Thursday, December 20, 2012

Post for the week of December 17, 2012


Post for the week of December 17, 2012

The blog is taking next week off for Winter Break.  Have a relaxing vacation, teachers!  You really, really deserve it, especially after such a difficult month for all of us.  Time to reflect and refresh!  Read a book for enjoyment!

The Common Core and PARCC require a great shift for the types of writing teachers traditionally teach.  There is less of an emphasis on the following ideas: narrative, personal response to literature, opinion without support, isolated prompts.  There is more of an emphasis on the following ideas: argument, textual evidence, research, writing to texts.

I am growing concerned that we are being too limiting in our idea of what "argument writing" is.  It is certainly not just PRO vs. CON.  It teachers are turning "argument" into "PRO vs. CON, pick a position, and write a five-paragraph essay about it," we might be moving in the wrong direction.  Shallow lists of reasons are rarely engaging for an audience.  Changing the types of writing we do will require us to learn some new skills and ideas about writing.

As a popular book is titled, "Everything's an Argument."  From an editorial in a newspaper to a magazine advertisement for cereal to a political campaign, "argument" is everywhere!

Here's a great site from UNC Chapel Hill that explores argument and how if your essay doesn't have one, it's not an essay!  Underlining a sentence does not make it a thesis!

There are many different modes of discourse.  I think of them as gears writers use while driving their essays.  Think about how many of these modes can happen in one essay: narrative, description, argument, compare/contrast, cause and effect, definition, synthesis, analysis, and on and on.

Now's the time to embrace some new ideas and add some new "argument" essays to your bag of tricks. 

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