PERSUASIVE WRITING Elaboration Techniques: House That Jack Built Concession/Rebuttal HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT (CAUSAL CHAIN) CAUSAL CHAIN This elaboration strategy is referred to both as “House that Jack Built” AND a “Causal Chain”. Whichever term you use, they both mean the same thing: a connected series of cause and effect events. Event “A” leads to Event “B”, which then leads to Event “C” Think of it like building a snowball or watching a set of dominoes fall Causal Chains may be just a sentence or two long (a “Little Jack”) or may last throughout a paragraph Copyright © 2007 Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. All rights reserved. Modified 10/08. WHY DO WE CALL IT “HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT”? This is the house that Jack built. This is the malt That lay in the house that Jack built. This is the rat That ate the malt That lay in the house that Jack built. This is the cat That killed the rat That ate the malt That lay in the house that Jack built… Where do you see the chain of events in this section of the children’s rhyme? ANOTHER EXAMPLE… If you give a mouse a cookie, When you give him the milk, When he’s finished, he’ll ask for a napkin. He’s going to ask for a glass of milk. He’ll probably ask you for a straw. Do you remember what comes next? Copyright © 2007 Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. All rights reserved. WHAT MIGHT IT LOOK LIKE? If you make students sit in assigned seats at lunch they will have to yell to talk with their friends sitting across the room, and the noise will just get louder. Sometimes I stay up too late chatting on my computer, so it’s hard to get up the next morning. Since I’m tired, I hit the snooze button too many times, and I miss my bus. When school doesn’t get out until 4 o’clock, sports practices have to be held later, which means kids get home awfully late to start their homework. These are “Little Jacks”. See how a chain of events is created in just a sentence or two? CAUSAL CHAIN IDENTIFICATION: CAN YOU FIND EXAMPLES? If the teachers of “X School” do not allow the students to turn in their homework late then the students will learn to finish their work on time, correct? This may be, but the Sink or Swim philosophy often leaves many students failing…If a student does not see themselves as being able to finish the assignment on time, they may simply decide to not do the work. This would not only cause the student’s grades to fall, but also his or her teacher would likely spend unnecessary time trying to persuade the student to do work that the child has simply chosen not to do. More than one student would have this problem, though! Many students would also fall into this downward spiral of not doing their homework. This would result in many declining grades all across the school. In turn, this would result in the decline of the school’s reputation. Is that something we want to see happen? Copyright © 2007 Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. All rights reserved. Modified 10/08. CAUSAL CHAIN IDENTIFICATION: LET’S TRY IT AGAIN For me school starts at 7:30, which means I need to leave my house at 7:00 or 7:05. But for other students who ride the bus they must be ready far earlier than that. I see people half asleep standing outside waiting for that big yellow bus to take them to a long, tiring day at school. I think if school started later it would put many people at ease. Even if you get that extra half an hour of sleep, it can do wonders. You won’t be tired for that first period test, you won’t have to take that nap second period and miss your history notes, and you won’t miss breakfast and have to spend class time counting down the minutes to lunch. Many things would be so much better if school started later. Copyright © 2007 Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. All rights reserved HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT: GREAT TRANSITIONS Here are some great transitions that you could use to help write effective causal chains. Choose two or three that you can use well, and practice using them in your own writing! After Earlier Consequently Finally Since, because During Before Every time Meanwhile, while Soon At that time Simultaneously Preceding As a result Although This will lead to Copyright © 2007 Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. All rights reserved. Modified 10/08. CAUSAL CHAIN INDIVIDUAL IDENTIFICATION PRACTICE Take out Letter to Principal Scaddilybob once again. Use a new colored highlighter pen to mark any examples of a Causal Chain found in the letter. Also, circle any of those great transition words that we just discussed Compare what you highlighted with a person sitting near you. Are there any other places in the paper where you could effectively add other examples of a House that Jack Built? LET’S TRY IT TOGETHER! Topic: the NMS cafeteria should offer more choices for lunch. Students get tired of eating the same meals for lunch over and over again (Hmmm. What would be the result of no food?) Don’t forget to use your good transition words! Some days the choices just aren’t appetizing and students simply opt to go without food. (What might the end result be, due to the idea you put in the last box?) TRY IT WITH A PARTNER! Topic: Students should not have access to media in the home until all homework is done each night. If students keep the T.V. and computer turned off until their homework is done, they will be less distracted. (What would happen? How would no distractions be positive?) ( so…what would be the outcome/ effect of this?) YOUR TURN! WRITE YOUR OWN “HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT”! Go back to the paper that you wrote about winning the trip to the Great Wolf Lodge. Re-read the paper and find a place where you might be able to add a short causal chain (“Little Jack”?) to the paper Think carefully about the domino effect that you will add. What will be the end result you want to describe? Write! Share