Digging Deeper into LDC Module Design:
Helping Students Organize an Argumentative Essay
Check on Tech
• Audio Wizard
• Elluminate tools
– Hand raise
– Microphone
– Smiley face
– Checkmark
– Chat box
– Polling
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Virtual Meeting Norms
• participate by using the microphone, answering poll questions,
collaborating in breakout rooms and using the chat window.
• raise your hand to indicate that you’d like to use the microphone
when it is time for questions.
• release the microphone when you are finished.
• use the door to indicate that you are away from your computer if
you need to step out.
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Goals for This Afternoon…
• Introduce organizational structures for an
argumentative essay.
• Deconstruct the organization of counterclaims
in argumentative writing.
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Organizing an Argument
• Hook
• Background
Introduction • Claim
• Definition of Terms
• Reasons w/ Evidence
• Counterclaims
• Connection to Hook
• Point to Broader Implications
Conclusion • Call for Action
A Word about Authenticity
• Can be more than
one paragraph
• Should catch the
reader’s attention
• Should introduce the
main focus of your
• Usually requires
several paragraphs
• Should logically
organize your main
points, arguments,
relevant evidence,
and counterclaims
• Can be more than
one paragraph
• Should end with a
connection back to
your attentiongrabber/hook.
• Should leave the
reader with a
memorable thought,
question, statistic,
anecdote, or
Developing the Claim
• Should indicate writer’s position on the issue
• Should be debatable
• Should be narrow in scope
Student examples:
Therefore, zoos should be abolished. ~Gr. 7
Genetically modified foods are increasingly useful to
the community and should continue to be in
production and distribution. ~Gr. 11/12
Organizing the Introduction
Hook and Background
The Introduction
“Rapid technological advancements and an influx of media in today's society
have connected us in more ways than ever thought possible. Television,
movies, newspapers, magazines, the internet, and other forms of the media
all contribute to the highly connected global society. This intricate network of
communication has vastly expanded our sphere of knowledge and
understanding in the cultural context. Through television and the internet, we
can access news and events in other countries minutes after they happen.
Through pictures and stories, we can learn about the various cultures and
practices all the way across the world. However, with this expanded access
also come certain limitations. Often overlooked is the fact that the
information has been filtered through numerous entities, only allowing us to
see through the eyes of the creator, greatly limiting our perceptions of the
world. Sometimes subtle and unintentional, other times blatantly obvious
and highly structured, the influences of the media present society with a
constructed reality, as each article, be it a news story, photograph, or even
voice, is strategically selected and presented to convey a certain message.
This process becomes destructive when it begins to shape our opinions,
perceptions, and ideologies, especially concerning other cultures.”
~College Freshman
The Introduction
It’s come to my attention, being I am a teenager myself, that
adolescents are the vulnerable target of the flourishing energy drink
industry market. With advertisements that specifically target
teenagers, sponsorships with influential celebrities and little
information on the ingredients – energy drinks appear to only have
positive consequences. What worries me most is that this addicting
ingredient- caffeine- can cause so much damage to your body. Caffeine
is the most active ingredient in energy drinks. Dr. Ayala in her article
“Energy drinks: Is it safe to Caffeinate kids?” explains that not only do
these drinks already contain about 80 mg of caffeine per serving, but
the drinks normally contain several servings which would certainly
surpass the recommended 100 mg1 of caffeine for a teen per day.
Therefore, it would be appropriate for government agencies to
construct a law which bands minors to having access to these harmful
drinks. Furthermore, it would be responsible for the U.S. Food and
Drug Administration to test and regulate ingredients of energy drinks.
~10th Grade Student
Organizing the Body of an Argument
• Present one reason at a time
o Explain and Support with Evidence
Types of Evidence
Relevant Statistics and Facts from Research
Real Examples from Research
Quotes from Experts and/or Highly-Respected Authorities
Real Anecdotes from Research
• Integrate one or more counterclaims within
the body of the essay
Example of Reason w/ Evidence
Protecting innocent lives is just as important as self-defense. According
to Tapper, protecting American citizens and citizens of allied countries
has caused many wars. The sinking of the Lusitania, a British passenger
ship carrying American soldiers, caused a stirring in the United States
as it’s citizens cried for war. America declared war on Germany soon
after and entered World War I. While under the brutal rule of Spain,
Cuban citizens were dying in the streets because of the lack of food
and water and the killings due to unfair laws. America went to war
with Spain to protect and gain an ally with Cuba (Tapper). Even
recently the United States declared war against Gaddafi to protect the
innocent citizens of Libya. They were forced to live without food,
water, or electricity and those who rebelled were killed (Obama’s
Speech on Libya). If the United States had not helped, innocent lives
could have been lost.
~7th Grade Student
Organization of Counterclaims
within the Essay
Middle School
Introduction & Claim
Opposing View
Rebuttal w/ Evidence
Reasons and Evidence
High School
Introduction & Claim
Fairly Developed Opposing
Rebuttal w/ Evidence
Reason w/ Evidence
Fairly Developed Opposing
Rebuttal w/ Evidence
Reason w/ Evidence
Ways to Organize a Counterclaim
• Option A: Hamburger Style
o Writer takes a stand consistent with his/her stance
o Recognize the opposition
o Counter the opposition
• Option B: Set Them Up; Knock Them Down
o Writer begins by developing the counterclaim
o Writer spends rest of paragraph refuting it
Gallagher, K. (2011). Write like this. Portland, Maine: Stenhouse Publishers. Print.
Published Example of Counterclaim:
Hamburger Style
According to the voting guide, “Late budgets waste tax money and
inflate the costs of building schools and roads.” Last year, for example
“when the budget was late, road projects were shut down then
restarted days later, costing taxpayers millions of dollars and further
damaging California’s credit rating.” Some might argue this is the
price we have to pay to ensure that a reasonable budget gets passed,
but I disagree. As the voter’s guide states, “Real people suffer when
legislators play games with the budget.” Taxpayers are punished,
funding for schools is delayed, public safety is underfunded, and health
care and services for seniors are used as bargaining chips. Prop 25
won’t make all of these issues disappear, but it will certainly encourage
lawmakers to address them in a more timely manner.
p. 184
Gallagher, K. (2011). Write like this. Portland, Maine: Stenhouse Publishers. Print.
Student Example of Counterclaim:
Hamburger Style
Energy drinks contain some very harmful ingredients including:
taurine, ginseng, sweeteners and guarana.11 Companies purposely
add these other stimulants to further enhance the already extreme
effects of caffeine, and they also make large fallacies about what these
added ingredients are capable of.12 For example, energy companies
claim ginseng can “speed illness recovery; improves mental, physical,
and sexual performance; controls blood glucose and lowers blood
pressure”.13 In actuality there is absolutely no scientific evidence that
exists to support any of the claims listed above. My question to you is:
Are there effects that you are hiding from your buyers? Emma Hitt in
her article “Energy Drinks Pose Serious Health Risks for Young People”
suggest that we need to research and run more trials on these
supplemental additives, because “The fact that there is no known safe
does of any of those additives, or of caffeine, poses a risk”.14
~10th Grade Student
Published Example of Counterclaim:
Set Them Up; Knock Them Down
Unfortunately, some education advocates in New York, Los Angeles and other
cities are claiming that a good personnel system can be based on ranking
teachers according to their “value-added rating” — a measurement of their
impact on students’ test scores — and publicizing the names and rankings
online and in the media. But shaming poorly performing teachers doesn’t fix
the problem because it doesn’t give them specific feedback.
Value-added ratings are one important piece of a complete personnel system.
But student test scores alone aren’t a sensitive enough measure to gauge
effective teaching, nor are they diagnostic enough to identify areas of
improvement. Teaching is multifaceted, complex work. A reliable evaluation
system must incorporate other measures of effectiveness, like students’
feedback about their teachers and classroom observations by highly trained
peer evaluators and principals.
