Reflection: Essay Writing Preparing To Defend Another Argument - Section 3: Outlining A New Response


Helping students understand what it means to make an argument in writing and move away from merely summarizing a text has been a real struggle. One thing I have been doing is getting them to be aware of the difference between level 1information and level 2 information, as per Costas Levels of Questioning. I have also had many discussions about conceptual thinking, which I have explained as the production of big ideas that matter to human beings. We have even kept a running list of these on a chart titled "big ideas that are significant to human beings." I think this has been working. The claims students are making in their outlines sound like arguments. This is an important step in fulfilling the requirements of CCSS W.11-12.1a. Students still do not have full control over this though. Today I had to interrupt their work so I could tell them to make sure they are giving a reason for their response and making sure their reason qualifies as a level 2 idea. I say, “Make sure you can identify the words that communicate a big idea worthy of being included on the chart on the wall” and I point to our running list of “big ideas that matter to human beings.” I still need to remind them to do this, but we are headed in the right direction.

  Essay Writing: Students Work On Developing Arguments
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Preparing To Defend Another Argument

Unit 5: Modernist Literature
Lesson 15 of 17

Objective: SWBAT work on improving writing skills by formulating one more argument in a series of written responses to Hemingway's “Hills Like White Elephants.”

Big Idea: Frequency is an important component of writing development.

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