizational structure of an argument is based on a central claim and supported by reasons and evidence that are logically grouped. A source is anything that provides information that is relevant to a topic, issue, or question. A writer can verify the accuracy of information from a source by checking multiple sources on the same subject. o A primary source is original material or evidence from the time period involved (e.g., artifacts, diary, interviews, newspaper article, photographs, speeches, works of art, literature, music, etc.). o A secondary source is an interpretation or evaluation of a primary source that is written after the time period (e.g., biographies, editorials, textbooks, most websites, etc.). Elements and their Attributes A position is a stance on a topic/issue (including one that is connected to a text) that has multiple, debatable points of view. Cohesion is the degree to which the elements of an argument work together. A cohesive argument brings reasons together support the claim and clarifies the relationship among or between those arguments. A claim is a specific position or stance on an issue/topic that the writer wants the audience to accept (claim = position + reasoning + evidence). A counterclaim/counterargument is a claim made in opposition to another claim that refutes or challenges it. A writer introduces or uses counterclaims in an argument to control the argument and dispel doubts or concerns about his/her position/stance or claims. Writers have strategies for thinking about, noting, and/or addressing in writing opposing points of view. These can include acknowledgement, rebuttal, and concession. A reason is an explanation for an opinion or position. All reasons should be closely and evidently related to the overall opinion and to one another. Reasons can be grouped in various logical ways. A reason is relevant if it supports or flows logically toward an opinion or position. Not all possible reasons for an opinion or position are equally important/relevant. Evidence is facts/information that can be used to prove or disprove a reason or opinion/position. Evidence can take many forms (e.g., examples, statistics, data, credible personal and expert opinions, facts). Evidence is relevant if it supports the opinion/position. Credible evidence can be verified/proven. An effective introduction/hook is one that takes a clear position, clarifies the issue, and provides necessary background [on the topic/issue/text]. An effective conclusion/concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented and, as appropriate, calls people action or provides a next-step, or answers the So what? question. (Note: It should move beyond summary.) Arguments uses specific linking words, transition phrases, and clauses to show reasoning and relationships and create complex sentences: because, therefore, since, for example, on the other hand, for instance, in order to, in addition, consequently, specifically, for this reason.

21 Essential Skills (Standards) 1. Identify a position on a debatable topic, issue, or text. 2. Develop a position/stance on a topic, issue, or text through claim(s), reasons, and evidence. 3. Distinguish between relevant and irrelevant reasons/evidence. 4. Determine the credibility and accuracy of a source and the information therein based on given criteria. 5. Use credible facts/data and relevant evidence to support reasons for a position. 6. Acknowledge alternate or opposing claims (counterclaims). 7. Integrate an appropriate variety of reasons and evidence into an argument 8. Organize reasons and support in argument logically. 9. Use words, phrases, and clauses to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among claim(s) and reasons. 10. Select a format, audience, and outlet for an argument piece that is appropriate to the purpose of the piece. 11. Establish and maintain a formal style in writing an argument. 12. Introduce an argument that engages (hooks) the reader, establishes the writer s position/claim, and provides necessary context. 13. Conclude an argument in a logical, effective, and satisfying way.

22 Eighth Grade Argument Writing Scope Essential Questions & Understandings 1. Why argue? Argument advances and/or defends a position or claim. Argument can shape perspective and motivate change. Argument provokes and empowers. 2. What is an argument? An argument is an organized way of presenting claims and counterclaims that are rooted in reasons and evidence. Argument explores and arises from different perspective. Arguments establish and maintain a formal style. 3. What informs/influences an argument? A range of perspectives (including the writer s) inform an argument. Audience influences the nature and level of an argument. 4. How should an argument be organized? Arguments have a logical and cohesive interdependent organizational structure that fits the writer s purpose, audience, and format. (There s not just one way to organize an argument!) Certain techniques (e.g., clauses, conjunctive adverbs) can clarify and strengthen the relationship between the parts of an argument. 5. What makes an argument strong? Strong arguments take an informed position around claims that are supported by logical reasoning and relevant evidence drawn from multiple accurate and credible sources. Strong arguments create cohesion between the position, claims, reasons, and evidence. Strong arguments anticipate, acknowledge, and refute alternate or opposing claims. The clarity of an argument affects its strength. 6. What makes an argument persuasive? The writer s knowledge and understanding of the topic/issue affects how persuasive the audience will find his/her argument. Persuasive arguments employ reasoning that the audience perceives is warranted. (That is, they use warrants to convince the audience that the claims being made are reasonable, given the evidence.) The most persuasive arguments change or influence the audience in a way that aligns the writer s intent. (But an argument can be strong and logical without convincing all or some of the audience.)

