Aim: What are the building blocks of argument?
A. Introducing Argument
Do now: In writing describe a situation where you have witnessed or participated in arguments where people have different positions and use evidence to convince one another about an issue.
Read the following passage. Identify the issue, the different positions that people take, and the kinds of examples that people use to illustrate either the dangers or the benefits of media use for young people.
Never have there been more questions about the role of media in children’s lives. New research shows that young people spend as much time engaged with media – seven hours – as they do sleeping. Hardly a week goes by without public debate about violent video games, educational TV, depressed computer-users, gender stereotypes in rap music, the technology gap between rich and poor, or the online dangers lurking just behind the computer screen. At the very same time, there has never been such a push to use media proactively to reach young people with information or positive messages. The world has seen peaceful revolutions spread through the deliberate use of the tools of digital media. It is clear that young people use media to connect, create, and innovate. Youth write, create artwork and define political change online. International science projects on climate change assemble data from individuals around the world, organizations raise money for the victims of disaster, and human rights activists collect and distribute vital information. So what does it mean to grow up in a world that is so wired? What are the dangers? Where are the opportunities?
Key terms (elements) you will be using:
· Context: This is information that would help a reader or a listener to understand why an issue matters or what is at stake.
· Claim and counterclaim
· Sources of evidence (primary sources like personal experience, interviews, research data; secondary sources like summary articles, textbooks, etc.)
Understanding the Building Blocks of Argument
Read the article from New York Times, the “Growing up digital: Wired for Distraction.” Work in pairs to jot down notes to show your finding of each element in this list. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/21/technology/21brain.html
Read the text and mark your copies to show where to find each element in this list. Based on their reading, discuss what each one of these elements adds to the larger argument. Why is each important?
Transfer: Based on your reading, discuss how each element adds to the larger argument. Why is each "building block" important?
HW: Complete the "Meaning-Making" activity.
2/27/2013 - 2/28/2013
Aim: How do we determine the strengths and limits of different sources?
Do Now: Respond in writing- Do you believe every source you may come across on the internet is authentic? Why or why not? Explain.
Meaning Making Activities: You will be divided into small groups. Each group will view a different kind of internet source to determine its credibility and authenticity:
- Data from Kaiser report
- Student video interviews
- Editorial by Roger Cohen “Revolutionary Arab Geeks”
- Magazine article: Excerpt from Carr
(Day 3)Task: Examine the source and discuss with your group what kind of information each one provides for thinking about the effects of media on youth and in society.
Homework for Day 3 - Individual Research & Observations
- What are the strengths of this kind of information?
- What are its limits?
Examine your own media use in a day. Keep a log of the media activity during the day and evening (Download file: media_activity_log_doc at the bottom of this page). Consider what might count as a negative or positive effect. For instance, a negative effect might include what you are NOT doing because you are texting or on Facebook. The sample comments from the young media user can be helpful here.
- Data on Personal Media Use
Day 4 Task: Critical Reading and Evaluating Claims
Aim: What's a claim and how do we generate it for our argument essay?
Do Now: With personal evidence from your media activity log, share what you have observed and what conclusions you can and can’t draw from your research/observation with your group.
As you discuss the evidence, identify where there are the raw materials for writing an effective argument:
- Context: What’s at stake for the way I use my time?
- Position: What I now think.
- Evidence: Based on what data?
- Conclusion: What does this make me think about the effects of media on young people? What questions do I still have?
In your group review your sources, mark up copies (or your notes if you looked at video interviews) to identify the major claims each author/speaker makes and the evidence the author uses to back up his/her claims:
After the discussion, create a chart of the points (download file: media_pros_cons_chart.doc below), or make your own charts about the pros and cons of media use for youth, as well as how you might add to or challenge each major claim.
Homework for Day 4: Complete the chart.
Aim: What's the role of youth media in political engagement? How does the youth engage media for political purpose?
Do Now: Based on your reading of the articles provided concerning new media or your personal experience, make a claim about the new media and give one evidence to prove it.