~Bill Gates, Op-Ed Article
New York Times
Student Example of Counterclaim:
Set Them Up; Knock Them Down
However, doubts are still being tossed around, proclaiming that China
will only continue to pollute our air and water further and further into
corruption. China is the largest coal-consuming country in the world,
causing rapid pollution which can lead to severe headaches, nausea,
and disorientation. Fortunately, China has come to realize this fact and
in BBC News, it says, “China is building a coal plant a week, but is
dedicated to having the clean energy sector take off. That is amazingly
visionary and inspirational,” (“China Leads The World In Green Energy
Investments,” 2011.) China plans to use only clean coal and in 2001,
they have already launched the “Clean Coal” project that was apart of
the 863 program. Also, China plans on using only efficient coal power
plant. This has been a step up for China in helping our environment.
~High School Student
The Conclusion
• Ask a provocative question
• Leave with an interesting
• Call for action
• Loop back to the anecdote in
the introduction
• End with a warning
• Paint a strong image
• Express your hopes
• Answer the “So what?”
• Point to broader implications
• Simply restate your thesis
• Introduce a brand new idea
• Focus on a minor point in the
• Use the following phrases: “In
conclusion,” “In summary,” or
“In closing”
• Add extra information that
should have been in the body
of the essay.
Gallagher, K. (2011). Write like this. Portland, Maine: Stenhouse Publishers. Print.
Organizing an Argument for
LDC Task #’s 7 and 8
“The point of the essay is to change things.”
~Edward Tufte, Educator
Organizing the Argumentative
Problem-Solution Essay
• Part 1: Describe the problem. Define the problem. Who
says it is a problem, and why do they say so? Try to use
specific facts and figures in describing the problem.
• Part 2: Propose a solution. Describe your solution(s). Are
your solutions practical? Are they obtainable? How so? Be
very specific in outlining the steps of your solution.
• Part 3: Defend your proposal. Why will your ideas work?
Anticipate what the opposition will say and counter their
• Part 4: Conclude. Remind the readers why this problem
needs their attention. What action do you hope is
prompted by the writing of this piece?
Gallagher, K. (2011). Write like this. Portland, Maine: Stenhouse Publishers. Print.
What Instruction?
Skills Cluster 4: Writing Process
1. Controlling idea
Ability to establish a controlling idea and consolidate
information relevant to task.
2. Planning
Ability to develop a line of thought and text structure
appropriate to an argumentative task.
3. Development
Ability to construct an initial draft with an emerging line
of thought and structure.
4. Revision
Ability to refine texts, including line of thought, language
usage, and tone as appropriate to audience and
5. Editing
Ability to proofread and format a piece to make it more
6. Completion
Ability to submit final piece that meets expectations.
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Argument Matters
“If young people grow up learning to participate in
logical, reasoned, evidence-based arguments, this
will mean that they are given a voice. Our
democracy is dependent on an educated,
concerned citizenry, exercising the right to be
~Calkins, Ehrenworth, Lehman, 2012
Additional Resources
• Purdue OWL Online Writing Lab
o Developing Your Claim:
o Organizing Your Argument:
o Logic in Argumentative Writing:
Upcoming Webinars
• November 29th – (3:00 – 3:45)
Providing Feedback on Student Writing
• January 17th – (3:00 – 3:45)
Helping Students Read and Analyze Complex Text
• January 31st – (3:00 – 3:45)
Paideia/Socratic Seminar and LDC
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Contact Us!
Barbara Smith- LDC Site Lead
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (717) 606-1374
Cell Phone: (717) 644-1144
Skype: barbaraa_smith_iu
Twitter: @BarbSmith2
Kelly Galbraith- LDC Consultant
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (717) 606-1667
Cell Phone: (717) 419-4069
Skype: kelly.galbraith.iu
Twitter: @galbraith_kelly
Marisa Stoner-LDC Program Assistant
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (717) 606-1939
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