Lesson plan

Argument Arrangements

Help your students strengthen their argument writing! Using the strategy of writing advantages and disadvantages, students will delve into writing strong reasons that are rooted in evidence.
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Students will be able to organize and construct an argument. Students will be able to supply relevant, supporting reasons which connect to a stated claim.

(10 minutes)
  • Point to the covered word card labeled Argue on the board.
  • Invite student volunteers to guess the word.
  • Uncover one letter at a time, alternating with guessing, until students guess the word.
  • Challenge your students, asking them to think about what it means to argue. What might we see? What might we hear?
  • Ask the students to discuss their thoughts with a partner.
  • Repeat this process with the covered Argument word card, again inviting students to guess the word, followed by a discussion about the word argument.
  • Explain to the students that similar to an argument, sometimes we write with the purpose of convincing others to change their mind or behavior.
  • Tell the students that today they will be working on building a claim by stating advantages and disadvantages.
(10 minutes)
  • Use the analogy of a chair, showing the students how the legs of a chair represent the main claim and provide support.
  • Explain that an argument/claim must have a basis which includes reasons that support the claim, and these reasons must be based on evidence.
  • Tell the students that an advantage is a favorable reason for something, while a disadvantage is a drawback. Provide further examples, as needed.
  • Before continuing into the heart of the lesson, briefly guide the students in sharing examples of advantages and disadvantages. For example, what might be the advantages or disadvantages of preparing our own meals?
  • Draw a large chair on chart paper that includes four legs. Draw an arrow to each leg, allowing enough space for students to write.
  • Introduce the topic: Should students participate in a carpool to get to school?
  • On the seat of the chair, write the following heading: Advantages of Using a Carpool.
  • Use a sample sentence to show the students the claim. (For example, It is a good idea to participate in a carpool.)
  • Identify the potential advantages to participating in a carpool, writing each advantage on a line that points to each separate leg of the chair. (For instance, Fewer cars can reduce traffic, less gas is used, it gives time to socialize, and it gives parents a break.)
  • Tell the students that the advantages can also be called reasons. They tell us why it is a good idea to participate in a carpool.
  • On a separate piece of chart paper construct an additional chair, writing another form of transportation and showing students disadvantages of this type of transportation.
  • On a separate piece of paper, write some non-examples of supporting reasons. (For instance, It is fun.)
  • Invite students to reflect on differences and draw attention to specific ways the advantages were listed, as well as noting the non-examples.
(15 minutes)
  • Divide the students into small groups, giving each group five index cards — one index card for the claim and four index cards for reasons.
  • Challenge the students with a topic (e.g. Should families recycle?) and ask the students to make a claim and write the reasons for that claim on their cards, including advantages or disadvantages. (If desired, you could give each group a separate topic.)
  • Circulate around the room, questioning students to ensure that their reasons are grounded in evidence.
  • After all groups have finished writing their claims and reasons, invite individual groups to share their writing with the remainder of the class.
(15 minutes)
  • Pass out a copy of the Support a Claim worksheet to each student, and have them complete it independently.
  • Circulate around the room and guide students as needed with strong reasons that support their claims.

Enrichment

  • Ask students to complete the Product Evaluation worksheet.

Support

  • If students have difficulty developing claims, prompt them with probing questions that help them narrow their choices.
  • Use the example to provide additional examples or brainstorm with students prior to independent work.
  • Use digital documents to have students write, give, and get feedback from their peers.
  • Use advertisements found on YouTube videos to give students inspiration for writing about the advantages and disadvantages of products (as found in enrichment).
(10 minutes)
  • Pass out a copy of the Spend or Save? worksheet to each student, and have them complete it independently.
  • Check to see that the reasons provided support the claim.
(5 minutes)
  • Challenge the students to reflect, using three Ws. What did we learn? So what? (How is it relevant?) Now what? (How will this impact our future writing?)
  • Invite students to participate in a brief class discussion.

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