When students are given the freedom to choose a topic to analyze or argue, they are virtually always more successful. That is how this resource begins: students choose from a list of current controversial issues (or decide their own with teacher approval), and then enter the intricate process of argument. An acronym I've created, CREED, propels the students forward: Claim, Reasons, Evidence, Explain (relevance and importance), Discuss (counter-claim and rebuttal).
The CREED graphic organizer for writing an argument contains the creative flexibility and transparency needed to guarantee higher-level learning. In addition to providing concrete steps, explicit scaffolds, and ample room for research, it includes an example of each step and "reminder" definitions for key terms. Moreover, it hooks up with several ELA Common Core standards related to reading, writing, researching, collaborating, and many more.
This practical resource has proven to be one of my most successful creations. Every student, regardless of differences in learning styles and academic levels, significantly grows and builds perspective through this process. (And they have fun doing it, too!) I teach high-need 8th graders, so what I create is super structured and clear. This works for them.
A run-through can last between one and two weeks, but you can also use the resource multiple times to explore more topics.
You will also find opportunities to put your own spin on the resource, such as incorporating PowerPoint presentations, writing letters to specific people and organizations, or implementing a full-class debate!
I'd love to hear how it works in your classroom. Please share a comment and let me know any questions!