Date of publication: 2017-08-25 20:03
I agree, Kristi. As we teach our students to read, write, and think, we need to also teach them (and remind ourselves) how to listen. Thanks for posting.
The five-paragraph essay does not develop logic or the understanding that writing is about entering a larger conversation. It promotes an isolated, one-sided view.
You have been asked to give a persuasive speech. This is a much harder task than the informative speech. The problem is what topic to choose for your speech. Here is a list with a number of good ideas.
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Although the five-paragraph structure can be considered rudimentary, I don’t believe it’s entirely unengaging and useless. A creative writer can always find ways to make his or her writing more appealing and can still apply all the qualities of a good argumentative paper with this restriction. I’m always up for a challenge and change, so I’ll consider teaching the modern writing style this summer to vary my instruction. I’ll gladly inform you if your theory proves me wrong. :)
If there is a prompt, I have the student break the prompt into its various parts and put each part at the top of a separate page. After dealing with each part of the prompt, they can join the various sections. This way they are assured they addressed the entire prompt.
I teach them that any statement they make needs to be defended logically/with proofs, or explained by personal example (depending on the type of essay). If they can't defend it, kill it. It's worthless.
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At later stages we look at flow and some obvious items that shouldn't exist in formal writing, ., any form of the verb "to get", and two-word verbs (verb + preposition). And of course we look at just about every word to see if it adds value to the writing or simply occupies space.
In competitions such as history fairs, students cannot compete with the rudimentary three-part argument. When I started a Writing Center at a selective-enrollment high school a couple of jobs ago, the history teacher came to me and said she needed something to help students succeed. Over and over, she was getting arguments with blank, blank, and blank.
I've used stems with even my AP students when we take on a new type of writing. The vision is to then take away the stems. Most of the time we can. Thanks to Response to Intervention, though, we don't have to for the really struggling students. Here's an example I suggested for a friend who teaches 9th grade: