Week 12: Monday, November 10th - Friday, November 14th
Note: As you design your lesson plans for this
week, consider how best to help your students prepare for the final few weeks
of writing the first arguing essay. Mix work with pleasure by emphasizing key
points about argument while integrating engaging activities such as the appeals
activity described below. You are encouraged to use your creativity to design
an interactive activity regarding logical fallacies (or see the Activity Bank
for ideas) as energy may be low; you can expect that the cumulative effects of
the semester will begin to take their toll now (if they haven’t already) on
both students and instructors. Urge students to see it through and to get as
much work done now as possible; after they return from Thanksgiving break, not
only will their attention have been diverted but other final requirements in
courses will begin to kick in.
Keep connecting lesson, portfolio,
and course goals.
Goals and Options for this Week
students understand the implications of their publication analysis
activities for their selection of a target publication and for the writing
and design of their arguments
the use of argumentative appeals
discussing New York Times editorials and op-ed pages, use of
visuals, as well as any current events of particular interest or
(especially) related to student topics. Keep student engaged in the issues
of our day.
with students in conference or arrange for online or email conferencing so
that you can gauge their progress and thwart any impending paper disasters
Connection to Course Goals
The activities this week continue to build student
understanding of argumentative principles while keeping them focused on the
Required Reading and Homework
about types of appeals on page 448 - 452 in the PHG and Rogerian arguments on page 452 - 455. For additional
information on appeals, consult the Arguing writing guide on Writing@CSU.
a 2 - 3 paragraph appeal for your argument. This can serve as the
introduction to your argument, or as draft work to be incorporated into
the argument later on. At the top, write down who your audience is and
post your appeal to the SyllaBase Class Discussion Forum.
the appeal posted above and below your own. Provide a paragraph response
telling the writer what is working with their appeal (be sure to consider
their audience) and what improvements could be made.
about logical fallacies on page 492 - 494 in the PHG. One idea for
getting fallacies on the table is to ask students to write the most
outrageous examples they can imagine (the worse, the better). Require, for
instance, the writing of 4-5 highly unlikely examples that could occur in an argument on their issue. These might also be posted
and responded to on Syllabase—or you could have students role play an
argument in which one or both parties scripted such fallacies into their
debate with one another. Have fun with this one.
Schedule Individual Conferences: You may wish to
spend 10 minutes or so with each student this week. During the conferences,
focus on these main concerns:
Do they have a focused, debatable overall claim?
Do they have a clear sense of why they’re
writing on this issue in the first place?
Do they have a clear sense of purpose in why
they’re writing their argument for their defined audiences? Does the claim fit
Are the audience, purpose and focus they’ve
identified for arguing essay 1 coherent?
Do they understand what evidence they’ll need to
support their sub-claims? What types of evidence do they plan to use? What
evidence do they already have that can work?
Assign Work on Appeals and Logical Fallacies: Learning
to write appeals and to avoid logical fallacies will help students construct
effective arguments. Such learning also serves the larger course goal of
developing critical thinking skills.
To use appeals effectively, writers must have a strong sense
of who their readers are. Encourage students to read and analyze the use of
appeals in Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter From Birmingham Jail,” located on
pages 451-452. Discuss with students why “persuasive” argument (requesting action)
requires much more use of appeals than does “convincing” argument (requesting
only that readers “entertain or accept the idea”).
To avoid fallacies in argumentation, writers must critically
examine their claims to ensure that they are being thorough, thoughtful, and
fair. Students should understand that a writer shows respect for his or her
readers by avoiding prejudice and preposterous reasoning. A certain way to
demonstrate disdain for a reader is to interject fallacy.
Where to Look for Appeals:
Product labels (from shampoo bottles, skin
creams, hair products, fancy beverages like Odwalla, food items, etc…)
Letters asking for donations (environmental
groups, politicians, local clubs…)
Advertisements and full-page coupons*
Bribe mail from phone, internet and credit card
Arguments found on line or in texts
Note: The New York Times is a good resource for ads.
Students may enjoy analyzing the advertising that is done by a national
newspaper whose readership is largely located in a well-heeled and quite
provincial urban center like New York City.
A Group Activity for Helping Students Analyze Appeals: Have
students break into small groups (3-4) and give each group one or two sample
appeals to look at. Put the following questions on an overhead for each group
is the writer's purpose?
is the target audience?
types of appeals do they use?
these appeals effective? Why or why not?
these appeals accurately represent a product or a situation? Are they fair
to use? Why or why not?
could the writers do to improve their use of appeals?
Allow each group 3 minutes to share their sample text and
present some of their findings to the class. After all groups have finished
presenting, emphasize that writers should use appeals to make effective
arguments, but that they should also respect their readers and use the appeals
fairly to represent their points (not to distort reality).
A Role Play Activity to Practice Using Appeals: Use
this activity to get students thinking about how to appeal to an audience to
meet a specific purpose. First, prepare five different tasks that require
students to develop appeals. Print the tasks out and cut them into separate
strips to distribute in class.
your parents to give you $3,000 to start your own T-Shirt business
your landlord to let you have a pet goat
your best friend to go on a date with your 34 year old cousin
Then, break students into small groups (4 - 5) and have each
group choose one strip at random. Once students have their strips, explain the
"Your group task is written
on this slip of paper. Your group will have 10 minutes to develop an argument
to persuade the rest of the class to act on. Someone from your group will then
read your task to the class (the class will role play the designated audience)
and you will have 5 - 7 minutes to present your argument as a group.
Afterwards, the class will decide if your use of appeals was strong enough to
persuade us to act on your argument. Be sure to anticipate opposing arguments
along the way (as some of your peers may raise questions and objections to your
claims). While developing appeals, also consider what your audience will value
most. What are their needs and interests and how can you respond to
Give students 10 minutes to prepare arguments before
presenting. Tell students that they are free to add some inventive material to
their situation (e.g. your cousin just got out of jail and he's feeling very
low about himself - he needs a girlfriend to make him feel better). After each
group presents, ask the class which parts of the argument were most effective,
and which of the appeals worked best. Tell students to keep these observations
in mind when writing appeals for their own arguments.
Finally, develop an activity to demonstrate logical
fallacies or to test their understanding of the differences between the
fallacy types. In addition to the ideas stated at the beginning of this lesson,
you can find additional ideas in the Activity Bank. Letters to the editor often
provide remarkable (often, remarkably awful) examples of logical fallacies.
Perhaps review the Collegian or Coloradoan letters for fallacies.