The Art of Persuasive Writing Opinion vs. Argument vs. Persuasion



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The Art of Persuasive Writing

Opinion vs. Argument vs. Persuasion

  • “Opinion” is the Common Core label given to argument writing in Grades K-5. It is the stepping stone to argument.
  • “Argument” is the label used in Grades 6-12. It refers to logical arguments which are convincing because of their merit and reasonableness, rather than emotion or the credentials of the writer.
  • “Persuasion” conveys an appeal to the reader’s self-interest or emotions.

Forms of Persuasive Writing

  • Advertisements
  • Editorials
  • Speeches
  • Propaganda
  • Reviews
  • Blogs
  • Persuasive Essays

Persuasive Writing can be used to…

    • Purpose
    • Support a cause
    • Urge people to action
    • Make a change
    • Prove something wrong
  • Persuasive Statement
  • “Please support my football team by buying discount coupons.”
  • “Vote for Sarah!”
  • “The principal should let us wear hats.”
  • “Cell phones don’t cause brain cancer.”

Persuasive Writing can be used to…

    • Purpose
    • Stir up sympathy
    • Create interest
    • Get people to agree with you
  • Persuasive Statement
  • “If you don’t adopt this dog, it could have to live in a shelter.”
  • “Better grades get you a better job and more money.”
  • “I am sure you’ll agree that Milky Way is the best candy bar.”

The Persuasive Essay

First…Know Your Audience…

  • Before you start writing, you should know your audience:
    • Who will read your writing? Who do you need to convince?
    • The audience may be your friends, your teacher, your parents, your principal, the readers of a newspaper or the President of the United States!
    • Will you be graded? On What?
    • Should you be casual or professional?

Second… Pick a side!

  • The writer must clearly state his/her position and stay with that position. Pick a side!
  • Generally, the position is stated in the opening paragraph or introduction.

In order to convince the reader you need more than just an opinion; you need facts or examples (the text provided) to back your opinion. So, be sure to do the research! Then use text evidence you find!

  • Three: Do Your Research…
  • Walsh Publishing Co. 2009

Four: MAKE A PLAN, then write!

  • The 6 Paragraph Essay:
  • 1. Introduction/Hook/Thesis
  • 2. Argument 1 with support
  • 3. Argument 2 with support
  • 4. Argument 3 with support
  • 5. Show the counter-argument
  • and make an argument against it
  • 6. Conclusion

More Practice

Use the Opinion/ Argumentative Map to complete the activity on Frozen

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4tp4nBHG1E
  • Conclusion:
  • Richard Roeper thought Frozen was a good movie.
  • Gorgeous animation
  • Memorable characters
  • Filled with action, heart, and energy
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4tp4nBHG1E
  • Opinion Writing Graphic Organizer
  • Richard Roeper thought Frozen was a good movie.
  • Gorgeous animation
  • Memorable characters
  • Filled with action, heart, and energy
  • Anna’s sister, Elsa is the Ice Queen
  • Vibrant colors
  • 3-D Animation
  • Anna, is Elsa’s adoring sister
  • Snowman Olaf is scene stealer & comic relief
  • Adventure story
  • Show stopping songs

DOs and DON’Ts of Persuasive Writing:

  • Do:
  • Divide into 5 paragraphs
  • Have a thesis statement in your introduction
  • Come up with 3 main points to support your argument—these will be your 3 body paragraphs
  • Show the “counter -argument”
  • Have a conclusion that has a “clincher statement”
  • Come up with a catchy title
  • Don’t :
  • Don’t begin with “Hello my name is___ and I’m going to write about____”
  • Don’t use the word “I “ (Instead of “I think we shouldn’t wear uniforms” say “Uniforms shouldn’t be required.”
  • Don’t be wishy-washy. Pick a side!
  • Don’t forget to support your opinions with facts and example s

Text Structure of a Persuasive Essay

The Great Introduction…

  • What makes an good introduction?
  • It grabs or “hooks” the reader’s attention by using one or more of the following strategies:
    • An anecdote or scenario
    • A quotation
    • An interesting fact or statistic
    • A question
  • It tells how the writing will be organized.
  • The author’s position is clearly stated in a thesis statement.