Read (or review) Cohen’s article on the role of youth media in recent events in the Arab world. Identify the position that the author takes and the claims that he makes about what access to media like Facebook, Twitter, and the Internet more generally, has meant for young people in the recent political events in Tunisia and Egypt. Keep track of the paragraph where you found your information.
Research both the opportunities and the risks that media use has offered young political activists in these countries. Gather your findings by annotations (notes on the document).
Respond to: What are the opportunities and the dangers that media use has introduced into the lives of young Arabs?
Homework for Day 5: Write a paragraph to respond to the question "What are the opportunities and the dangers that media use has introduced into the lives of young Arabs?"
Aim: How do we develop a position statement about the effects of media use?
Do now: Examine the essay prompt and complete the following steps:
Sketch out the argument essay by:
- Writing a brief position statement
- Listing their claims, backed up by evidence from the source they have read and developed
- Addressing important counterclaims that they have read
- Writing a brief conclusion.
Argument Essay Assignment:
You have read information from several sources, heard from other young people, (and done some research and thinking about media in your own life or in world affairs). When you consider what all these different sources say about the effects of media use.The final essay is due on Friday March 8, 2013.
What are the gains
What are the dangers
For the lives of young people? And for a larger society?
Write a short (750 words) essay in which you:
Explains what’s at stake: Why does this issue matter?
Develop and state your own position
Defend your position with a range of different types of evidence (interview, observations, research data, and newspaper reports, etc.)
Include research that you may have conducted
Draw your own conclusions about the effects of media on young people and the world
Use a chart such as the following or they can write out the "bare bones" of their argument.
My position statement:
Claim and evidence:
Claim and evidence:
Claim and evidence:
Counterclaim and response:
Once you have the major moves in your argument organized, consider the earlier questions about writing effective arguments, such as:
- What draws a reader into an argument?
- Are there only pro and con arguments?
- Could a writer take another kind of position?
- To make an effective argument does a writer need to focus in on a specific issue? For instance, is it really possible to talk about all media as if they were the same?
- What is the most effective way different kinds of evidence could be used?
- What makes an interesting conclusion? Is it just a summary or can you introduce new questions or ideas for readers to think about?
Days 8-11 Drafting an Essay
Aim: What's your position on the effects of media on young people around the globe?
Do now: Draft your essay
Essay must include the building blocks of a strong argument:
- Discussion of counterclaims
- A thoughtful conclusion
Here is the rubric for the essay structure
- 2-3 sentences to contextulize the topic ( Why does it matter?)
- 1-2 sentences of a major counter claim
- 1 sentence to show your position
- 1-2 sentences to show your claim
Body Paragraphs 1-3:
- Topic sentence ( reason #1, #2, #3).
- Explain the reason
- example A that supports your claim( facts, examples from the articles)
- example B that supports your claim
- Topic sentence (a counter claim)
- Reasons of the counter claim
- examples (2 examples) to refute why the counter claim is wrong
- Restate your position.
- suggestions of solutions
- Use the rubric to check the effectiveness of your claim & evidence.
Peer Editing for Argument: Using the rubric as a guide, students read each other’s essays, making specific suggestions about where each other’s essay could become more effective.
Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18- Year Olds. Kaiser Family Foundation (2010).
Excerpts from an interview: A young Woman thinks out loud about her media use.
Students and technology, constant companions: Interviews with students about their media use. http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/11/21/technology/20101121-brain-interactive.html?ref=technology
Does media limit or change how we think and what we can imagine?
Carr, Nicholas, (2008). Is a Google making us stupid? What the internet is doing to our brains.
Growing up digital, wired for distraction.
Excerpt from Susan Maushart’s Winter of Our Disconnect
Is media use improving individuals and the world?
Cohen, Roger, (January 28, 2011). Revolutionary Arab Geeks: Ask the kids in Tunis and Cairo if the Web enslaves people. New York Times.
Teenagers’ Internet Socializing Not a Bad Thing
Teenage social media butterflies may not be such a bad idea
A Tunisian on the role of social media.
adapted from http://litstudies.org/E3/ArgumentLessons.html