Looking at Both Sides of an Issue in Argumentative Text

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SWBAT find evidence to support both sides of an argument.

Big Idea

See the big picture before making a claim.

Accessing Prior Knowledge

10 minutes

I have chosen an article called Should Kids Be on Reality TV? written for Scholastic Scope magazine.  This activity can be used for any text as long as both sides of an argument are presented in it.  

First, students will brainstorm using a consensus map. This is a graphic organizer with a work space for each person and a circle in the center.  I'll have the students do this activity on their large white boards so that everyone can see what their groups are doing.  

I will start with a broad and fun question:

What are your favorite TV shows?

After students have thought about their answer and written quietly, each group will discuss their answers.  Anything they are able to come to consensus on, will go in the center of the map.  

My next question is more specific to our topic.  

What is your opinion on reality TV shows?  

The students will think for a minute, then write quietly on their workspace.  Once everyone is finished, they will discuss their ideas, and whatever they come to consensus on will go in the middle of the map.  I will ask the groups to share out what they agreed on during the discussion. 

My next question will be specific to the text.  

Should children be on reality TV shows?  

The students will go through the same consensus process. 

I feel that it is very important for students to access prior knowledge before reading.  These questions and discussions will prepare the students' brains for the information they are about to receive.  They will start making connections to the text before they even begin to read which will lead to better comprehension and retention.  I decided to start out with a fun question, to engage my students and get them talking about something they all love!

Close Reading

20 minutes

Now, students will read the article "Should Kids Be on Reality TV?" alone.  As they read, they will highlight information that is in favor of students being on reality TV in one color and information that is against it in another color.  I will emphasize the idea of looking at both sides of the argument no matter what their opinion might be.  The purpose of the reading is to become informed of the situation.

I am asking them to highlight so that they are forced to look at specific textual evidence, and also so it will stand out to them when creating a chart in the next section of this lesson.  

As they read, I will circulate around the room and help students, especially with vocabulary issues.  

Support Both Sides

15 minutes

When they are finished, they will work with a partner to make a chart with the title:  Should kids be on Reality TV?  

The two branches will be Yes and No.  Under each branch, they will find at least 3 reasons that support each side.  At least 2 of their reasons must be based on the text.  


15 minutes

Once students have examined both sides of the issues, they are going take a position on the issue.  

I want students to find a partner who agrees with them on the issue.  

I am going to ask them to give their opinion supported by at least 3 reasons from the text.  They are also able to give examples from their own experience as well.  

For this assignment, I am giving students a choice.  They may either write this into a paragraph or present it to the class in a 30 second speech.  

I decided to give the students the option to present verbally because many of my students are outgoing, active learners.  One of my goals for next quarter is to integrate more active learning experiences into my lessons for these students.  

This lesson supports CCSS because students are reading closely, citing textual evidence, and supporting their opinions.  



Student Written Example