The Common Core
and Argument Writing
 What was your best writing experience?
 What was your worst writing experience?
Common Core: Anchor Standards
Text Types and Purposes*
1. Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient
2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective
selection, organization, and analysis of content.
3. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured
event sequences.
Production and Distribution of Writing
4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
5. Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
6. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.
Research to Build and Present Knowledge
7. Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject
under investigation.
8. Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate
the information while avoiding plagiarism.
9. Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
Range of Writing
10. Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a
day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.
*These broad types of writing include many subgenres. See Appendix A for definitions of key writing types.
Three Text Types
 1. Argument
 2. Informational/Explanatory
 3. Narrative
Grade-level Standards
 What assumptions do the standards pre-suppose?
 What do the standards imply? Consider order, wording, what
is omitted, what is included.
Persuasion vs. Argument
• Ethos (author credibility)
• Pathos (emotional
• Logos (logical appeals)
• Reason
Persuasion vs. Argument
"With its roots in orality, rhetoric has a bias for viewing
audiences as particular. Aristotle said, ‘The persuasive is
persuasive to someone.’ In contrast to rhetoric, writing has a
bias for an abstract audience or generalized conception of
audience. . . . For this reason, a particular audience can be
persuaded, whereas the universal audience must be
convinced; particular audiences can be approached by way of
values, whereas the universal audience (which transcends
partisan values) must be approached with facts, truths, and
~Miller & Charney
Common Core: What is Argument?
To change reader’s point of view
To bring about some action on the reader’s part
To ask the reader to accept the writer’s explanation
or evaluation of a concept, issue, or problem
Is it argument or persuasion?
Is it argument or persuasion?
Is it argument or persuasion?
Is it argument or persuasion?
Is it argument or persuasion?
Is it argument or persuasion?
Is it argument or persuasion?
Grade-level samples
 Group by number and read associated sample.
 1: Grade 12 (Freedom)
 3:Grade 10
 5: Grade 7
2: Grade 12 (Dress Codes)
4: Grade 9
6: Grade 6 (Pet Story)
 7: Grade 6 (Dear Mr. Sandler)
 Discuss what the writing and annotations reveal about
characteristics of argument writing (according to CCSS).
 Group by color and share your sample group’s findings.
Generate a list of characteristics across samples: what are the
qualities of argument writing, as revealed by these samples
(in connection to standards)? Be prepared to share your
group’s list.
Elements of Argument
 Claim
 Evidence: relevant and verifiable
 Warrant: explanation of how the evidence supports the
claim; often common sense rules, laws, scientific principles
or research, and well-considered definitions.
 Backing: support for the warrant (often extended definitions)
 Qualifications and Counter-arguments: acknowledgement of
differing claims
Arguing Both Sides
 What can students learn?
Arguments across disciplines
 “Although arguments in different fields use the same
elements (claims, warrants, etc.), fields have different goals
for argumentation, degrees of formality and precision, and
modes of resolution, with the consequence that evaluative
judgments should be made within fields, not between fields."
Also. . .
 There are "multiple differences between academic argument
and public argument."
~Miller & Charney
Modes and Genres
 “Good writers know what kind of thing they are making with
writing. They can answer the question, should someone ask,
‘what have I read in the world that is like what you are trying
to write?’ No one I know would answer that question with
words like narrative or persuasive or expository.These words
simply aren’t operational for people who write. They aren’t
the terms writers use to talk about or think about the writing
they are producing. . . . Mode words don’t actually name the
kinds of things people make with writing, so by themselves
they don’t give anyone a vision for writing. Genre words do
that work much better.”
~Katie Wood Ray
How do writers’ assumptions about audience affect production of a text?
 1. How much to elaborate based on what they anticipate readers know
 2. How much to tailor the development of claims
 3. How much to care, since writers’ concerns are bigger when audience
 4. How to accommodate audiences if writers don't identify with them
“Considering the audience, therefore, is not simply a matter of selecting
the information that readers need to understand the argument. Instead,
writers must anticipate objections and questions and develop persuasive
appeals, including building on common ground, refuting opposing
claims, offering an acceptable reader-writer relationship, and presuming
upon appropriate beliefs and values."
