A Resource for Secondary English and Reading Teachers
Office of Secondary Language Arts, 2011
The CCR anchor standards ensure that students are
college and career ready upon graduation.
Document Contents
Argument writing vocabulary
Instructional expectations
Teacher resources
Student resources
 With
a partner, review and discuss each of the nine
questions and their implications.
An explanatory thesis explains,
supports, or clarifies a main
point.
An argument thesis, called a claim,
warrants debate and may or may not be controversial
but is always
debatable.
YES OR NO?????
Read each statement closely to
determine if the statement is an
argument claim.
A STUDENT READ NATIVE SON, A NOVEL BY
RICHARD WRIGHT, AND SHE GENERATED A
THESIS.
Although Bigger Thomas faces many obstacles as
he attempts to “find his path in life,” societal
practices actually dictate what he can and cannot
do and sets Bigger up for failure from the time he
is born.
YES, this is a debatable statement because it can be argued that
Bigger Thomas is in control of his destiny and not society, or one
might argue that Bigger Thomas’s destiny is a result of both
individual choice and societal practices.
A STUDENT READ “DREAMS” AND “DREAM
DEFERRED” BY LANGSTON HUGHES, AND HE
GENERATED THIS THESIS.
Langston Hughes uses metaphors to illustrate how
having to postpone one’s wishes or desires can lead
to destruction.
NO, this is not a debatable statement but a FACT since
Langston does indeed use metaphors to illustrate that one’s
wishes and desires can lead to destruction. The statement
would actually work well as a thesis for an explanatory
response.
J.D. Salinger’s writing style in The Catcher in Rye
allows the reader to understand both the emotional
and physical state of fragile Holden Caulfield.
NO, this is not a debatable statement since the author does use
literary devices to illustrate Holden’s emotional and physical
fragile state. This statement would be better suited for an
explanatory response- not an argument response.
NOW, LET’S FOCUS ON SPECIFIC CLASSIFCATIONS
OR TYPES OF CLAIMS.
 CAUSE AND
EFFECT
 DEFINITION
OR FACT
 VALUES
 POLICIES
COUNTERCLAIMS negate the writer’s
claim and suggest an opposing argument.
Let us focus on two claims and generate a possible
counterclaim for each.
Claim #1
Although there are various factors that lead to Romeo’s
and Juliet’s deaths, Friar Laurence primarily is the cause
of the two main characters’ tragic ending.
Claim #2
Though The Highwayman’s life is spared, there are no
“winners” in the Tim-Bess-Highwayman love triangle.
Team with a partner to complete the next set of tasks
related to argument writing and Write
to Source.
Task 1:
Review the list of Write to Source texts and the accompanying claim
or assignment.
Task 2: Student Written Response to Argument
Assignment
Locate the student’s assignment
Locate the student’s outline, where provided
Locate the student’s first draft
Claim
Evidence
Counterclaim
Do People REALLY Write Argument Essays?
Mitch Albom, is a contemporary writer who wrote Tuesdays With Morrie,
a non-fiction, HCPSS high-school-approved text.
Recently Albom wrote an essay in the August 2011 Parade
magazine about how the purpose for summer vacations for children
has changed from when he was a child.
“The Joys of Summer” by Mitch Albom August 7,
2011
Let us look at Albom’s essay which addresses summer vacations
and how the concept of summer vacations as “down time” is nothing
but a memory. No, the essay is not labeled “an argument essay,” but
the writer does all that we want our students to be able to do upon
graduation from high school: states his claim, provides background
information, uses examples to support his claim (although limited
to anecdotal evidence), and addresses counterclaims.
The link to the actual essay, which appeared in Parade magazine,
is
The Joys of Summer, August 7, 2011
“The Joys of Summer” by Mitch Albom August 7, 2011
Mitch Albom’s essay is a response to
personal observations.
“The Joys of Summer” by Mitch Albom August 7,
2011
Background information: How children spent their
summer vacation in the past and how they spend their
summer vacation today
“The Joys of Summer” by Mitch Albom August 7,
2011
Claim: I can make the case for doing nothing all
summer.
Evidence: “…there was a freedom that today’s kids
don’t enjoy.” imagination
Provides support
Evidence: “Sometimes doing nothing is doing
something.”
Provides support
“The Joys of Summer” by Mitch Albom August 7, 2011
Counterclaim: Now, I know what you’re thinking: “If we don’t enroll our kids in an
activity, all they’ll do is text. Or watch TV (and text) or talk on the phone (and text).
Well, you could prevent that. You could take away the cell phone, the iPod,
the Nintendo. Then see if you can get your kid to do four things in a day:”
1. Have a face-to-face conversation with a friend.
2. Read something.
3. Build something.
4. Get wet. A pool. A hose. A sprinkler. Whatever.
“The Joys of Summer” by Mitch Albom August 7,
2011
Conclusion
“That’s really enough. Before you can blink, it’s the school year again,
where every day is jammed with sports, AP classes, student
government, and field trips.
That’s fine for September. But if September is no different from June,
July, and
August, then we’re doing something wrong. And our kids are missing
something precious.”
Until we receive specific information from MSDE about
argument writing, we will continue to provide
information that represents our understanding as it
pertains to argument writing. When we receive sample
test items, we will update all documents, which are
currently labeled as drafts.
The Maryland Common Core Curriculum Framework
English Language Arts is posted on the HCPSS
Common Core Wiki. You may also click on the link to
display the documents for all grade levels and all
standards (Writing, Reading, Language, Speaking and
Listening).
Link
Maryland Common Core Curriculum Framework,
English Language Arts
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ARGUMENT WRITING - Transition to Common Core