What s My Point? - Grade Six

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1 Ohio Standards Connection Reading Applications: Informational, Technical and Persuasive Text Benchmark D Identify arguments and persuasive techniques used in persuasive writing. Indicators 6 Identify an author s argument or viewpoint and assess the adequacy and accuracy of details used. Lesson Summary: This lesson develops student understanding of persuasion. Students move through the process of defining persuasion, identifying persuasive arguments and techniques in writing and evaluating their own use of accurate details. Students also define an author s point of view. Estimated Duration: One hour and a half to three hours Commentary: Students benefit from learning critical writing skills, including the composing process, discussion and analysis, which this lesson embodies. As one lesson reviewer noted, this lesson offers many opportunities for peer-coaching/cooperative learning and differentiation or re-directive activities. Another reviewer added, Students are encouraged to think outside of their own opinions and address the opposing viewpoint. The lesson s concise and easy-to-follow scoring guidelines for the pre- and post-assessments help the teacher make sound judgments about students writing ability. Pre-Assessment: Distribute and read to students the editorial column Too Much Television, Attachment A. Distribute the worksheet Too Much Television Analysis, Attachment B, for students to complete. Collect the worksheet. Scoring Guidelines: Use the following scoring guidelines. Place students in small groups for instruction according to their scores on this assessment. 3 The answers are correct, defensible and logical. Answers demonstrate a successful analysis of the article including noting its viewpoint(s), details and purpose. 2 The answers are correct and somewhat defensible and logical. Answers demonstrate an incomplete analysis of the article. 1 The answers are incorrect. Answers demonstrate no analysis of article. 1

2 Post-Assessment: Assign students the task of finding and bringing in an interesting editorial column or provide one to the students. Instruct students to read the editorial column carefully. Distribute Editorial Column Analysis, Attachment C, for students to complete. Scoring Guidelines: This assessment provides information about how well students analyze persuasive writing to find the author s argument or viewpoint, the adequacy and accuracy of the details and the author s purpose. Students should show significant growth in these areas from the pre-assessment to the post-assessment. Use the same scoring guide. 3 The answers are correct, defensible and logical. Answers demonstrate a successful analysis of the article including noting its viewpoint(s), details and purpose. 2 The answers are correct and somewhat defensible and logical. Answers demonstrate an incomplete analysis of the article. 1 The answers are incorrect. Answers demonstrate no analysis of article. Instructional Procedures: Part One 1. Have students review their answers on the pre-assessment worksheet Too Much Television Analysis, Attachment B. 2. Discuss pre-assessment answers. Ask: Why do writers write? Why did this writer write? How can you tell what a writer s purpose is? What words in this editorial tell you the writer s purpose? Why do readers need to know the author s purpose? 3. Place students into small groups of three or four. Give each group a different editorial. Assign roles within the groups: timekeeper (keeps track of time remaining), traffic controller (ensures everyone participates), reporter/recorder (writes group answers and shares them with teacher/class) and taskmaster (organizes group and keeps it on task). 4. Give each group a different editorial and a copy of the handout Breaking it Down, Attachment D, to complete. 5. Give student groups the following questions: What is this writer s purpose? What is this writer s point? What could be opposing arguments to this position? 6. Monitor group progress and accuracy at identifying the author s purpose, viewpoint and supporting arguments. 7. Ask reporters from each group to report their findings. 2

3 Part Two 8. Define the terms facts, quotes from experts and personal connections. Discuss these as persuasive techniques authors use to convince readers. 9. Display an editorial column on the overhead. Read it aloud as students follow along. 10. Ask students to identify what aspects of the editorial make it persuasive. Record their responses on chart paper or chalkboard. 11. Classify the responses listed under the three headings of persuasive techniques (discussed in step 8). 12. Send students back to their small groups. 13. Give each group an editorial column and the worksheet Twist My Arm, Attachment E, to complete. Tell students to assign the roles listed at the top of the worksheet and to complete the worksheet as a group. 14. Reporters share each group s findings. 15. Review the major points of the lesson: Authors write with a purpose in mind; Authors write with a viewpoint; Authors use details to support their purpose and viewpoint and Authors writing persuasive pieces use persuasive techniques. Instructional Tip: As an alternative closing to the lesson, give each student one of three or four different shorter editorial columns or letters to the editor. Tell each student to read the editorial or letter and complete an Editorial Column Analysis, Attachment C. 16. Give the post-assessment. 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). Use the results of the pre-assessment to guide placement of students into groups, limiting the range of mastery from low to middle and from middle to high within the groups. If some students exceed the standard, place them in a single group and give them more challenging materials to use for the lesson activities. For students who do not meet the standard, consider giving additional practice and/or direct instruction in small groups to reinforce the skills and concepts in the lesson. Use the variety of groupings in the lesson to accommodate student needs. Consider changing some group work into individual work or whole-class work. Use a fishbowl technique to review vocabulary. Have students form a fishbowl with half the class forming an inside circle and half the class forming an outside circle. Students in the inside circle face the students in the outside circle. Likewise, the students in the outside circle face the students in the inside circle. Call out one of the vocabulary words, and instruct the inside circle of students to define it to their partners in the outside circle. Ask the outside circle of students to give an example of the term or technique. Then have one of the circles 3

