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April Volume 71 Number 7 Writing: It should be at home in all the content areas. Let's put the Common Core State Standards aside for a second, as blasphemous as that might sound, considering the tone of the conversation these days.
We don't teach something merely because it appears on a list of priorities somewhere. After all, lists change. In education, yesterday's priority often becomes today's fad.
What never changes, however, is the fact that we educators must prepare our students today for their tomorrows. Enter the art of argument. Not only do the Common Core standards emphasize this skill—it's also one that students must use long after they've left our care.
It's Ubiquitous Many people see this new focus on argument as some alien from a B-level horror movie, a blob-like entity that destroys all other genres that dare to cross its path.
Narrative, a beloved favorite, seems to have been downgraded by the Common Core standards as something to merely fit in when you can. And literary analysis seems to have been absorbed into the definition of argument. But there's a more positive way to view this, and it entails clarifying what argument really is.
Argument doesn't just allow for other genres—it showcases them in a real-world way. Yes, the standards require that argument must take a more prominent position, but argument is best when it shares the limelight with other genres.
After all, an argument essay or debate that doesn't include narrative or analysis wouldn't be very strong. For those of us who teach writing, this means protecting the various elements that help boost argument—those that derive from narrative, analysis, and summary.
And for content-area teachers, it's more than just throwing students a persuasive prompt every now and then. It means developing in students an eye for argument and a comfort in writing this genre. It means both teaching and assessing argument writing. The need to focus on argument has always been there; it's not some new fad.
However, teachers have been so inundated lately with content standards and testing that they've been hard-pressed to teach this most authentic way to communicate their content.
It's at the heart of all career-based writing. I'm talking about the professional debate, the cover letter pitch, the interview, the grant application, the executive summary.
Because argument appears in so many situations in life beyond school, students need to experience it not just as a separate skill in writing class but as a skill that's crucial to all content areas. The Role of Narrative in Argument Although implementing argument rests on the shoulders of every teacher, writing teachers have a more specific role.
We need to focus on those elements of writing that easily transfer into argument. Here are some key transferable skills that I teach in my narrative unit: How to start an essay.
Teachers can create a matrix of strategies that students can use, such as starting with a quote, a question, or an overarching theme.
These can be as effective in writing a narrative as they are in writing an argument. How to identify the overall message. As a first step, students learn theme as it relates to literature and to their own lives.
The next step is using theme to identify what we can learn from, say, studying a given era in history, or to recognize the purpose of a problem that needs to be solved. Across subject areas, students need to be able to sequence their way through the rationale of an argument. Students can use plot, sequencing, and chronological order to convince someone of an outcome through a description of the steps involved.
Figurative language and sensory details: Clearly describing what one is thinking or observing is a crucial skill for historians, scientists, mathematicians, and writers.
Argument Across the Content Areas So how can content-area teachers honor the real-life application of their subject matter and, at the same time, hone students' skills in evaluating and writing arguments?This article presents a deductive content analysis of the grade 6 specific and general objectives in the writing curricula across Canada's 10 provinces and two of its three territories.
Second Language Writing and Research: The Writing Process and Error Analysis in Student Texts. Johanne Myles Queen's University. Let's put the Common Core State Standards aside for a second, as blasphemous as that might sound, considering the tone of the conversation these days.
• Download Video (To save right-click then select 'Save target as' or 'Save link as') Collaborative Conversations on Building a Culture of Writing is an interactive professional learning series designed to build teachers’ capacity for writing instruction while cultivating a culture of writing.
Teachers in grades K – 5 and 6 – 12 will work through seven uniquely designed sessions, where. Introduction: Writing Across the Curriculum What is it?
Teachers across the disciplines use writing-to-learn and writing-to– demonstrate- knowledge to. Second Language Writing and Research: The Writing Process and Error Analysis in Student Texts.
|Written Analysis of a Photograph in English – Writing Across the Curriculum – UW–Madison||National Assessment Governing Board. Writing framework for the National Assessment of Educational Progress, pre-publication edition.|
Johanne Myles Queen's University.