Friday, January 16, 2015

Writing an Argumentative Essay

An Argumentative Essay:
  • Has a clear introduction 
  • States a focus/position statement clearly, precisely, and thoughtfully 
  • Uses specific evidence from the text(s) to support and develop the position, and explains that evidence logically 
  • Takes into account what people who disagree with you might think and tries to respond to that 
  • Concludes effectively
Keep in mind that an argumentative essay is based more on facts as opposed to emotion. When picking a topic you’re interested in, be sure to pick one that you can support with evidence and reasoning. You will need facts, statistics, and reports from sources you and your audience can trust.

I. Introduction
     1. Introduce the topic by giving background information that briefly explains the topic so that the reader will understand the topic to be argued. (3-4 sentences)

     2. Add the thesis statement that clearly and strongly states your opinion concerning the
topic. Writing a direct thesis by including the reasons in your thesis is optional.

II. Body Paragraphs

     1. The first two (or more) body paragraph gives a reason that supports the opinion stated in the thesis. This reason is supported with facts, data, or information.

     2. One paragraph discusses the opposite viewpoint. After you pose the counter argument, contest it. Say why the counter argument is faulty and why your argument is stronger.

III. Conclusion

     1. Use a transition signal for the conclusion such as: in conclusion, to conclude, etc.
     2. Restate the thesis in different words than you used in your introduction.
     3. Summarize your main points.
     4. End with a final comment on the topic.

Perhaps the biggest mistake people make in writing an argumentative essay is to state their opinions instead of facts. Remember that each claim you make must be supported by solid evidence if your argument is to hold up to the opposing views.






Here are some sample topics. To find the entire list, go to the RW Wiki Argumentative Topic List.

School and Kids
Is child behavior better or worse than it was years ago?
Is homework harmful or helpful?
Is Cheating Getting Worse?
Should Students Be Able to Grade Their Teachers?
Does Your School Hand Out Too Many A’s?

Technology
Are we too dependent on computers?
Are cell phones dangerous?
Do violent video games cause behavior problems?
Have people have become overly dependent on technology?
Does Technology Make Us More Alone?

Social Issues
Are Adults Hurting Young Children by Pushing Them to Achieve?
Should the Government Limit the Size of Sugary Drinks?
Which Is More Important: Talent or Hard Work?
Is Your Generation More Self-Centered Than Earlier Generations?

Sports
Does participation in sports keep teens out of trouble?
Is competition good?
Should Home-Schoolers Be Allowed to Play Public School Sports?
Does participating in team sports helps to develop good character?
If Football Is So Dangerous to Players, Should We Be Watching It?

Friday, December 12, 2014

Teamwork Informational Report

Steps for writing an informational report

1. Make a plan for the process. Think about the topic and what main points will be stressed.
2. Conduct research and take notes. Use a range of resources — from essays, articles, videos, and the Internet to do this. Take notes without copying word-for-word to reduce the risk of plagiarism. Be sure to copy websites and titles of articles so you can cite your sources.
3. Organize your paper using an outline. Decide which research and information fits best and where it should go in the essay.
4. Write the first draft of the report. Use the outline as a road map.
5. Edit and reread the report. Checking and correcting mistakes are the hallmarks of a good student.

Possible topics might be:

Teams are Built Through Cooperation
Put Your Problems Aside and Put the Team First
Drama Kills Teams
All Teammates Must Contribute
Everyone Must Give 110%
It's About the Team and not the Individual
No I in Team
Teams Work Together to Make Everyone Succeed
Team First
Helping Others Makes the Team Strong
Working Together is More Fun
Together Everyone Achieves More
Helping Makes Better Teammates
Working Together Is Easier
Working Together Helps Everyone Succeed
Team Focus is Important To Go Far
We Not Me
None of Us is Smarter Than All of Us
Teamwork Makes Dreams Work
Selfish Doesn't Work in Teams
Cooperation Counts in Teams
Teamwork is Not Something You Have, It's Something You Have to Achieve
The Whole is Greater Than the Parts
Everyone Included
A Successful Team Beats with One Heart
If No One Works on a Team, Then the Team Doesn't Work

Spurs Teamwork Drives Success

An article in The Daily Texan talks about teamwork at the highest level with NBA champions, San Antonio Spurs. 

The article begins:
This summer the San Antonio Spurs won their fifth NBA championship, crushing the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals four games to one. The 2013-2014 San Antonio Spurs are one of the great championship teams in NBA history, and their recent victory further solidified the Spurs as perhaps the best franchise in professional sports. This year’s team also personified the sacrifice of individual acclaim for a greater goal, a characteristic increasingly rare in athletics, which, even on the collegiate level, focus on profit today.






Thursday, December 11, 2014

Teamwork



An article, Benefits of Teamwork in Sports says:
No sports team is successful without working together to reach a common goal. Teamwork is essential to a good performance from any sports team, professional or not, and is a great way to teach children certain life lessons, such as cooperating well with others and taking responsibility for actions. Such lessons are applicable to life outside of sports and can be applied to work or school, such as focusing without interruption on the school paper that needs to be written or working with a less-than-pleasant colleague on a project.
You can read he rest of the article HERE.