~Miller & Charney
Building a Topic Bank
School issues
Local Issues
State Issues
Global Issues
Choosing an arguable issue
 Arguments need. . .
 Arguments fail with. . .
 An issue
 No disagreement or
 An arguer
reason to argue
 Risky or trivial issues
 Difficulty establishing
common ground
 Standoffs or fights that
result in negative
 An audience
 Common ground
 A forum
 Audience outcomes
Narrowing a topic
Preventing Bullying
Name calling
bad names
What about your class/grade?
Recycling in
our school
Common Core: What is Argument?
To change reader’s point of view
To bring about some action on the reader’s part
To ask the reader to accept the writer’s explanation
or evaluation of a concept, issue, or problem
Mascots should be
strong or tough and
represent the area. They
should be something
people would be proud
to be.
A Miner would be a
good mascot selection
for our school.
Creating an argument
Our area has mining as
one of its primary
industries, so the choice
would represent our
area. In addition,
miners need to be
tough because they do
strenuous work—and
dangerous work. They
work hard to fill a need
for people everywhere.
That’s something to be
proud of.
Four corners
 The Supreme Court was right this week to reverse the ban
on the sale of violent video games to children.
 Strongly Agree? Agree? Disagree? Strongly Disagree? Write
for 3 minutes on your opinion.
 Go to corner of room matching your response. In your
groups, you have several minutes to create an argument:
claim, convincing evidence (yes, you can use your laptops),
and explanation to present a two-minute argument to the
rest of the groups.
Point of View Annotation
 You will be reading this piece as one of the following people:
 Teenager
 Parent
 Police Officer
 Insurance Executive
 President of DriveCam
 Underline information that is important, surprising, puzzling
or thought-provoking. For each time you underline
information, jot a sentence or two about why you chose that
bit to underline. The goal is to explain your role’s thoughts,
opinions or questions.
What is courage?
 “One day while Superman is flying around the skies of
Chicago, he lands atop the Sears Tower. Using his supertelescopic vision, he sees a woman tied to a railroad track in
the distant south. Squinting, he sees that it is Lois Lane.
Beyond her, perhaps only fifty yards away, is a rushing freight
train, which, in seconds, will cut her fragile body to pieces.
Superman leaps from the Sears Tower and flies toward the
train with the speed of light. He screeches to a halt on the
tracks facing the train. The train smashes into his
outstretched arms, and Superman stops it dead. He turns to
Lois and asks, ‘Gee, are you all right?’”
Defining Courage
Write a full definition of the term:
 Include criteria
 Provide examples that meet and do not meet each criteria
 Avoid “when” after a linking verb
 Instead, use constructions like this: A courageous act is one. . .
Courageous action involves the control of fear in the face of grave danger. For an act to
be truly courageous, it must meet several criteria.
First, because courage is considered to be a virtue, any courageous act must be a noble
or virtuous act, such as saving a life or preventing harm to another person. Robbing a
bank, no matter how dangerous and no matter how steadfast the actor, is not a noble
or selfless act. Because it is not a virtuous act, it cannot be considered courageous.
~ Hillocks, 170
Locavore Movement
 A locavore is a person who has committed to eating locally
grown or produced food.
 Read the materials you’ve been provided. Discuss the ideas in
your groups.
 Create a v-chart of pros and cons of the movement
V-chart as pre-write
“To Locavore or Not?”
 A member of your city council agrees with the perspectives
of the locavore movement. He has proposed encouraging the
movement through a series of ordinances and financial
incentives. Using what you know from the sources you’ve
studied, write a statement expressing your position on the
subject that will be read in front of the city council when it
has hearings on the matter.
Drawing as prewriting
 Read the article. Then sketch some of the key points from the
 Get into groups of three. Share your sketches: each person share
the thinking behind the sketch.
 Groups make a poster that may integrate the ideas from the
individual sketches or something that came up in discussion. All
group members must contribute to the drawing of the poster.
 Gallery walk: In groups, use your post-its to comment or respond
to the other posters. Comments should be about the ideas, not the
drawing. Sign all names to your comment and move on when the
time signal is given. As you move, also read the other comments
and factor them into your comments.
Scaffolding instruction
 Day 1: explore the genre. Read samples and analyze parts. Do fact/opinion
work with essays.
Day 2: Read and analyze more letters to the editor. Rank them in order of
effectiveness. Begin list of criteria for this writing. Begin to generate possible
Day 3: Read and analyze some argument essays. Consider claims, evidence,
organization, tone (snarl words and purr words). How do these apply to letters
to editor? Homework: What do you want to write to editor about? Write your
claim,why you hold the opinion and why someone might disagree with you.
Day 4: Choosing newspaper and identifying audience. Look at more letters in
your target newspaper. What topics? What language? How long? How
organized? What do these things tell about the anticipated audience? Note to
leave class: Which newspaper? Describe audience.
Day 4: Inquiry—time in library for finding evidence. Homework, too?
Scaffolding instruction
 Day 5: Fill in graphic organizer; evaluate quality of evidence. Take one piece of
evidence and explain how it supports claim (teacher modeling). Turn in.
Type of evidence
Level of importance to
 Day 6: Logic and organization, transitions
 Day 7: Drafting, returning to models
 Day 8: Peer evaluation
 Day 9: Revision and further inquiry if necessary
 Day 10: Polishing; sentence combining and word choice
 Day 11: Due with addressed envelope
Developing Curriculum Statements
 What do students need to know how to do? What
understandings do they need to write this genre?
 Take one of the genres you developed at the end of yesterday
and write some of the curriculum statements that might
come from that genre.
 EX: Movie review for a website:
 Writer will state opinion of quality of movie.
 Writer will give short summary of movie.
 Writer will give evidence from movie (filming, story, actors’ credibility,
etc.) to support claim.
General qualities of effective
 Grouping ideas into sentences and paragraphs that carry
meaning efficiently and move ideas forward
Creating an effective thesis
Introducing an idea effectively
Connecting ideas (between sentences and paragraphs)
Punctuating correctly
Creating and maintaining an appropriate tone
Concluding meaningfully
Using words eloquently
The structures and language of
 Incorporating others’ words or ideas
 Subordinating opposing views
 Organizing for greatest effect
 Maintaining an academic tone
 Analyzing and explaining data/sources adequately
 Recognizing the difference between reasons and evidence
 Evaluating quality of evidence/research
Connecting ideas effectively
 Why? To establish clear relations between ideas
“The best compositions establish a sense of momentum and
direction by making explicit connections among their
different parts, so that what is said in one sentence (or
paragraph) not only sets up what is to come but is clearly
informed by what has already been said. When you write a
sentence, you create an expectation in the reader’s mind that
the next sentence will in some way echo and be an extension
of the first, even if—especially if—the second one takes your
argument in a new direction.”
~Graff & Birkenstein
Ways to make connections
 Transitions
 Pointing words
 Repetition of key words and phrases
 Synonyms
 Idea hooks
 “The only thing more dangerous than being on the back of a
racehorse was being thrown from one. Some jockeys took
two hundred or more falls in their careers. Some were shot
into the air when horses would ‘prop,’ or plant their front
hooves and slow abruptly. Others went down when their
mounts would bolt, crashing into the rails or even the
grandstand. A common accident was ‘clipping heels,’ in
which trailing horses tripped over leading horses’ hind
hooves, usually sending the trailing horse and rider into a
somersault. Finally, horses could break down, racing’s
euphemism for incurring leg injuries.” Seabiscuit, Hillenbrand
EXAMPLES: Also, besides, furthermore, in addition, similarly,
in other words, for example, for instance, although, but,
despite the fact that, however, as a result, since, so, therefore,
admittedly, as a result, consequently, yet
Spot is a good dog. He has fleas.
Spot is a good dog, even though he has fleas.
Courage is resistance to fear.
Courage is mastery of fear.
Courage is not absence of fear.
Pointing words
 EXAMPLES: this, these, that, those, their, such, her, it, etc.
“Children wanted their kiddy-cars to go faster. First, the animal design was
done away with. Then off went a couple of the wheels. The two
remaining wheels were greatly enlarged and then aligned down the
center of the vehicle. Finally, handlebars and footrests were added. These
primitive two-wheelers went much faster than the four-wheeled kiddycars.” ~ Toys! Wulffson
“Riders didn’t even have to leave the saddle to be badly hurt. Their hands
and shins were smashed and their knee ligaments ripped when horses
twisted beneath them or banged into the rails and walls. Their ankles
were crushed when their feet became caught in the starter’s webbing.”
~ Seabiscuit, Hillenbrand
Repetition of key words or phrases
 “She sighed as she realized she was tired. Not tired from
work but tired of putting white people first. Tired of stepping
off sidewalks to let white people pass, tired of eating at
separate lunch counters and learning at separate schools. She
was tired of ‘Colored’ entrances, ‘Colored drinking
fountains, and ‘Colored taxis. She was tired of getting
somewhere first and being waited on last. Tired of ‘separate,’
and definitely tired of ‘not equal.’” ~ Rosa, Giovanni
Synonyms and pronouns
 “Candy is almost pure sugar. It is empty of nutritional value.
It is an extravagance. It dissolves in water. It melts in your
mouth, not in your hands. It’s the icing on the cake. Candy is
so impossibly sweet and good that eating it should be the
simplest thing in the world. So how can there be anything of
substance to say about it?”
~ Candy and Me, Liftin
 “Religion was central to Egyptian life from the beginning,
and the pharaoh played a key role in its rituals. In life, the
ruler was thought to be the son of Ra, the all-powerful sun
~ Secrets of the Sphinx, Giblin
Idea hooks
 “Mark Twain is established in the minds of most Americans
as a kindly humorist, a gentle and delightful ‘funny man.’ No
doubt his photographs have helped promote this image.
Everybody is familiar with the Twain face. He looks like every
child’s ideal grandfather, a dear old white-thatched
gentleman who embodies the very spirit of loving-kindness.
 Such a view of Twain would probably have been a source of
high amusement to the author himself.” ~ Lively Art ofWriting, Payne
In combination
“Jebel Musa in the morning is like a tiger at dawn, a cat curled up in the
shadows, its coat the color of pumpkin pie, its demeanor a misleading
message: tame. As we arrived at the small plateau where climbers prep
for the hike to come, the mountain seemed almost inert, waiting. At
7,455 feet, it’s not a particularly tall mountain: half as high as the
tallest mountain in the Colorado Rockies; roughly as tall as the highest
peak in the Appalachians. But it is impressive, completely dominating
the landscape around it like a mother elephant dwarfing her babies. A
mixture of red and gray granite fused together in an imposing, almost
threatening mass, Mount Moses rises straight from the ground and
softens slightly at the top like a drip castle. Though not as angular as
Mount Ararat, nor as tall as nearby Mount Katarina, it still seems like a
particularly imposing backdrop, waiting for some particularly majestic
drama to take place in front of it.”
~ Walking the Bible, Feiler
Using others’ ideas appropriately
 Quoting: using the exact words of another. Words must
be placed in quotation marks and the author cited.
 Summarizing: putting the ideas of another in your own
words and condensing them. Author must be identified.
 Paraphrasing: putting someone else’s ideas in your
words but keeping approximately the same length as the
original. Paraphrase must be original in both structure and
wording, and accurate in representing author’s intent. It can
not just be switching out synonyms in the original sentence.
Author must be identified.
