The process described below is similar to what has been done in previous lessons and is to be used for both of the next Myth Madness match ups: Artemis vs Athena on one day and Demeter vs Hermes the next day. While it may seem redundant, remember that the more opportunities students have to write the more time there is to improve. Also, with these lessons they gain experience writing at length on a topic.
Acknowledging the opposing point of view (AOPOV) is an important aspect of argument writing. In order to develop this skill, students benefit from guided practice. First, they need to know how to approach it and then they need to know how to incorporate this element into their writing. This video offers some thoughts on the former and this chart of sentence starters addresses the latter. The sentence starters chart is from an excellent resource for teaching writing, The Comprehensive Persuasive Writing Guide by Barbara Mariconda and Dea Paoletta Auray (2003, Empowering Writers, LLC).
In previous lessons students were guided through the research process that is part of our Myth Madness unit and are now ready to apply those skills with greater independence. The first step is to read each source and note the characteristics, both weaknesses and strengths, of the two gods involved in the competition for most powerful god on Mt. Olympus (first, Athena and Artemis; next, Hermes and Demeter). It is important that on the organizer they note in which resource each fact appears in order to include at least one in-text citation in the final written piece. While students are at work, circulate among them checking in with each person by reviewing notes, addressing questions and offering advice and praise for good work. Two examples for on Athena and Artemis appear here and here. Two examples of research notes for Hermes and Demeter appear here and here.
The time has come to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the two gods in competition and make a decision for the one who is most likely to outwit, outlast, and outplay the other. Yes, this is a shameless borrowing of the Survivor motto, but it fits this task. When considering what makes a god ‘strong’ it is important to consider not only physical strength but also intellect and their ability to get along in social situations. Here are examples for Demeter and Hermes. Each student must defend their choice in a paragraph that includes the elements of argument writing: an issue statement, a strong claim, supporting details, explanations, and a conclusion. The argument map found in Common Core Literacy Lesson Plans, Ready-to-Use Resources, 6-8 by Lauren Davis (Eye on Education, 2013) is my favorite organizer for this type of writing. Two examples of student work for Athena and Artemis appear here and here. Two examples of argument maps for Hermes and Demeter appear here and here.