4 move to the left. This rotation provides multiple learning partners and movement in the classroom. Extensions: Show clips of television talk programs and ask students to identify the purpose of each speaker and his/her viewpoint. Then ask students to identify the persuasive techniques used by the speakers. Give students samples of magazine ads and ask them to identify the persuasive techniques found within the ads. Discuss why it is important to think critically about the techniques used and the messages conveyed by the ads. As a whole-class/small-group activity, review four types of writing. List on the chalkboard, overhead projector or chart paper these vocabulary terms: persuade, explain, entertain and inform. Define these terms and discuss them as students record them in their journals, learning logs or vocabulary organizers. Ask students to name examples of these types from their own writing or works they have read. Discuss how these types of writing relate directly to the purpose for writing. Ask students to return to their small groups. Give each group another article, this time representing one of the four types of writing. Also give each group the worksheet Breaking It Down, Attachment D, and assign roles at the top of the handout. Groups work through the worksheet together. Reporters from each group summarize the article and share the information from Attachment D. Home Connections: Select different articles (e.g., editorial or persuasive) from the newspaper to identify an author s purpose, viewpoint and use of persuasive techniques. Write a letter to the editor, ensuring the letter has a clear purpose, has a viewpoint and uses two of the four persuasive techniques. Interdisciplinary Connections: Content Area: Social Studies Standard: Social Studies Skills and Methods Benchmark: A. Analyze different perspectives on a topic obtained from a variety of sources. This lesson reinforces the value of free speech in a democracy by having students read and analyze opposing viewpoints on a current issue. Content Area: Science Standard: Scientific Inquiry Benchmark: B. Analyze and interpret data from scientific investigations, using appropriate mathematical skills in order to draw valid conclusions. Use this lesson to demonstrate the value of using and analyzing scientific data and research to support a persuasive argument. 4

5 Content Area: Mathematics Standard: Mathematical Processes Benchmark: F. Use inductive thinking to generalize a pattern of observations for particular cases, make conjectures, and provide supporting arguments for conjectures. Consider the roles of mathematical reasoning and statistics in supporting an argument. 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: newspapers, chart paper, whiteboard or chalkboard, markers, dry-erase markers, and/or chalk and a videotape (optional) of television talk shows screened to be school-appropriate For the students: Attachments A-D, newspapers, news magazines, a computer to access the Internet, pens, pencils, paper and a journal or learning log Vocabulary: facts personal connections persuasive techniques quotations from experts Technology Connections: Internet access helps students find editorials to use in their final assessments. Teach them how to search local newspaper Web sites to find interesting columns. Use a computer projector to show editorials or demonstrate how to search for editorial columns online. Research Connections: Cawelti, Gordon. Handbook of Research on Improving Student Achievement. Arlington, VA: Educational Research Service, Dr. Cawelti s book features, among the studies of other researchers, the work of James Squire (1995). His research found student achievement increased in language arts when instruction included: 1) a focus on critical reading and writing skills, 2) emphasis on discussion and analysis and 3) emphasis on the composing process. 5

6 Marzano, Robert J., Jane E. Pollock and Debra Pickering. Classroom Instruction that Works: Research-Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement, Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Marzano, Pollock and Pickering found several instructional strategies that lead to significant increases in student achievement across disciplines. Among their body of findings, three are featured in this lesson. One finding was, that meaningful homework assignments provide students with opportunities to deepen their understanding and skills related to content presented to them. A second finding was the significance of the use of cooperative grouping. This strategy includes face-to-face interaction and individual and group responsibility. The third finding was the significance of the practice of setting objectives and providing feedback. Both establish a direction for learning and a way to monitor progress. General Tips: Use issues of a local paper in the classroom as a source for current editorials and other articles for additional practice and reinforcement of the lesson s skills. Arrange seats so students can move quickly into cooperative learning to keep the lesson flowing smoothly. Attachments: Attachment A, Too Much Television Attachment B, Too Much Television Analysis Attachment C, Editorial Column Analysis Attachment D, Breaking It Down (optional) Attachment E, Twist My Arm 6

7 Attachment A Too Much Television Name Date Directions: Read the following editorial column. Then answer the questions on the worksheet provided. Today s children spend entirely too much time watching television and playing video games. These kinds of activities numb the brain and keep children from thinking creatively. There is little valuable programming today, and what most children watch teaches them that violence, unethical behavior and immoral choices are all perfectly acceptable and cool. We have a responsibility to turn off the television and get our children moving. Television is a generally mindless activity. It doesn t take much thought to press a button on a remote and sit, absorbed by whatever programming comes on. Most programming watched by children today is completely inappropriate and unacceptable. There are scenes of violence and immorality that make adults blush, but our children watch them without hesitation or embarrassment. Then society wonders why we have children who turn to violence as an answer to problems. We wonder why teen girls think it s perfectly okay to have babies out of wedlock. We re baffled when young men have little thought or planning for their futures. All that seems to interest them is television. Another impact of television and video games is that our children sit around far more than they used to. This is part of the reason our children are so overweight today. This isn t healthy for them. They need to be active, participating in both organized sports and neighborhood pick-up games, such as basketball or sandlot baseball. These sporting activities get them outside where they can breathe fresh air, use their minds in strategic ways and develop long-lasting friendships. A relationship with a television remote or videogame controller is no relationship at all. It is time for the adults of our society to take charge. Unplug the videogames; hide the remote. It s time to get outside, engage in healthy physical activity and challenge the mind. We need to take an active role in helping our children develop healthy lifestyles. 7

8 Attachment B Too Much Television Analysis Name Date Directions: Answer each of the following questions with thoughtful and complete statements. Staple the editorial to this paper. 1. What is the argument? 2. Based on what you ve read in the editorial column, what are the possible opposing sides to this issue? How do you know? 3. What is the author s viewpoint? 4. What details support this viewpoint? Are the details sufficient and accurate? Scoring guidelines 3 The answers are correct, defensible and logical. Answers demonstrate a successful analysis of the article, including noting its viewpoint(s), details and purpose. 2 The answers are correct and somewhat defensible and logical. Answers demonstrate an incomplete analysis of the article. 1 The answers are incorrect. Answers demonstrate no analysis of article. 8

9 Attachment C Editorial Column Analysis Name Date Title of Editorial Column: Author: Date of Printing: Name of Publication: Directions: Answer each of the following questions with thoughtful and complete statements. When you finish, staple the editorial to the worksheet. (Be sure to complete both sides of the worksheet!) 1. What is the argument? 2. Based on what you ve read in the editorial column, what are the possible opposing sides to this issue? How do you know? 3. What is the author s viewpoint? 4. What details support this viewpoint? Attachment C (Continued) 9

10 Editorial Column Analysis In the columns below, list details that represent the different persuasive techniques. Facts Quotations and/or Statistics from Experts Personal Connections (author to topic, topic to audience) Scoring Guidelines: 3 The answers are correct, defensible and logical. Answers demonstrate a successful analysis of the article, including noting its viewpoint(s), details and purpose. 2 The answers are correct and somewhat defensible and logical. Answers demonstrate an incomplete analysis of the article. 1 The answers are incorrect. Answers demonstrate no analysis of article. 10

11 Attachment D Breaking It Down Name Date Directions: Assign roles within your group: recorder, reporter, traffic controller and timekeeper. The recorder completes this worksheet. The reporter shares the results on the worksheet with the rest of the class. The traffic controller makes sure everyone in the group contributes to the discussion. The timekeeper makes sure the group completes its work within the time limit. Title and Author of Article: Title of Article & Author: Main Idea: Purpose of Writing: Supporting Details: If persuasive, opposing arguments: 11

12 Attachment E Twist My Arm Name Date Directions: Assign roles within your group: recorder, reporter, traffic controller and timekeeper. The recorder will complete this worksheet. The reporter will share the results on the worksheet with the rest of the class. The traffic controller will make sure everyone in the group contributes to the discussion. The timekeeper will make sure the group completes its work within the time limit. Title and Author of Article: Title of Article & Author: Main Idea: Supporting Details: If persuasive, opposing arguments: 12

13 Facts What s My Point? - Grade Six Attachment E (Continued) Twist My Arm Quotes/Statistics from Experts Personal Connections 13

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