• Joining the Conversation: Argumentation

    This unit emphasizes the need to position an argument against another’s claim.  Students create a “They Say/I Say” conversation in their writing.  Students are provided instruction to help create a dialogue in their writing. Since the primary focus is argument, this unit lends itself to shorter informational texts rather than a novel.  Students will practice presenting a clear summary of an opposing argument and responding to this argument critically.  At the start of the unit, the students will use the “They Say/I Say” templates with a variety of topics to ease them into the concept.  By the end, they will practice reading editorial articles, summarizing the claim and evidence, and then responding critically.  By the end of this unit, students will be able to cultivate their own position and evidence after they have summarized and responded to an opposing argument. 


    ·        Why do authors create a conversation with their opponents?

    ·        What are the effects of joining a conversation rather than creating a monologue?


    ·        How do you create a conversation with your opposition in your writing?

    ·        How can you listen carefully to another person’s argument?

    ·        How can you concisely summarize another’s argument?

    ·        How can you critically examine an opposing argument to respond to it?


    ·        Academics usually position their claim against another person’s claim, joining an existing conversation, rather than producing a claim in isolation.

    ·        Authors are more likely to convince others by directly confronting strong opposing arguments rather than ignoring the opposition.

    ·        Students can use these academic moves effectively even when they are arguing about non-academic topics


    ·        It is often easier to create your own position by first thoughtfully examining, presenting and responding to another’s argument.

    ·        An effective response to an opposing argument often involves one of two responses: (“no,” or “okay, but”).

    ·        If you disagree with an argument, you should clarify your concerns by identifying faulty assumptions, flawed logic, or identifying how their claims ignore larger issues.

    ·        Using templates to create a conversation with the opposition is not cheating, but rather using the same moves that academics use every day.

    ·        Listening carefully to another’s argument shows respect to them while building your own credibility

    ·        Precisely summarizing an argument clarifies your own claims.

    ·        Finding common ground with the opposition (providing an “ok, but” response) often creates a compelling claim.


    ·        Counterclaim

    ·        Fallacies:

    ·        Ad hominum

    ·        Appeal to authority

    ·        Either/or

    ·        Faulty causation

    ·        Hasty generalization

    ·        Scare tactic