Happy New Year-pick a few of these as your "School Resolutions". :We’re halfway through the second decade of the 21st century, and, with it, we have much to look forward to: 1.Gaining a fresh start – singer Brad Paisley is credited with saying, “Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365-page book. Write a good one.” Far too often we need a breaking point. Sometimes [&hellip
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Happy New Year-pick a few of these as your "School Resolutions". :)
Several years ago, I had a classroom library that was filled to the brim with books. Every shelf crammed. Every space occupied, yet every independent reading time it never failed; a student would ask if they could please go to the library to find a book. I didn't think twice about it. Of course,…
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Great tips on how to pick just right books for your classroom library.
You probably don’t need me to tell you that argument writing is a hot topic in education — it has a special place in the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and it is writing anchor standard number 1 for a reason. However, some teachers are asking if we really should no longer teach persuasive writing to our upper grade students.
I have many fond memories of teaching persuasive writing. Students love discussing and debating their point of view, and it has the capacity to pull in reluctant writers because most students don’t have trouble writing about their position on controversial issues. Also, persuasive writing has traditionally been required on high-stakes assessments such as the ACT. This is all good stuff, so why should we switch from persuasive to argument writing? Because, while persuasive writing may be a norm of the past, argument writing is the skill of the future.
Here are four reasons to make the switch from persuasive to argument writing for grades 6-12:
1. Argument focuses on evidence and clear reasoning
Argument writing is all about whether you have quality evidence and whether you can explain how your evidence supports your claim. The logical process of gathering evidence, coming up with a claim, and linking evidence to your claim is different than the passion of persuasive debates. Rather than ignoring contrasting points of view, different perspectives strengthen arguments by giving students the chance to test their claims with contrasting evidence and refine their positions. Introducing standards for accountable talk and argument frames is a great way to keep the discussion focused and academic in nature.
2. Avoiding the Drama
Have you ever had a discussion stall out in your classroom when a student says “Well, that’s my opinion, I have a right to my opinion” and then refuses to entertain other ideas? Or have you seen a debate get too personal, with students polarizing to one side or the other with tempers rising? Turns out, this is typical of persuasion. Persuasion is personal, passionate, and all about winning. In persuasion, people often pull examples from their own lives to tug at the heart strings of their audience. They pick and choose the best evidence for their side, ignoring the counter arguments. This leads to a discussion that is more about who can speak the loudest or get in the most verbal jabs, not the best for promoting civil academic discourse.
3. Argument gets students ready for the next generation of high-stakes assessments
Next-generation assessments such as PARCC and Smarter Balanced, are going to require a large amount of argument writing (along with writing to inform and explain and, to a lesser extent, narrative writing), but they are NOT going to include persuasive writing. The future is argument writing. Argument writing requires evidence and the prompts require students to read across several texts, some of which include video and other media. The sooner you start preparing students for this the better. There are great examples on the PARCC and Smarter Balancedwebsites of argument-centered performance tasks. Achieve the Core has K-12 samples of PARCC-style opinion and argumentative writing. The 6-12th grade sample lessons have students write an argument from three texts and they have been annotated with the Common Core State Standards for argument. Check them out!
4. Argument prepares students for the real world beyond the school walls
Education experts Mike Schmoker and Gerald Graff argue that argument is “the primary skill essential to our success as citizens, students and workers.” College professors always complain that students are not prepared to craft an argument when they get to college, and our students’ performance on national assessments of argument writing bears this out. Argument is important in all disciplines, which can make it a common thread throughout the school day. Students are constantly bombarded with media manipulators trying to separate them from their money (or worse), and understanding what makes a sound argument is essential. It can help our students evaluate products and services for themselves.
So if you teach grades 6-12, make the switch to argument writing. If you teach grades K-5, read Writing Anchor Standard 1 up through the grades and see how your students are being scaffolded toward argumentation. Respond to this post with ways you are teaching or plan to teach argument in your classroom.
Computer adaptive tests produced by Smarter Balance will test students in four categories for English Language Arts. They will be expected to demonstrate mastery on reading, writing, and speaking/listening and research/inquiry tasks.
Thinking of having your students make a presentation when finishing a unit?Here is a great resource with many short video clips you could show in class and have them reflect on their current presentation content, then immediately revise. Or, how about trying a flipped classroom...have them watch these for homework and come prepared to discuss the elements of a great presentation or speech.
Building student vocabulary allows them to read and write at a higher level. Here is a good strategy to build student vocabulary, which starts by the students identifying tough words, and examining related words.
I attended the WASCD conference in October and Heidi Hayes Jacobs was the keynote-TONS and TONS of Resources on her clearninghouse. Hover your mouse over the dropdown arrow under All Resources and begin exploring-you will find something you will want to explore!
Looking for performance tasks? These are very well done and there are mulitple titles for the grades that have shared their work. If your grade does not have work posted-still take a peek and see what you may be able to do to bring performance tasks into your classroom assessments. A real gem of a find!
AMAZING website-You have to check this one out! Something for everyone here: Science, current events on all kinds of topics, social studies, culture and more! What's more to love: you can adjust the lexile (reading level) , some come with worksheets or assessments, and you can save these in your teacher binder. With this FREE account you can email these articles out to students to read as homework and have them come to class ready to discuss.
Free K-12 educational videos … organized. Tens of thousands of excellent, educational videos in a huge, intuitive directory. Organized, reviewed, rated, and described by teachers. Ideal as a supplement to a curriculum or for independent study.
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Videos to share with your students on all kinds of literacy topics!
More than 1600 federal teaching and learning resources organized by subject: art, history, language arts, math, science, and others -- from FREE, the website that makes federal teaching and learning resources easy to find.
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FREE complex text to supplement your current units in a wide variety of subjects!
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