Position Papers
Research and Argument
1. Journal/Notebook w/ lined paper.
2. Pencils, highlighters.
3. Flashdrive or Cloud Storage (Google,
Dropbox, iCloud, etc).
4. Have Journal/Notebook out and be working
on your draft when we start class.
The ?: Violent Games
● Are these good or bad for kids?
● Is the sale of violent video games protected
by the first amendment?
Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association
Day 1
Debate Positions
Violent games. Good or bad?
Debating Positions
Two sides to debate in an argument
“High Jinks: Shoot-Out”
-violent role-playing games
-moral dilemma when kids play games that
simulate violence.
Partners, decide sides
Partner 1
Teens should be
allowed to play violent
Partner 2
Teens should NOT be
allowed to play violent
Notes on your side while we read.
As we read “High Jinks” take notes, highlight,
underline, circle information to defend your
Prepare to debate!
Partners take turns debating your side.
New Positions/Switch Sides
Partner 1
Role-playing games
with simulated
violence are perilous
for kids.
Partner 2
Role-playing games
with simulated
violence are
motivating for kids.
Evidence Collection
Find information that will support and
defend your new position.
Notes, highlight, circle, etc.
Partner Pairs
Find someone who is the same as you. Compare/share notes!
Debate Round 2
Rehearse new argument using new collection
of evidence.
Get back with your original partner and debate
Sports Programs
Good position paper example
What worked well?
Clearly state position
Different arguments in different sections
Ordered logically
Pick a position/side
Tomorrow we start drafting...
Drafting Plan
1. Which position is your strongest argument?
2. Clarify overall claim.
3. How will you argue that position?
4. Intro? Body? Conclusion?
5. How will you address counterclaim?
6. Where is your evidence?
Day 2
Flash Draft
Violent Games harmful or entertaining?
Talk through your argument w/ your partner.
Do you have a claim? Evidence? Analysis?
Pencils out, start drafting!
Remember to introduce your audience to the topic, state a
clear claim, support the claim with evidence found in the
“High Jinks” article, and be fair to other viewpoints (counterclaims).
Flash Drafting
Partner Feedback
Meet w/ partner, read each others’ flash drafts.
What’s working well? What can be improved?
Argument Writing Checklist
Let’s take a look at this checklist.
ID at least two growth areas.
How can you get better?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
Journals/Notebooks Out
Let’s go through the basic steps to write an
How-To Argue
Good example argument
Message to School Board
Flash Draft!
Intro, claim, evidence, counter, analysis.
Intro topic, state clear claim, reason/evidence, be fair.
Gather, sort, and rank evidence using your position as a lens.
Rethink position, and defend using reason and evidence.
Choose strongest argument and plan it.
Write strong introduction that:
○ Hooks reader (explain importance, compelling fact,
statistic, etc)
○ Specific context/backstory
○ Name position clearly (maybe state other positions)
○ Orient reader to overall line of argument (preview)
How-To Write a Position Paper Notes
What are you missing?
HW: Research
Find strong position papers on your side.
Find arguments/stories for your side. Take notes,
prepare to use their strategy in your new draft.
Day 3
Angling Evidence
Supporting specific points w/ proof!
Pro Strategy
● look at the notes you took from the
investigations you did last night.
● what strategy did the pros use?
not just the facts, but how they spun the facts to help
their argument.
The judge...makes a pie chart of death--the order of killing
assignments, which he or she then distributes to squads
shortly before opening day.
“I’m looking for some good massacres early,” this year’s
judge said as the competition began, the second week in
May…”I’ve arranged at least one boyfriend-girlfriend kill
that should be interesting.”
Angle the evidence. Which side do these support?
“Angled” for violent games
This evidence shows that role-playing games, including these
violent ones like Killer, are good for kids. For example, some kids
end up taking on leadership positions, with a lot of responsibility in
those games and they show a lot of initiative, like when the judge
in this game thought carefully about the order of the killing
“Angled” against violent games
This evidence shows that these violent role-playing games
are not good for kids. In particular, they give kids too much
power Killer sets up the squads and the order of the
killings, and that means he sets upperclassmen against
lower classmen, he sets girlfriends and boyfriends against
each other-it’s just too much power for one kid to have over
his classmates.
Evidence alone
is often neutral. Take what you find and spin it your direction.
Take this and spin it.
Partner 1: Good
Partner 2: Bad
In 2007, Jake Protell, a freshman, distinguished himself by ferreting out the itinerary of a
field trip that two targets were taking to Tel Aviv. Protell took a car to the Newark Airport,
found the victims before they passed through security, and dispatched them using two
bathtub “squirt fish.”