 Why use quotations?
 when the speaker’s name and reputation add credibility
 when the phrasing of the quotation is interesting or revealing
and cannot be stated another way as effectively
 How effective are these examples?
 Many students “improve their reading ability” by looking at a
text closely and by giving their first reactions to it (Burke 46).
 Mem Fox contests, “worksheets are the dead-end streets of
literacy: there’s a non-message on each line, going nowhere, for
no reason” (69).
 Hints: cut quotes to the core and use them like spice,
 Summaries
 Should be shorter than original text
 Should include the main ideas of the original
 Should reflect the structure of the original text somewhat
 Should include important details
Is this an effective summary of Source B?
At the moment of harvest, food begins to lose vitamins, minerals,
and phytochemicals important for fighting disease and
maintaining health. Because the decrease is negligible, however,
even if food is days or weeks from harvest, it’s still possible to
derive nutrition from it and be healthy by making smart food
 Source: “People of African descent in the Diaspora do not
speak languages of Africa as their mother tongue.”
 Inappropriate Paraphrase: “People of African descent no
longer speak the languages of Africa as their first language.”
 Appropriate Paraphrase: “Painter contends that cultural
factors like language and religion divide African Americans
from their ancestors. Black Americans speak a wide variety of
languages, but usually these are not African.”
Introducing others’ ideas
 Put source names either before the idea [Painter insists that
the hula hoop can help fight diabetes] or after the idea in
parentheses [Others find the idea ridiculous (Smith, Wilson)].
 Use vivid and precise verb signals more than “says” or
“believes” to show how an author feels or how an idea might
relate to other ideas: agrees, recommends, insists, explains
 Make sure the idea adds to the point you are making.
Dropping in unrelated quotes or names diminishes your
credibility. SHOW how the idea contributes to YOUR
 Write a paragraph expressing your opinion about the
locavore movement using either a quote, paraphrase, or
summary statement from one of the sources.
 Be prepared to explain your choice: why you chose the
option you did and how you incorporated it (either with
appropriate punctuation and citation or by shortening or
Creating lessons
 Determine what students need to know how to do
 Find examples and models to show the skill
 Talk through the findings
 Give students chances to practice in low-risk situations
 Have them talk to each other about the practices
 Apply the new skill to writing currently being completed
 Decide on appropriate timing: when would be the best in the
learning process?
Writing Next
 1. Writing strategies
 2. Summarizing
 3. Collaborative writing
 4. Specific product goals
 5. Word processing
 6. Sentence combining
 7. Prewriting
 8. Inquiry activities
 9. Process writing approach
 10. Study of models
 11. Writing for content learning
And so. . .
"Findings from this study suggest that teachers needn't teach to
the test in a narrow, evaluation-focused manner; rather, they
can develop tools that move students toward test-readiness
while keeping writing process principles in focus.“
~ Wolman-Bonilla
 Caine, Karen. Writing to Persuade: Mini-lessons to Help Students Plan, Draft, and Revise.
Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2008.
 Daniels, Harvey “Smokey,” and Nancy Steineke. Texts and Lessons for Content-Area Reading.
Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2011.
 Dean, Deborah. StrategicWriting:TheWriting Process and Beyond in Secondary Schools.
Urbana, IL: NCTE, 2006.
 ---. WhatWorks in Writing Instruction: Research and Practices. Urbana, IL: NCTE, 2010.
 Graff, Gerald, and Cathy Birkenstein. They Say, I Say:The Moves that Matter in Academic
Writing. New York: Norton, 2006.
 Hillocks, George, Jr. Teaching ArgumentWriting. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2011.
 Miller, Carolyn R., and Davida Charney. “Persuasion, Audience, and Argument.”
Handbook of Research onWriting. Ed. Charles Bazerman. New York: Lawrence
Erlbaum, 2008. 583-598.
 Smagorinsky, Peter, et al. The Dynamics of Writing Instruction: A Structured Process Approach for
Middle and High School. Portsmouth, NH: 2010.

The Common Core and Argument Writing