An article from Time Management Guide says:

A team building success is when your team can accomplish something much bigger and work more effectively than a group of the same individuals working on their own. You have a strong synergy of individual contributions. But there are two critical factors in building a high performance team.
You can read the rest of the article HERE.

Sled Dog Teamwork is discussed at the Wilderness Classroom:
Every sled dog has a different personality. They are kind of like people. Some of the dogs are outgoing. Some dogs are shy. Some of the dogs are hard workers and some are lazy. The musher of a dog team needs to find the best position for every dog on their team. When the dogs are all working together as a team, they can travel far and pull a lot of weight. Teamwork is a very important part of dog sledding. Do you use teamwork at school? I bet you do!
You can read the rest of the article HERE.


Another resource with several articles can be found at The Happy Manager.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Pond Informational Report

You can see all the Informational Reports HERE.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Informational Report--Science and L.A. Project

Reading Workshop students are working on an interdisciplinary unit in science and language arts. They are finding the volume of the classroom pond in the science class determining how many liters of water will be needed for this new and improved home for the class turtles.

In language arts, students will be writing an informational report detailing the process, and what they discovered. Essays will be scored based on the PARCC rubric below.


Friday, December 5, 2014

What Kind of Teammate Are You?

Take a look at this video. There are different types of teammate. Can you recognize yourself? Others?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Are You a Team Player?

Your class is your team. Every day you could be a part of something meaningful. You could be a part of something special. You could better the lives of those around you. You could be a leader. You could show kindness to someone in need. You could bring your class together to make it strong.

For this to happen though takes a team first attitude. It means putting others' needs in front of your own. Most of all though, it means evaluating yourself as a teammate. Then you must be motivated to use your strengths to the best of your ability to make your class the best it can be.




Your first task, Reading Workshop students is to describe yourself as a teammate. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? How do your classmates view you as part of the team? 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Writing a Response Using Details from the Text for Support

Today we are going to take the event from yesterday and use it for support on a writing prompt. This is working backwards from normal, but the process and use of an event for supporting details is the same. This event can be used for a number of topics like setting, character, problem, plot, conflict, comparison to self, comparison to another character, comparison to another setting, mystery, etc. For this example I am going to write about setting.

I just finished reading Compound by S.A. Bodeen. The setting plays a major role in this book. The story takes place in an underground compound/bunker. For almost the entire book, the main character, Eli and his family live in the "Compound."

The books opens with this scene:

My world ended with a bang the minute we entered the compound and that silver door closed behind us. The sound was brutal. Final.   .   .   .   My fists beat on the door. I bawled. The screaming left me hoarse.

Right from the start as a reader I had to stop and try to imagine myself in this place. I couldn't imagine being forced to survive trapped underground with no hope of escape. Also, when Eli finds out his twin brother and grandmother don't make it to the shelter and die, the setting causes even more thought. Eli's father, mother, and sisters Lexie and Terese managed to get safely inside within the forty minutes needed to survive, but his twin brother Eddie and his grandmother didn't make it..

In a way, the setting is the whole world because the world just ended with a nuclear explosion. However, Eli's family was safe only because of the compound. Eli's father (a billionaire) had prepared them for this day and made provisions to help them survive underground for the next 15 years. This tells me right from the start of the book that the entire story takes place underground in this compound prison.

Being trapped here causes major problems emotionally for Eli. He was forced to live with the fact that he caused Eddie's death. Eli had talked him into sneaking into their grandmother's car. She didn't make it back to the compound in time to get to safety in the shelter. Now Eli had to spend each day knowing his brother, his twin died because of him. There is no escaping this fact and being stuck in this setting reminds Eli of this every minute of every day.

Compound is a great book with a lot of events that bring you into the book and make you wonder what you would do in this situation. The setting controls the lives of the characters and the entire story.



Thursday, November 20, 2014

Start with an Event

I just finished reading Compound by S.A. Bodeen. This is the opening scene:

My world ended with a bang the minute we entered the compound and that silver door closed behind us. The sound was brutal. Final.   .   .   .   My fists beat on the door. I bawled. The screaming left me hoarse.

In the next few pages the book explains that Eli's family is in an underground shelter but his twin brother Eddie and his grandmother didn't make it. Eli's father, mother, and sisters Lexie and Terese managed to get safely inside within the forty minutes needed to survive.

The world just ended with a nuclear explosion. Eli's family was safe only because of the compound. Eli's father (a billionaire) had prepared them for this day and made provisions to help them survive underground for the next 15 years.      

Eli was forced to live with the fact that he caused Eddie's death. Eli had talked him into sneaking into their grandmother's car. She didn't make it back to the compound in time to get to safety in the shelter. Now Eli had to spend each day knowing his brother, his twin died because of him.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Support Your Writing with Details!

Reading Workshop students, please copy and paste the latest writing topic about the book you are reading, "Could You be the Main Character?" To see more about this project you can see all responses to this topic on the Question Board.