“I had to get special permission from the judge for the squirt fish, because I didn’t want
to take my gun anywhere near an El Al counter,” Protell, now a junior, recalled, as he
paced Pierrepont Street, three water guns shoved inside the pocket of a hoodie.
Unpack the Evidence
Explain and angle to support your claim.
Use clever and creative thinking to make a case.
When researching, think about how you could use
almost anything to help your claim.
Check these out. How can you use?
“Do Games Like ‘Grand Theft Auto V’ Cause Real-World Violence”
“Essential Facts about Games and Violence”
“How online gamers are solving science’s biggest problems”
“Shooting in the Dark”
“Violent video games may stop crime by keeping criminals busy playing violent video games”
New draft.
Use your notes, research, and aim to angle the
evidence in your favor.
Don’t hesitate to change your mind or re-angle
your original claim.
Anchor Chart Notes
● Argumentative essay; intro topic, state clear claim, reason/evidence, be
fair to other viewpoints.
● Use position as a lens to gather, sort, and rank evidence.
● Choose strongest argument and make a plan intro, evidence, and
● Strong introduction that:
o Hooks reader
o Provides context
o Name position clearly
o Orient reader to overall argument
● Angle evidence explaining how it supports the point of view you want.
Start Writing!
We will be publishing in a few days...
Partner Review
Read what your partner has.
Where is evidence needed?
Guide to Citing References
Use this guide, that I’ll pass
you, to use APA style to give
credit where credit is due.
Keep these with you!
Effective Intros
Read yours to a partner. What is working?
Quotes in Introduction
One strategy is to use a quote in your intro to
help the audience understand some of the
debate taking place.
Weave a quote or two into your introductions to
see if it works.
Add this strategy to your intro notes.
makes clear argues
Verbs to describe importance/relevance of quote.
Set up the source, tell
a little bit of
background that
angles it, quote
important lines of
According to Guy Martin, a journalist
for The New Yorker, high school kids
playing Killer will travel extensively for
the game, and he suggest that this
travel shows initiative. For examplel,
martin reveals that “Protell took a car
to Newark airport.” Earlier in the
arciale, Martin noted that “Protell, a
freshman, distinguished himself”
(2009, 27).
First two pages of
most current draft
Write long about a
quote. Explain it,
analyze it, how can it
help you?
Day 4
Connotative Language
Painting a tone
Using words to create tone
The kids from St. Ann’s move across the five
boroughs and beyond as they play this game.
Some kids travel as far as Connecticut, other
kids to New Jersey. They gather information
from other kids, they get parents to help, they
involve cab drivers; these kids take this game
Improved version w/ toned words
The subversive kids from St. Ann’s range across
the five boroughs and beyond like wolves as they
play this pack game. Some privileged kids travel
as far as Connecticut, other well heeled kids ot
New Jersey. They gossip with other kids, they
coerce parents to help, they bribe cab drivers;
these kids take this ferocious game seriously.
Your turn to practice
Add words, remove words, use a thesaurus to find synonyms.
Adjectives, verbs, and/or comparisons.
Take the above basic paragraph and create an admiring tone.
Admiring tone
The innovative kids from St. Ann’s move courageously
across the five boroughs and beyond as they play this
ambitious game. Some daring kids travel as far as
Connecticut, other brave kids to New Jersey. They
collaborate ingeniously with other kids, they generously
involve parents, they befriend neighborhood cab drivers;
these kids take this inventive and determined kids take this
groundbreaking game seriously.
Your turn to do.
Work with a current draft to add connotative
Set the tone for your piece
With your partner, set a plan for your work.
What is your tone?
Optical Illusion/Metaphor
Arguments viewed in
different ways
depending on
What do you see?
Painting a Tone w/ Language
The young men who opened fire at Columbine H.S.,
at the movie theater in Aurora Colo and in other
massacres had this in common; they were video
gamers who seemed to be acting out some dark
digital fantasy. It was as if all that exposure to
computerized violence gave them the idea to go on a
rampage-or at least fueled their urges.
