Students review their classmates’ responses to Share Your Opinion (from Step 1) as a starting point in determining the “other side’s” position on their topic. Using these data, students identify one argument from the other side that is likely to sway their audience and develop a counterargument supported with evidence.
Note: This lesson may require an additional class period.
Technology: LCD projector, laptop, Internet access or Writing Editorials CD, student computers with Internet access
In Class Handouts: Student copies of the Editorial Organizer (Handout 3.1a)
Other Materials: Student folders, writers’ notebooks, counterargument for the Teacher Model
If there is no access to the technology needed for this lesson, try the following options:
Students will identify one of the “other side’s” possible arguments and develop a persuasive counterargument supported by evidence.
How can you counter one of the “other side’s” strongest arguments in your editorial?
Show lesson visuals, Counter the Other Side.
Tell students that the purpose of today’s lesson is to help them finish planning the body of their editorials by addressing the “other side” of their arguments. Reiterate that the purpose of editorial writing is to convince or persuade the reader to agree with the writer’s point of view. Explain that acknowledging the arguments of those who disagree with us (the other side) and countering them strengthens the editorial greatly. Use examples from students’ own lives to illustrate this point, such as two sides to a disagreement they have had with their parents. Remind students that in Step 1 they responded online to their classmates’ opinions on topics that were important to them. In some cases, classmates disagreed with each other. The information collected from classmates will help students understand what the other side’s point of view might be. This can be the basis for planning the rest of the body of their editorials.
Model the process of identifying an opposing view and providing a counterargument by revisiting the opinion statement associated with your editorial. Write a list of arguments that support the other side. (If you posted your opinion statement online, use some of your students’ opposing views in forming this list.) Think about which of the listed arguments is most likely to sway your intended audience to agree with the other side and disagree with you. Demonstrate how to counter the other side’s argument in your editorial by presenting the other side and then giving evidence to prove why your point of view is stronger.
Ask students to follow your lead by selecting a persuasive argument from the other side and developing an effective counterargument that includes evidence.
My opinion is that NYC Transit needs to run more subway trains so that they are not so overcrowded. When I was doing my research, I saw that a lot of people disagree with me. They made arguments like:
My target audience is the people who manage the subway. I think they are business people who are going to be best persuaded by an argument that involves money. So I am going to try to counter the argument about fares going up.
Looking through my evidence I see a fact that says New York has fewer trains running than other
major cities like Paris, London and Tokyo, but that New Yorkers pay higher fares than the people in those other cities. That means that other cities are giving better service for lower fares. So, more trains should not necessarily mean higher fares. I am going to add that to my Editorial Organizer (Handout 3.1a) along with the source where I found it.
Ask students to:
Students work individually to identify the other side’s arguments and find evidence to support their counterarguments. Students add this information to Section C of their Editorial Organizer (Handout 3.1a). Circulate among the students, encouraging and prompting them to identify the other side of their topics and develop well-supported counterarguments. Look for effective examples of student work that you can share at the end of the lesson.
Individual Conferences: Emphasize the importance of selecting arguments that best represent the other side. Students may find that they do not have such arguments written down, but that they encountered examples of them in their research. Allow students to use what they recall or to research the other side’s position.
Reconvene the class. Ask students to go to Step 3 of the Online Classroom and post the other side’s argument and their counterargument in the activity titled, Share Your Counterargument. Students should type their topic in the subject line and the other side’s argument and their counterargument in the body of the post. If time allows, students may comment on each other’s posts and make suggestions on how to be more persuasive.
Review students’ Editorial Organizers (Handout 3.1a). Check whether students have completed enough research to write their editorials and whether or not they have a solid understanding of their opinion and the other side of the argument. If it becomes apparent that some students require additional research to find the necessary evidence for this part of the editorial, this would be the time to provide this opportunity. Use the Teacher’s Checklist to identify what students have completed to this point.