your changes with a partner. Discuss how you just strengthened your argument. CONCESSION/ REBUTTAL WHAT IS THIS? “Concession and Rebuttal” sounds pretty fancy, but it refers to two things: To concede in an argument means to acknowledge another person’s thoughts about something. I understand that you feel students should… A rebuttal is a counterargument or a reply that you have for that person’s beliefs. However, I believe that if you just trust kids more you would realize that… TELL ME MORE A Concession is when you consider the opposing viewpoint, “conceding” something important A reader of your essay is more likely to listen to your ideas if you show you can see his/her point of view before you counter that argument with your own. The Rebuttal is when your own argument proves the ideas of the reader to be false, or shows that your argument is stronger than theirs. Copyright © 2007 Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. All rights reserved. Modified 10/08. WHAT MIGHT IT LOOK LIKE? Some people say that we shouldn’t have assigned seats because Americans deserve their freedoms, including where they sit. But I disagree. Children should have freedoms, but sometimes the freedoms go a little overboard. You may think stress does not have anything to do with lunch time, but it does – big time. It is where the cliques are made, gangs are joined, and fights are not a rarity, but a common occurrence. I get that you are tired of the noise and rowdy behavior, but I strongly believe there are better alternatives than a seating chart at lunch. Students aren’t going to just behave because you move them around. Copyright © 2007 Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. All rights reserved. Modified 11/08. CONCESSION/REBUTTAL TRANSITIONAL PHRASES Here are some great transitions that you might use to help write effective Concession/Rebuttal arguments. Note that these transitions come in a series and should be used throughout the few sentences you write to build your full concession/rebuttal argument. It is true that… however … therefore Certainly… but … in short… Admittedly … on the other hand … so … Of course … nevertheless … as a result … Obviously … on the contrary … finally … Sure … however … in addition CONCESSION/REBUTTAL IDENTIFICATION: CAN YOU FIND THE EXAMPLES? Where are those great transitions? It is true that students should not have headphones on when their teachers are giving a lesson. Students should not be allowed to block out their teachers. However, when every member of the class is working individually after important information has been given, listening to music can be a helpful learning tool. It would create a more relaxing, calm environment for learning. Some students can concentrate more while listening to music. As a result grades could go up and it would definitely make school more enjoyable. Therefore, our school should allow headphones in the classroom. Copyright © 2007 Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. All rights reserved. Modified 11/08. CONCESSION/REBUTTAL IDENTIFICATION: MORE EXAMPLES Group Exercise There is nothing more important to students than the ability to express their unique sense of self. Whether it’s grunge, goth, or glam, each student at our school is a person who likes to be themselves. Dress codes would turn us all into a bland, uniform mass of white and navy. Having a school dress code might improve discipline, which might be true in schools where students fight over shoes, but enforcing a dress code will cause student rebellion, causing even more discipline issues than we have now. Some say a dress code will reduce the number of cliques in school, but students will adapt and find new ways to express themselves. Hairstyles, piercings, accessories will become the new way of standing out and standing apart from each other. Do you really think that students will allow themselves to be forced into a specific mold? Copyright © 2007 Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. All rights reserved. Modified 11/08. CONCESSION REBUTTAL INDIVIDUAL IDENTIFICATION PRACTICE Take out Letter to Principal Scaddilybob yet again. Use a new colored highlighter pen to mark any examples of a Concession/Rebuttal argument found in the letter. Also, circle any of those great transition words that we discussed. Compare what you highlighted with a person sitting near you. Are there any other places in the paper where you could effectively add other examples of Concession/Rebuttal? LET’S TRY IT TOGETHER! Topic: The school board is suggesting that all middle and high schools in the district be required to offer Study Hall as an elective each quarter. I realize that some people in the community may think that students will not use a Study Hall responsibly, and that it will just become a “play time”. Concession Now you try. Don’t forget a transition! Rebuttal ONE MORE TIME! Full Group Topic: Write a letter to your principal persuading her to set up a hot chocolate/latte stand in the cafeteria. I understand that some parents in our community are against the school selling coffee because it encourages young people to buy drinks with caffeine in them. Concession Your Turn. Remember to use a transition! Rebuttal TRY IT WITH A PARTNER! Topic: The administration at your school is deciding whether or not to allow students to listen to personal music players in the classroom (not really – don’t get excited). (Write your own concession. What point might someone make about this topic?) (Now write your rebuttal to what you wrote in the previous box) YOUR TURN! WRITE YOUR OWN “CONCESSION/REBUTTAL”! Go back once again to the paper that you wrote about winning the trip to the Great Wolf Lodge. Re-read the paper and find a place where you might be able to add a concession/ Rebuttal to the paper Think carefully about an argument someone might make for your group not to go (concession), then how you might respond (rebuttal) Write! Share your changes with a partner. Discuss how you just strengthened your argument.