Use evidence against itself sometimes
Opponents of violent games often try to demonize the games themselves, making
the case that it’s the games, not the players, that cause the trouble. These
opponents often pepper their arguments with strong language to evoke certain
emotions in their audience. For example, Benedict Carey of The New York Times,
in his article “Shooting in the Dark,” chooses words such as massacres, dark digital
fantasy, and rampage to describe the video games played by the Columbine
shooters. His word choices connotate a world of evil and violence to sway his
audience against video games. It’s as if Carey is trying to imply that the games
themselves are responsible for the real world violence. However what Carey fails to
recognize is that it is the players, not the games, that cause violence in the real
Watch/listen to arguments. Commercials, news, online
videos, family members. Notice how strong words can
evoke emotions.
Continue/start writing, drafting, revising your paper. It’s
due in just a few days!
Day 5
Powerful Conclusions
Powerful Conclusions Notes
Restate the claim
Leave readers thinking
Show how claim affects your own life
Suggest further way of acting/thinking
Show how position has shifted
Demonstrate fairness to other viewpoints
Describe significance of your argument
Additional insight, implications, questions, challenges
With money, comes a great deal of selfishness. Some people think
that money leads to bliss, and that bliss will ultimately lead to
greater altruism and concern for the common good. However, the
vast majority of people who fall upon great wealth tend to behave in
increasingly selfish ways. There are those in the wealthiest tier of
society who are known as altruistic. People such as Bill and
Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett give copious amounts of money
to charities. However, these billionaires make sure to take care of
themselves first. They live self-centered lives of greedy wealth,
despite so many who are living in poverty. These examples show
that money leads to selfishness.
Example from high schooler. Thomas is his name.
Thomas’s Conclusion
Working well
Thomas’s Conclusion
Working well
● Restate claim
● Connects claim to others’ lives
● Uses strong words to evoke
● Could suggest call to action
● Could say who really needs to
hear this argument
● Could end with a final thought or
Your Conclusion?
● Partner up
● T-Chart your partner
● Looking at conclusion notes, which strategy
do you want to use/include?
● Work time.
Working well
T-Chart intro, evidence, conclusion w/ partner
Preparing for Final Edit/HW
1. File saved using your last name.
2. Text is Times New Roman/12 point.
3. Double space lines.
4. Indent paragraphs.
5. Class, Name, Paper, Date
Top right corner.
6. Start writing/words four lines from top.
Day 6
Ready to Publish?
Convention Check
Time to Polish
Academic spelling, capitalization, ending punctuation.
Spell/Grammar check, read all the way through to identify/fix problems.
Double check citations/references.
Double spaced, Times New Roman, 12pt font, 1-inch margins, paragraph
● Read whole thing out loud to partner, checking for/fixing long confusing
sentences or adding transitions/missing words.
One reason that…
Another important reason…
It turns out that…
This is significant because…
Evgen more importantly…
Of even greater significance…
An example of this is....
To the point that…
Supporting the point that...
Work on drafts
These are due tomorrow!
Day 7
How to unleash your speech
Inspirational speech
Cory Booker
Learn from the master.
Jot notes about what he’s doing well.
Tips for Rehearsing Speeches
markup speech
slow down
eye contact
breath between
● tone of voice
● stand tall
● move around
● gestures to
emphasize points
● change volume
depending on point
1. Annotate text w/ notes, underlines, circles,
numbers, stars, etc.
2. Pick a tip/technique and apply to a
3. Practice speaking w/ partner.
Example speech
Regardless of whether or not one enjoys games that have violence in
them, the time has come to admit that they can be damaging. The
world we live in today has too much violence in it. In the time of Trevon
Martin...of Columbine…, acting as if any shooting can be just a game,
is irresponsible. It’s irresponsible to teach teens that when you
shoot...someone, they get back up. It’s irresponsible to teach them that
it’s okay to play at something that people face for real. it would be
better to give kids real guns and set them out hunting their own food
than to teach them that guns are playthings that don’t really hurt
Did you notice
anything good?
Try this out..(handout)
● Partner 1: choose a technique, prepare
● Partner 2: choose a different technique,
● Partner 1: Go!
● Partner 2: Go!
Speech Practice/Prep
Go ahead and begin practicing your own
speech using your research paper.
Annotate the written copy of your speech,
identify techniques you want to try, and do it!
Focus on eye contact, slowing down, and
emphasizing your major points/arguments.
Come prepared to deliver a speech publically
to the class or show a TED Talk style video
of your speech.
You must also bring two copies of your
position paper.
1. Final perfect copy
2. Annotated draft used for speech
Day 8
Time to celebrate!
Groups of 4
● Take turns giving your speeches or playing
your videos.
● Be prepared to turn in a copy of your final
paper and an annotated rough draft after you
present your speech.
Well done!

Position Papers