At the start of today, I review the Whole Class Notes: Argument Terms, originally taken in the context of this lesson. I ask students to reread the notes, taken in their composition notebooks and do a fast, blitz review. Then I ask the class, which term are you most confident with? Where would you like to begin the review? I'll call on a student to tell me the term and the definition. It is fine with me if students are reading the definitions straight from their notebooks. What's important to me is that they become comfortable using the argument specific language.
Today, everyone will start writing a short paper claiming their type of intelligence, based on Gardner's theory, and the research they did during this lesson.
I explain that first that we'll review our claims we've already written and then we will use these claims to write a short, informative paper or mini-argument "claiming" this style with memorable, real world examples from our own lives about how we best learn.
I've prepared a class model for my students: Ms. Larson's Mini-Argument Essay: Learning Style.
I put my model on the board and read it aloud for my kids. Then I ask what they notice I've chosen to include.
As a way to visually and constructively show students what to include in their own paper's, I made copies of my learning style paper and passed them out to all students.
Then I model highlighting draft for the entire class. I designate each color highlighter with a specific role:
Yellow = Creative Lead/Opening
Pink = Claim
Blue = Evidence from your life.
Then, I go through line by line, and we determine which color each sentence should be. This way, students have a clear visual representation of what should be included in their learning style papers, without making a bullet-point list of requirements.
This method is very effective for visual learners. I found this to be a constructive approach to giving a writing assignment.
What is the difference between an argument and a mini-argument, you ask? Mini-arguments have no counter claim. They simply ask the students to come up with a claim and support it using evidence.
Now it is the student's turn to write. They collect their research, use my model, and construct their own mini-arguments.
Some students may need more guidelines besides my visual that I provided. For these kids, I made a bullet proof list of elements to include.
Here are a few student samples: