This week we revisit the writing as conversation model to transition between Portfolios II and III. Then, we introduce the Portfolio III assignments and begin building the skills that students will need to complete this portfolio. This includes: reviewing claims, reasons, and evidence; teaching argumentative fallacies; and discussing how to write effective introductions for academic arguments.
Please remember to provide lesson and course connections each class day and to introduce and conclude your lessons along with providing transitions between activities.
In this postscript you might have students reflect on the research and analysis process and also point them forward to how their work in Portfolio II will help them in Portfolio III and beyond CO150.
Questions you might ask include:
What was the most difficult part of Portfolio II? What was the easiest? What aspects of the research process do you foresee yourself taking to other classes here at CSU? What aspects of the research and/or analysis process do you think will help you write your argument for Portfolio III? If you had more time, on what aspect of Portfolio II would you continue to work on?
This model was introduced during the first week of class. Use it here as a way to transition between Portfolio II and III. Explain that in Portfolio II students researched their own issue and began to find support for their ideas. Now, they will add to the “conversation” by producing their own argument for others to read and respond to.
Review the assignment sheets with students highlighting important ideas. Explain that there are 2 arguments students will write for Portfolio III. They will write one argument for an academic context and one for a popular/public context. For now, it is important to look closely at the first context (arguing for an academic audience). Have students read over the guidelines for the first context and discuss logistics and answer any questions they have.
The reading in Chapter 10 of the PHG support the context of arguing for an academic audience particularly well, so try to incorporate as much of the chapter as you can during this part of the portfolio. Ultimately, since we want to reinforce the course goal that writing is a series of choices, you might create an activity that covers the following questions:
Use pgs. 474 – 478 in the PHG to help you introduce students to argumentative claims. Explain that typically argumentative claims adhere to these four types. However, also mention that claims can be a combination of these types. After introducing the four types of claims, ask students to draft out their own claim. You might also have a few students list their claims on the board. Then, you could ask the class to discuss which type of claim each is and how they’d expect the paper to look if it were to support this claim.
Also, see the Activities Bank in the online appendix for other materials on teaching types of claims.
Introduce reasons as sub-claims that support the writer’s overall claim. Reasons generally answer the question “why” or follow the statement “because.” See pg. 528 in the PHG for a discussion on developing reasons. Then, have students list out the reasons that support their claim. We usually advise students against having more then 3 reasons in this paper. It’s better to thoroughly develop a few strong reasons than to skim over several reasons.
Once students have a sense of what their own argument will be, they need to consider the opposing arguments that an audience may raise. Here are several suggested approaches for teaching refutations. Choose whichever activities you feel will work for your class.
1.) Use the Pro/Con grid on pgs. 525 – 526 in the PHG to have students generate supporting and opposing points for their argument.
2.) Have students work in groups to help each other anticipate opposing arguments. They should each share their claims/reasons and then ask other students to raise points in opposition.
3.) Read Edward Koch’s argument “Death and Justice” on pgs. 507 – 511 and discuss how Koch addresses opposing arguments. Also, read David Bruck’s essay, “The Death Penalty” available on E-reserve and discuss how Bruck refutes Koch’s arguments.
Students should now be thinking about how to write their argument. They are probably eager to begin visualizing how their essay will look. Explain to students that they need to think about how they want to introduce their argument.
1.) Discuss the function of an introduction. What should it accomplish? Then, review sample introductions and ideas in the PHG on pgs. 340 – 341. Ask students which examples they most like and why. Then ask them to jot down ideas for writing their own introduction.
2.) Discuss the function of narration. Tell them to consider where their argument fits into the larger, ongoing discussion about their issue. Then, explain that they should provide some setting to show readers what they’re responding to so that the essay isn't floating in space. The narration can be personal (a story that they’ve experienced) cultural (recent trends in society, or a speech or text that they’re responding to) or political (recent government-supported actions). By connecting their issue to something concrete, readers will realize its significance and see the reason for their argument. Note: Some writers like to think of the narration part of their argument as placing “old information before new information.” Before making their argument (new points) writers should anchor their ideas to something familiar that readers can relate to (old points). This helps guide readers into an argument.
For example: Last year the death of Terri Shivo sparked enormous debate about the right to die. Since then many have argued that…I believe….
3.) Examine how Koch and Bruck introduce and narrate their issue before providing their claims.
Assign the following to students this week: