Identifying Author's Purpose in Argumentative Letter Writing

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SWBAT analyze how an author's claims are developed by particular portions of a text by annotating with a specific purpose.

Big Idea

Letter writing is an excellent way to teach argumentation!

Warm Up and Mini Lesson

15 minutes

Today we are continuing to develop an understanding of Author's Purpose and how author's can use rhetoric to advance that purpose (RI.9-10.6)   As our first step, students will practice identifying statements as either fact or opinion.  Often times when writing argumentative text, students will use opinion as their only evidence.  I want them to practice identifying opinion evidence and factual evidence (RI.9-10.8).

I distribute the FactsvOpinions document and we go through it together, as a class.  This video explains why I use the factsvopinions document and why it is important..

Evaluate the argument in a letter

25 minutes

I am not sure from whom I received this awesome  Example Letter Practice. example letter, but it is great in class.  The letter is an argument from a parent to a school district.  It asks students to evaluate the argument and identify claim, evidence, and counterclaim.  I distribute the assignment and explain the instructions to students.  I want to make sure they understand exactly why I am having them complete this assignment so I write some I Can statements on the board:

I Can identify the author's claim (RI.9-10.2)

I Can analyze how those claims are developed by particular portions of the text (RI.9-10.5)

I Can determine the author's purpose (RI.9-10.6)

I Can analyze how an author uses tools to advance that purpose (RI.9-10.6)

I Can assess whether an author's reasoning is relevant and sufficient (RI.9-10.8)

I Can evaluate the argument and specific claims in a  text (RI.9-10.6)

Before students begin the assignment, we go through the I Can checklist and so that students know what they are learning today.  




10 minutes

As class comes to an end, I want students to have an opportunity to talk to each other about this letter and about the evaluative work they did.  I tell them to grab a shoulder partner and discuss the letter and their work they completed with the letter (SL.9-10.1).