Today, students print articles that they've found during their research, conducted during this lesson. Then they spend some time reading closely, highlighting important information, and deciding upon their claim. It is okay if they haven't established a claim until after they have finished annotating and reading their articles on their given topics, or if their claim changes slightly after their reading. It means they're using the evidence they find to enhance their thinking. However, for some students, it might be helpful to first find a claim, and then back it up with support. Either way works.
I purposefully did not model the process of highlighting their articles for important information. During the non-fiction brain unit, students saw me reading and highlighting powerful quotes to support the central idea of the text, as well as author's purpose. Students also saw me modeling "Can a Video Game Lead to Murder?" Now they are going to be held accountable for finding information on their own. I circulate and makes sure students are on the right track. Most were, which was reaffirming and exciting.
By the end of this close reading session, students were more able to explain their claims.
Searching for claim ideas to get students moving in the right direction? Here are two ideas!
Now it is time to write our arguments. All students have decided upon a claim. I introduce the First and Second Paragraph Argument Language Frame. This will help them craft their arguments. For many, they have no read idea of where to begin. Some have a natural sense of how these essays should be structured. I tell these students to glance at the language frame: what must be included in each paragraph?
On the back of the frame, there is a place for students to write in their major claim, as well as their supporting or mini-claims. Mini-claims support the major claim, and then fit nicely into the argument essay. See my example.
For those kids who have no idea where to begin, I model using the language frame with my argument topic, video games can lead to murder.
After the first block, I made some annotations on the Language Frame that allowed my kids to better understand the outline.
In the final portion of class, students work independently on completing their argument language frames, as well as beginning to type their first and second paragraphs. During this portion and the first portion of today's lesson, I make my way around the room to check that all students have concretely decided upon an argument claim. Also, I want to remind them to draw uon the text for support. I ask them to show me their text evidence they've found in their articles.
The language frame has a really nice place where students can easily insert direct quotes from their articles.