Drafting arguments is one of my favorite writing units of the entire school year. As students enter Middle School and High School, they leave the safety of the small family unit and begin to see the world in which they live on a much larger scale. Fortunately or unfortunately, all of this world’s major issues come right along with this new awareness. Children become exceedingly passionate about debating many of these issues as they seek resolutions for its many problems. For this reason, I never assign a particular argument or issue to my students. I have found that students are extremely passionate about a variety of issues currently facing our world: LGBT issues/laws, women’s rights issues, Black Lives Matter, racial discrimination issues, school administration decisions, global warming, etc. Each year, I am surprised and moved by the ideas generated and topics argued with such intensity and vigor!
I love allowing students to choose their own issue for this argument essay, but that can be difficult for students who do not immediately know their topic or issue. I have found two techniques that really get students thinking about the issues that may resonate with them prior to their research and drafting stages of writing.
1. The Chart Paper Brainstorm and Gallery Walk
Lesson plan and directions for this activity are included!
2. The Cube of Perspective
When students have chosen a topic or idea that they are passionate about, I ask them to begin to dig deeper on this subject. The cubing pre-writing activity is a very helpful tool in developing an argument of opinion paper. Essentially students will use the cube to look at their topic from six different perspectives. Each side of this cube will guide students into exploring this new perspective of their chosen issue.
This freebie can be found with my Complete Writing the Argument Essay Bundle!
Writing the Argument Essay Complete Unit Bundle + Student Interactive Notebook