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Ch 1: Writing Arguments: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.1

About This Chapter

Let us show you how to meet the Common Core requirements and help your 8th-grade students learn how to write persuasive arguments and essays. Find helpful suggestions on how to use the lessons and determine whether or not your students have achieved the standard-based competencies.

Standard: Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.

About This Chapter

Eighth-grade students who have mastered this standard know how to introduce, organize and support an argument in a persuasive essay. During the writing process, they are also able to use words and phrases to promote organizational unity and generate reader interest.

The lessons in this chapter include topics in:

  • Writing essay introductions and thesis statements
  • Identifying points of view, including first, second- and third person, limited and omniscient
  • Structuring and proving the essay argument
  • Using ethos, logos and pathos to create audience appeal
  • Anticipating and refuting opposing views with reason and evidence
  • Understanding the parts of an argument, including claims, evidence, counterclaims and reasons
  • Establishing and maintaining a formal style
  • Writing essay conclusions and supporting the thesis.

Students at this level demonstrate mastery of the standard by writing well-structured persuasive essays supported by common sense reasoning and solid evidence. Challenges to their essay arguments have been anticipated and addressed, while attracting and maintaining the interest of the reader. Student work reflects an understanding of formal writing styles and the organizational components associated with the persuasive essay.

How to Use These Lessons in Your Classroom

The following lesson tips can show you how to support instruction in the Writing Arguments: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.1 standard:

Essay Introduction Lesson

Watch the video on essay introductions at the beginning of class. Choose and read a sampling of thesis statements and arguments and discuss which ones the students find the most interesting.

Point-of-View Lessons

Assign the point-of-view lesson for homework. Provide students with a short passage or passages to read in class, and then discuss the narrative lens or viewpoint.

Structuring and Proving the Argument Lessons

Watch the structuring and proving the argument lesson at the beginning of class and present students with a sample thesis statement. As a group exercise, have students list and share their supporting and opposing arguments and how they may be proved.

Audience Appeal Lesson

Assign the audience appeal lesson for homework. Read some short passages aloud during class, and ask students to decide if the authors employed the use of ethos, logos and pathos.

Parts of an Argument Lesson

Watch and review the parts of an argument lesson. Distribute a short persuasive essay, and ask students to identify which parts of the text fall under claims, evidence, counterclaims and reasons.

8 Lessons in Chapter 1: Writing Arguments: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.1
Essay Introduction: Write a Thesis and Capture Your Audience

1. Essay Introduction: Write a Thesis and Capture Your Audience

We'll look at the importance of the introductory paragraph and engaging your audience through the use of attention getters, a bridge, and an arguable thesis. Three of the most common attention getters are specifically defined, and examples are provided in this lesson.

Point of View: First, Second & Third Person

2. Point of View: First, Second & Third Person

Just who is telling this story? In this lesson, we'll look at point of view, or the perspective from which a work is told. We'll review first person, second person and third person points of view.

Logos, Ethos and Pathos: 3 Ways to Appeal to an Audience in Essays

3. Logos, Ethos and Pathos: 3 Ways to Appeal to an Audience in Essays

Appeal is an important aspect to writing, especially when your goal is to inform and/or persuade the reader in some area. In this lesson, we will examine the three main types of appeal: logos, ethos and pathos

Writing for An Audience: How to Structure Your Argument

4. Writing for An Audience: How to Structure Your Argument

The structure of a persuasive essay depends on the audience. In this lesson, we'll explore two common argumentative structures - classical and Rogerian - and when each of them is most effective.

Parts of An Argument: Claims, Counterclaims, Reasons, and Evidence

5. Parts of An Argument: Claims, Counterclaims, Reasons, and Evidence

To effectively write an argument, you need to know the four basic parts. In this lesson, you will learn the definitions of the four basic parts and why you need them in an argument.

How to Support Your Claims in Writing With Reasoning and Evidence

6. How to Support Your Claims in Writing With Reasoning and Evidence

What makes an essay persuasive? How can you convince people that your position is the stronger side? In this lesson, we'll explore reasons and evidence and how to use them in a persuasive essay to convince others to support your side.

How to Establish and Maintain a Formal Writing Style

7. How to Establish and Maintain a Formal Writing Style

Writing a research paper requires a different kind of language than other kinds of writing. We call this writing in a formal style. Fortunately, the rules for writing in a formal style are quite easy. This lesson shows you how to do it.

Concluding Statements: Supporting Your Argument

8. Concluding Statements: Supporting Your Argument

Many writers spend so much time on the body of their essay that the conclusion seems overwhelming. In this lesson, we'll break down the last paragraph of a persuasive essay and look at what needs to be included.

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