Lead / Hook Grab the Reader’s Attention

  • Anecdote (narrative vignette)
  • I walked proudly through the hallways of AMS, my new blue mohawk glistening magnificently in the florescent lighting of the hallway, but then I saw Mr. Caruthers. I felt the wax in my hair start to melt.
  • Question
  • Do schools have the right to tell kids how to dress?
  • Hyperbole
  • For the past 300 years in this country, schools have been crushing the artistic freedom of students with oppressive dress codes!
  • Setting
  • At Centerville Middle School, a controversy is brewing. Walk down the hallways, and amidst a tranquil sea of khaki pants and navy blue polo shirts, the blades of a fuchsia mohawk cut through the peaceful learning environment.
  • Alliterative Phrase
  • Timeless. Tasteful. Tried and true. The traditional school uniform is the foundation of a true learning environment.
  • Quotation
  • “Give me liberty or give me death.”

You Could Start with a Riddle:

  • Get your reader’s attention with a challenging thought.
  • “What’s plain, and boring? What makes all students in a school building look the same and lose their individuality? If you guessed UNIFORMS, you’re correct!”

You Could Begin with a Strong Statement:

  • Example:
  • Fast food consumption has risen 500 percent since 1970 and today reaches nearly every part of society, including some public school cafeterias.

You Could Open with a Quotation:

  • Example:
  • University of Delaware professor states:
  • Advertising, including television ads, billboards, and other advertising,
  • including toys in boxed meals, has had an effect upon children as never before.
  • Children these days are growing up with low concern for their health and
  • more concern for what tastes good.”

You Could Open with a interesting fact:

  • Example:
  • “Did you know that a typical child needs 2,000 calories for an entire day and Burger King’s Whopper with triple cheese has 1,230 calories?”

You Could Open with an Anecdote:

  • An anecdote can provide an amusing and attention-getting opening if it is short and to the point.
  • “My hands felt sticky after pulling open the doors to “Big Bobby’s Boisterous Burger Hut”. The odor smelled of fried everything. I ordered a Big Bobby Combo #2. There was enough food to serve a small third world country on my tray. I nibbled at the ¾ pound burger and my chin was covered in a mayonnaise and ketchup concoction. I asked the server if I could have a few fries with my salt. I left the place feeling like my stomach was mad at me.”

You Could Open with a Fact or Statistic:

  • Example:
  • Thirty percent of the children in the survey ate fast food on any given day during the survey, and they ate an average of 187 calories a day more than those who did not eat fast food. These additional calories could account for an extra six pounds of weight gain per year, according to Ludwig.

You Could Open with a Question:

  • I wonder how many times I have eaten fast food this month?

Open with an Outrageous Statement:

  • Example:
  • “Fast food is killing America!”

Next: Creating a Thesis Statement

  • A thesis statement is one sentence at the end of your introduction that states your opinion. It needs to be strong.
  • First, choose 3 main focus points to discuss in your essay. These points will become the focus of three paragraphs in the body of your paper.
  • Let’s use fast food as an example again.
  • Fast food…(3 Discussion Points)
  • rapidly increases weight
  • causes high blood pressure
  • leads to sluggishness

A thesis statement should

  • contain a topic (main idea of what you are writing about)
  • contain an opinion about the topic (what your attitude is toward the topic)

A thesis statement should not be too broad.

  • Too Broad
    • The world is a magnificent place to live.
  • Better
    • Good teachers make Highlands Middle School a fantastic school.

Which sentence is too broad to be a good thesis statement?

  • One reason to live in White Plains is because it is very close to New York City.
  • Mountain City is a great place to live.

Too Board

  • White Plains is a great place to live.

A thesis statement should not be too wordy.

  • Wordy
  • Some problems with Highlands Middle School are that it needs a larger playground, an air conditioned gym,, restrooms connected to each classroom, running water in the classrooms, and a number of other physical changes to the building.
  • Better
  • Highlands Middle School needs several changes to its facility to make it a better school.

Which sentence is too wordy to be a good thesis statement?

  • A. Abe Lincoln was one of the best presidents the United States has ever known.
  • B. Abe Lincoln was an excellent speaker, the 16th President of the United States, a liberator of slaves, and united the North and South at the end of the American Civil War.

Too Wordy

  • Abe Lincoln was an excellent speaker, the 16th President of the United States, a liberator of slaves, and united the North and South at the end of the American Civil War.

A thesis statement should not be too general.

  • Too general
    • Highlands Middle School is a good school.
  • Better
    • Daily writing practice has led to improved writing skills for the students at Highlands Middle School.

Which sentence is too general to be a good thesis statement?

  • A. Music makes people happy.
  • B. Music therapy is useful in relieving stress and other conditions.

A thesis statement should not be a title.

  • A title
    • Cost of Living
  • Better
    • The cost of living in White Plains is higher than in many other cities in the United States.

Which sentence would not be a good thesis statement because it is a title?

  • A. Good teaching has led to an increase in ELA scores at Highlands Middle School.
  • B. Rising ELA Scores at Highlands Middle School.

A Title

  • Rising ELA Scores at Highlands Middle School

A thesis statement should not be a a fact.

  • A fact
    • The average temperature for White Plains in winter is in the 20’s and in summer is in the 80’s.
  • Better
    • The climate in White Plains is ideal for outdoor sports almost all year round.

Which sentence would not be a good thesis statement because it is a fact?

  • A. The recycling of one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours.
  • B. Recycling is one of the most important jobs a person can do to protect our environment.

A Fact

  • The recycling of one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours.

More Practice

Directions: 1) Find the opinion words in the statement. If there are no opinion words, it is not a thesis statement. 2) Tell if the statement is a good thesis statement.

  • Although most people believe otherwise, bats are harmless and highly beneficial.

Directions: 1) Find the opinion words in the statement. If there are no opinion words, it is not a thesis statement. 2) Tell if the statement is a good thesis statement.

  • In this essay I will discuss the crime rate in Mountain City.

Directions: 1) Find the opinion words in the statement. If there are no opinion words, it is not a thesis statement. 2) Tell if the statement is a good thesis statement.

  • Energetic exercise is a good way to help relieve stress.

Writing the Thesis Statement

  • Now take your three main focus points and summarize them. Put your completed thesis statement at the end of your first paragraph.
  • THREE MAIN FOCUS POINTS
  • I believe fast food is harmful because it rapidly increases weight, causes high blood pressure, and leads to lethargy.
  • COMPLETED THESIS STATEMENT
  • I believe fast food has negative health effects.

Thesis and Forecast

  • A thesis statement is always one sentence that states your assertion (belief) about a topic. A thesis statement usually includes a forecast (brief preview of your arguments).
  • (I believe) ____________________ because of argument 1, argument 2, and argument 3.

Which of the following is a good thesis statement?

  • I believe we must stop wasting food now!
  • The problem of food waste can easily be solved by implementing three simple steps: reduce, reuse, recycle.
  • If you aren’t reducing, reusing, and recycling, you should.
  • I believe wasting food is a huge problem. We need to reduce our food waste. For example, make a shopping list before you go to the store, and only buy things you truly need. You shouldn’t buy a gallon of milk if you are only going to drink a quart of it during the week. Who cares if the gallon size is on sale?

