Writing@CSU Activities Bank
Goals: To use the
In this portfolio students are constructing their own arguments. They are reading the Editorial and Op-Ed pages in particular and are also looking at the ways that graphics and visuals are used in the newspaper. Simultaneously, they are learning about the visual argumentative options available to them. For this portfolio, students should:
1) Take issue with the issues
2) Stake a claim and carve some new ground
3) Study the ways that arguments are constructed, both rhetorically and visually
The newspaper can be used to demonstrate any of these
aspects of argument. Standard forms of written argument abound in the Editorial
and Op-Ed pages but in addition, students might keep their eyes open for
graphics, photos, etc. that they find especially convincing/persuasive. The
question with photographs and other visual arguments, of course, is whether an
audience can agree on what it's arguing.
For instance, prior to the war with Iraq, the Times published a
photograph of a grass hut and canoeing tribe that just a few years ago lived in
the swampy estuary waters at the mouth of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers'
entrance into the Persian Gulf—and property of Iraq--but was eradicated by
Saddam Hussein's regime. The photo
caption explained that this indigenous culture is
gone—all its members either dead or assimilated, as the water was drained from
the swamp to provide water inland. The photograph shows an idyllic scene of
this peaceful culture before its demise.
What, students might discuss, was this photograph arguing—published, as
it was, just weeks before the war with
For Portfolio 3, in addition to continuing to collect clips, students might be encouraged to lead discussions on various argumentative issues.