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Argumentative Writing

Last week we began preparing for our next writing type/essay which will be argumentative.  In The Giver, all marriages are arranged, so I thought it would be interesting to pull in some non-fiction about this very topic!  Most students did not know that it even existed!  The first article we read was about why some cultures believe in arranged marriages and why it tends to work well.  This week we will read another article with a different point of view. We also watched a very interesting video clip which showed both sides of this topic.  For both articles, students will mark the text, identify the author's central claim, and analyze the types of evidence used to support the claim.  More specifically, students are learning about rhetorical appeals-ethos, pathos, logos.  To help them understand the types of appeals, we watched a variety of commercials and discussed the method(s) used in each.
Watching a video about ethos, pathos, logos
  After we finish reading all of the articles, students will be practicing argumentative writing using arranged marriage as the topic.  I plan on having them write paragraphs, share them with me through Google, and project them onto the screen so that we can analyze and critique them.  We will also write a few paragraphs together as a class.  In order to prepare them, we will also have a Socratic Seminar on this topic.  
Analyzing evidence in article

Working on quote analysis for The Giver

Love their positive attitudes!

Middle Schoolers ROCK
Working together to find different types of evidence

All of these activities will lead us to a performance task and argumentative essay about a different topic.  Students will be doing the same kinds of activities in preparation (marking text, identifying central claim, etc).  However, this time they will write the essay without my help.  The topic will be video surveillance (another topic from The Giver).  

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