Animating Student Writing
This workshop gives English teachers models, lesson plans, and strategies to help students strengthen their argumentative writing skills. Teachers learn:
- Strategies to raise the quality of student writing
- How to assess argumentative writing using the SAT essay scoring guide
- How to put in place a long-term plan to improve student writing
- Affirm all students' abilities to make meaning of argumentative writing
- Demonstrate frameworks for teaching students to recognize how effective arguments are constructed and developed in texts
- Provide interactive strategies for teaching students to plan and develop argumentative writing
- Offer educators the opportunity to participate in model instructional activities ready for immediate classroom use
- Suggest strategies to make students comfortable with using the writing process in the composition of argumentative writing under time constraints
- Familiarize educators with means of assessing argumentative writing using a holistic scoring guide
Section 1: Overview
The first section will provide an opportunity for educators to contextualize the importance of developing argumentative writing for students. Participants will share perceptions of why all students may not currently have the tools needed to write effective argumentative essays. This section will set an expectation that welcomes students into the pedagogy of the model instructional activities by posing questions that invite self-reflection.
Section 2: Understanding Argumentative Writing
Before students can produce more effective argumentative writing samples, they must first develop a thorough understanding of the ways argument is planned and crafted. Using texts of historical significance (which lend easily to interdisciplinary reinforcement), this section will involve model instructional activities that analyze argumentative writing through two prisms: the analysis of audience and the use of a strategy called SOAPSTone.
Section 3: Deconstructing an Argument
The model instructional activities in this section locate argument in multiple kinds of texts. Through a focus on thesis statements and an engagement with the rhetorical appeals, students can extend their understanding of effective argumentation and recognize arguments in a variety of texts.
Section 4: Constructing an Argument Under Time Constraints
It is difficult for students to produce effective arguments in a timed-writing essay experience if they have not developed the skills to produce effective arguments that have had the benefit of the full writing process. The model instructional activities are grounded in the notion of collaborative learning and train students in the details of prewriting and drafting using an organizing strategy. Participants will experience the challenges of drafting under time constraints from an insider's point of view.
Section 5: Assessing Argumentative Writing
One of the most underutilized teaching and learning strategies involves guided reflection. With these model instructional activities, students will practice assessing argumentative essays using a holistic scoring guide and engage in the critical need for learning through peer critique. Participants will gain some familiarity with the SAT® Essay Scoring Guide for scoring argumentative writing produced for the SAT.
Kenyatta Dorey Graves is the chair of the English Department at Woodrow Wilson Senior High School in Washington, D.C.