Argumentative Writing Unit

Updated: January, 2021

To study extra about our full writing curriculum, go to our overview.

Unit Overview

Right now, the idea of “student voice” is having a second.

Thanks to the work of individuals like Malala Yousafzai and Greta Thunberg, the Parkland college students and the youth-led protests for Black Lives Matter, the facility younger folks can wield after they rise up for a trigger is evident.

On our web site, we’ve been providing youngsters methods to inform the world what they suppose for over 20 years. Our pupil writing immediate boards encourage them to weigh in on present occasions and points day by day, whereas our Student Editorial Contest has supplied an annual outlet since 2014 for formalizing these opinions into evidence-based essays.

Now we’re bringing collectively all of the assets we’ve developed alongside the way in which to assist college students work out what they wish to say, and how one can say it successfully.

Here is what this unit presents, however we might love to listen to from each academics and college students if there may be extra we might embrace. Let us know within the feedback, or by writing to [email protected]

Start With Our Prompts for Argumentative Writing

Our record consists of this query instructed by a pupil: Is it tougher to develop up within the 21st century than it was up to now?Credit…Monica Jorge for The New York Times

How younger is simply too younger to make use of social media?

Should college students get psychological well being days off from college?

Is $1 billion an excessive amount of cash for anybody individual to have?

These are the sorts of questions we ask each day on our web site. In 2017 we printed an inventory of 401 Prompts for Argumentative Writing categorized to impress considering on facets of latest life from social media to sports activities, politics, gender points and faculty. This yr, we’ve adopted it up with 300 Questions and Images to Inspire Argument Writing, which catalogs all our argument-focused Student Opinion prompts since then, plus our extra accessible Picture Prompts.

Teachers inform us their college students love taking a look at these lists, each to encourage their very own writing and to search out hyperlinks to dependable sources concerning the points that intrigue them. In truth, yearly we get many contest submissions that develop straight out of those questions. Several, like this one, have even gone on to win.

But even should you’re not taking part in our contest, you may use these prompts to ask the form of informal, low-stakes writing that may assist your college students construct expertise — in growing their voices, making claims and backing them up with strong reasoning and proof.

And, in case your college students reply to our most up-to-date prompts by posting feedback on our web site, they will additionally observe making arguments for an genuine viewers of fellow college students from world wide. Each week we select our favorites to honor in our Current Events Conversation column.

Find Lesson Plans on Every Aspect of Argument Writing

Related Lesson PlanCredit…Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

Over the years, we’ve printed fairly a number of lesson plans to assist our Editorial Contest — so many, in truth, that we lastly rounded all of them up into one simple record.

In “10 Ways to Teach Argument-Writing With The New York Times,” you’ll discover assets for:

Exploring the function of a newspaper opinion part

Understanding the distinction between truth and opinion

Analyzing using rhetorical methods like ethos, pathos and logos

Working with claims, proof and counterarguments

Helping college students uncover the problems that matter to them

Breaking out of the “echo chamber” when researching hot-button points

Experimenting with visible argument-making

Teach and Learn With Mentor Texts

We had 11 high winners in 2019, and one in all them, Isabel Hwang, used this Op-Ed, “It’s Not ‘Mess.’ It’s Creativity,” as a supply for her essay.Credit…Olimpia Zagnoli

You in all probability already know that yow will discover arguments to admire — and “writer’s moves” to emulate — everywhere in the Times Opinion part. But have you considered utilizing the work of our earlier Student Editorial Contest winners as mentor texts too?

Here are methods to make use of each:

Learn from the Op-Ed columnist Nicholas Kristof’s writing course of: Our newest version of our “Annotated by the Author” Mentor Text sequence is by Mr. Kristof. See what he has to say concerning the writing challenges he confronted in a current column and the way he did the sorts of issues college students should do, too, from fact-checking to fixing grammar errors to balancing storytelling with making a bigger level.

Get to know one author’s rhetorical type: Many academics use an “adopt a columnist” technique, inviting college students to give attention to the work of one of many 16 Times Op-Ed writers — Charles M. Blow, Jamelle Bouie, David Brooks, Frank Bruni, Gail Collins, Ross Douthat, Maureen Dowd, Thomas L. Friedman, Michelle Goldberg, Nicholas Kristof, Paul Krugman, David Leonhardt, Farhad Manjoo, Jennifer Senior and Bret Stephens — to get to know his or her points and rhetorical type. In 2019, an English instructor in Connecticut wrote for our web site about how he does this train, through which his college students select from amongst columnists at The Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal.

Use the work of teenage winners to assist your college students determine “writer’s moves” they will borrow: Teachers have advised us there isn’t a higher strategy to put together college students to enter our contest than to have them study the work of earlier winners. On our present web site, yow will discover the essays of the highest winners and the runners-up from 2017-2020. Invite your college students to learn one and reply the questions we pose in all our Mentor Texts columns: “What do you notice or admire about this piece? What lessons might it have for your writing?” Then, have them borrow a number of of this pupil’s “writer’s moves” and imitate it in their very own work.

We have additionally simply printed the first-ever Learning Network books, one which collects 100 of the perfect pupil essays from this contest multi function place, categorized by topics like “Teenage Life Online,” “Gender and Sexuality” and “Sports and Gaming,” and the opposite a associated instructor’s information to utilizing them within the classroom.

Finally, here’s a roundup of concepts from 17 academics and college students for methods to make use of these “authentic, powerful and unafraid” pupil essays in a number of classroom contexts.

Two new entries in our Annotated By the Author sequence, that includes pupil winners from 2020 discussing their work and sharing ideas: Ananya Udaygiri on “How Animal Crossing Will Save the World” and Abel John on “Collar the Cat!”

Get Practical Tips From Our Related Videos and Webinars

VideoThe New York Times’s editorial web page editor Andrew Rosenthal offers seven ideas for writing an efficient editorial.

The video above, “How to Write an Editorial,” is simply three minutes lengthy, however in it Andy Rosenthal, the previous editor of the Times Opinion web page, offers college students seven nice items of recommendation.

Both college students and academics are welcome to observe our standard on-demand 2017 webinar, “Write to Change the World: Crafting Persuasive Pieces With Help From Nicholas Kristof and the Times Op-Ed Page,” which features a wealth of sensible ideas from Mr. Kristof, in addition to from Kabby Hong, a Wisconsin English instructor who works with this contest yearly, and his pupil, Daina Kalnina, whose 2017 essay was one in all our high winners that yr.

Finally, you’ll be able to watch our current on-demand webinar, Teaching Argumentative Writing, that can give attention to two key steps within the course of: discovering your argument, and utilizing proof to assist it. You may even get broad overview of how one can use our writing prompts and the work of our pupil winners to assist your individual college students discover subjects they care about, and craft strong arguments round them. You may also watch an edited model of this webinar under.

Enter Our Seventh Annual Student Editorial Contest: Feb. 23-April 13, 2021

The fruits of this unit? Our Eighth Annual Student Editorial Contest, after all.

You can discover all the data you want, plus the entry kind, right here simply as quickly as the competition begins.

As all the time, all pupil work will likely be learn by our workers, volunteers from the Times Opinion part, and/or by educators from across the nation. Winners may have their work printed on our web site and, maybe, within the print New York Times.