Reflection: Rigor Cornerstone Defending Literary Arguments - Section 4: Using Counterclaims to Strengthen an Argument


Some students aren't ready for the additional rigor that counterclaims require.  I have students that are still working on writing commentary that explains a piece of evidence. If I asked them to include a counterclaim and explain why that was wrong? I'm pretty sure their heads would explode, and I'm not cleaning that up. 

Not all students progress at the same rate.  No matter how much you want them to, it's not going to happen.  That's where differentiation comes in.  For the students that are ready?  Give them the additional rigor.  For the students who aren't ready?  Expose them to the content, but continue working on the skills that are rigorous for them.  As long as all students are working on something that's rigorous for them, we're all winning because they're becoming better readers, writers, speakers, and thinkers.

For my honors classes, oh yeah, we're all writing counterclaims. You bet your bottom dollar we're all ready for that.  But for my inclusion classes?  Some of them will be writing counterclaims and some of them won't. They'll all write claims, evidence, and support. It'll still be rigorous for everyone, because the point of differentiation is to provide rigorous work for all students. What's rigorous for one student isn't rigorous for the kid sitting next to them. 

Counterclaims make arguments stronger.  You can still have an effective argument without counterclaims. I'd rather that a reluctant student write an effective argument without a counterclaim than have that student shut down and refuse to work. And since the curriculum in English language arts isn't a straight line, but rather a spiral, we'll come around to this again and again.  Students will have multiple opportunities to encounter and practice this skill throughout the school year, throughout middle school, and throughout high school.

  Increasing Expectations to Provide Rigor
  Rigor: Increasing Expectations to Provide Rigor
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Cornerstone Defending Literary Arguments

Unit 12: Novel Study: The Hunger Games
Lesson 11 of 21

Objective: Students will be able to form literary arguments by citing evidence supporting claims with commentary in discussion and written arguments.

Big Idea: Students defend literary arguments with The Hunger Games.

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4 teachers like this lesson
may 20141
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