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Argument Writing for Middle School

This course focuses on teaching middle school students to write persuasive arguments.

About This Course

Argument writing is a process of the writer seeking clarity on a position and reasonably defending it with valid reasons and evidence, always taking into account opposing positions. In The Aims of Argument by Timothy W. Crusius and Carolyn E. Channell, they identify four aims for writing four different types of arguments: inquiry, conviction, persuasion and mediation. As they point out, we argue in order to accomplish something. We may want to argue to inquire into a problem, question or issue in order to clarify our opinion. We may want to argue to convince, making a reasoned case to gain the assent of our audience. We may want to argue to persuade, moving others to believe as we do and to take action. Or we may argue to mediate, seeking agreement and cooperation. While the aims of arguments do have much in common, they also differ in terms of purpose, audience, situation and method.

In our argument writing course, we will argue to persuade. Like convincing, persuasion attempts to earn agreement, but the writer wants to influence not just thinking but also behavior. Persuasive arguments, like all types of arguments, use sound reasoning to defend a claim, but they don’t rely on reasoning alone. Persuasive argument writers write with voice and make stylistic choices to appeal to the audiences’ emotions. In order to teach your students how to write persuasive arguments, you will be reading and analyzing argument essays and writing your own. You will take a stand on issues you care about, asking yourself, How can we make the world a better place?

Students, of all ages, are aware of unfairness around them that they want to take a stand on. In your classroom, you can support students to believe in the power of their ideas and the power of using writing to communicate their ideas to others. We are fortunate to live in a country founded on the principle that speaking up against injustices is a democratic right. Persuasive argument writing is courageous writing.

About Accelerated Literacy Learning

This course was developed by content experts from Accelerated Literacy Learning (A.L.L.).  A.L.L. provides institutes, workshops, onsite and online professional development. If you and your colleagues would like more information about customized professional development with one of our many consultants including Brenda Wallace, please contact A.L.L. director, Susan Radley Brown at www.acceleratedliteracylearning.com.


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Simply Audit this Course

Can't commit to all of the lectures, assignments, and tests? Audit this course and have complete access to all of the course material, tests, people, portfolios, and the online discussion forum. You decide what and how much you want to do.

Try for a Certificate

Looking to test your mettle? Participate in all of the course's activities (we use the honor code around here) and if your work meets the 85% requirements, you'll receive a personalized certificate to showcase your achievement. You can also apply for course credit (if desired).

Course Staff

Brenda Wallace

Brenda Wallace is a K12 literacy consultant who works in partnership with diverse districts to co-create needs driven, meaningful literacy learning and caring communities. Brenda is currently consulting for Accelerated Literacy Learning where she works alongside educators to develop professional learning communities, implement reading and writing workshops, and advance content knowledge and teaching expertise in order to engage students in purposeful, intellectual work. Honoring and energizing teaching, as well as promoting relevant learning, are at the heart of Brenda’s collaborations. She is also currently a writer for Pepper’s innovative, online professional development courses.

Brenda has been supporting educators for twenty years. She was a Staff Developer with Columbia University Teachers College Reading and Writing Project; an Instructor in The Department of English Education, Teachers College, Columbia University; a consultant with the nationally renowned Community School District 2 in NYC; and the Co-Director for the K-8 Literacy Initiative in District 15 in Brooklyn, NY. Brenda has collaborated with organizations such as The Noyce Foundation where she was the consultant for the Every Child a Reader and Writer Initiative and with the Carnegie Foundation’s Center to Support Excellence in Teaching to create the InsideWritingWorkshop video collection.

Brenda has graduate degrees in education and in writing from Columbia University’s Teachers College and from Columbia University’s School of the Arts. 

It is strongly recommended that participants in this online course are current classroom teachers or have access to students in order to be able to implement the practicum assignments developed as part of the session activities.
B. Wallace
Course Code: WR220M
Course Release: Jun 11, 2015
Estimated Effort: 6 Hrs Online
4 Hrs Offline

Suggested Prerequisites:
It is strongly recommended that participants in this online course are current classroom teachers or have access to students in order to be able to implement the practicum assignments developed as part of the session activities.

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