23 Key Knowledge Writing types, formats, and structure Formats/outlets An argument is an organized way of presenting claims related to a topic or text using reasons and evidence. Persuade is another word for convince. Persuasion is the act of trying to convince someone of something. Arguments can be more or less persuasive/convincing. The organizational structure of an argument is based on a central claim and supported by reasons and evidence that are logically grouped. (More complex arguments involve sub-claims and counterclaims.) A source is anything that provides information that is relevant to a topic, issue, or question. A writer can verify the accuracy of information from a source by checking multiple sources on the same subject. o A primary source is original material or evidence from the time period involved (e.g., artifacts, diary, interviews, newspaper article, photographs, speeches, works of art, literature, music, etc.). o A secondary source is an interpretation or evaluation of a primary source that is written after the time period (e.g., biographies, editorials, textbooks, most websites, etc.). Elements and their Attributes A position is a stance on a topic/issue (including one that is connected to a text) that has multiple, debatable points of view. Cohesion is the degree to which the elements of an argument work together. A cohesive argument brings reasons together support the claim and clarifies the relationship among or between those arguments. A claim is a specific position or stance on an issue/topic that the writer wants the audience to accept (claim = position + reasoning + evidence). A counterclaim/counterargument is a claim made in opposition to another claim that refutes or challenges it. A writer introduces or uses counterclaims in an argument to control the argument and dispel doubts or concerns about his/her position/stance or claims. Writers have strategies for thinking about, noting, and/or addressing in writing opposing points of view. These can include acknowledgement, rebuttal, and concession. A reason is an explanation for an opinion or position. All reasons should be closely and evidently related to the overall opinion and to one another. Reasons can be grouped in various logical ways. A reason is relevant if it supports or flows logically toward an opinion or position. Not all possible reasons for an opinion or position are equally important/relevant. The audience determines whether the argument s reasoning is warranted whether the connection between the claim, reasons, and evidence makes sense and is justified. A warrant explains or makes clear the connection between the claim, reasons, evidence so that the audience can evaluate how reasonable the argument is.

24 Evidence is facts/information that can be used to prove or disprove a reason or opinion/position. Evidence can take many forms (e.g., examples, statistics, data, credible personal and expert opinions, facts). Evidence is relevant if it supports the opinion/position. Credible evidence can be verified/proven. An effective introduction/hook is one that takes a clear position, clarifies the issue, and provides necessary background [on the topic/issue/text]. An effective conclusion/concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented and, as appropriate, calls people action or provides a next-step, or answers the So what? question. (Note: It should move beyond summary.) Arguments uses specific linking words, transition phrases, and clauses to show reasoning and relationships and create complex sentences: because, therefore, since, for example, on the other hand, for instance, in order to, in addition, consequently, specifically, for this reason. Essential Skills (Standards) 1. Identify a position on a debatable topic, issue, or text. 2. Develop a position/stance on a topic, issue, or text through claim(s), reasons, and evidence. 3. Distinguish between relevant and irrelevant reasons/evidence. 4. Determine the credibility and accuracy of a source and the information therein based on given criteria. 5. Use credible facts/data and relevant evidence to support reasons for a position. 6. Acknowledge and address/refute alternate or opposing claims (counterclaims). 7. Integrate an appropriate variety of reasons and evidence into an argument. 8. Organize reasons and support in argument logically. 9. Use words, phrases, and clauses to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among claim(s) and reasons. 10. Select a format, audience, and outlet for an argument piece that is appropriate to the purpose of the piece. 11. Establish and maintain a formal style in writing an argument. 12. Introduce an argument that engages (hooks) the reader, establishes the writer s position/claim, and provides necessary context. 13. Conclude an argument in a logical, effective, and satisfying way.

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