Our Introductory Paragraph:

  • Fast Food Is Killing America!
  • Did you know that a typical child needs 2,000 calories for an entire day and Burger King’s Whopper with triple cheese has 1,230 calories? That is far more calories than anyone needs in one day! Fast food consumption has risen 500 percent since 1970 and today reaches nearly every part of society, including some public school cafeterias. Fast food is harmful because it rapidly increases weight, causes high blood pressure, and leads to sluggishness. Fast food is bad for your health!
  • CATCHY TITLE
  • HOOK THE READER
  • THESIS STATEMENT
  • YOUR THREE ARGUMENTS
  • Walsh Publishing Co. 2009

Let’s Practice

Pair Up!

  • With your shoulder partner or teacher assigned partner, read the article “Bag Battle.” As you read, highlight information that could be used to support an argument.
  • Using the graphic organizer supplied by your teacher and your writing folder information on introductions, create an introduction with a hook and well-structured thesis together. Write this in the “My Opinion” section of your map.

Let’s Share!

  • Several pairs will read their introductions to the class to check for accuracy and feedback.

A persuasive essay convinces readers to agree with the writer’s opinion

  • The lead/hook captures the reader’s attention
  • The thesis states the writer’s assertion (belief) about the topic
  • The supporting arguments (logos, pathos, ethos) convince the reader that the thesis is correct
  • Optional counter arguments respond to reader concerns and objections
  • The conclusion restates the thesis (comes back to the point)

Elaboration

  • Elaboration is like the skeletal system of the body. Without it, your paper is just a blob of an idea.

Supporting Arguments

  • Logical Appeal (Logos)—Does the author’s proposal make sense?
  • Ethical Appeal (Ethos)– Is the author’s proposal the right thing to do?
  • Emotional Appeal (Pathos)—Will accepting the author’s proposal make me feel better?

Types of Supporting Arguments

  • Logos—an appeal to logic
  • Often contain expert testimony
  • Often contain statistical information
  • Suggest that the product is the “logical” or “right” choice

Types of Supporting Arguments

  • Ethos-an appeal to do the “right” thing
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncle_Sam http://marvel.com/images/gallery/story/15172/images_from_own_a_piece_of_the_captain_america_movie/image/857368

Types of Supporting Arguments

  • Pathos-an appeal to the emotions
  • http://46664.net/56/aspca-the-american-society-for-the-prevention-of-cruelty-to-animals/

Not all emotional arguments are sad!

  • http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1912454,00.htm lhttp://www.heroestheseries.com/masi-oka-and-hayden-panettiere-got-milk-ads/

Three Supporting Paragraphs:

  • Use each of the main arguments you used in your introductory paragraph and expand on each giving facts and reasons.
  • In our example, you would write one paragraph on how fast food increases weight, one paragraph on how it causes high blood pressure and one on how it leads to sluggishness.
  • Walsh Publishing Co. 2009

You’ll Need to Show “The Other Side…”

  • How many of you have been in a discussion with someone and you remember saying, “Yeah, that’s true, but…” This is called a counter-argument. It’s the “other side” of the argument.
  • You’ll need to tell your reader what the counter-argument is and prove why it shouldn’t matter.
  • Let’s take a look using our example of fast food…

Let’s Practice!

Pair Up!

  • Once again with your shoulder partner or designated partner, look at the information you highlighted earlier. Decide which information supports your position. Then use that information to help you develop three main arguments to elaborate on in regards to your claim.
  • Write each reason in the spaces provided on your map. Make sure your points are completely varied/different than the other to avoid redundancy.

Textual Evidence

  • Now record the textual evidence in the spaces provided that will be used to support the argument for each paragraph
  • Then in the how is it relevant box explain the relevance/connection between the reason and the supporting detail

The Other Side of the Story

  • This is where you should explain why your opposition believes what they believe.
  • For example:
  • “A fast food company wouldn’t agree with the points in this essay. They would have lots of reasons why fast food is good. They may say…”it’s convenient” or “It’s fine if eaten in moderation.” These arguments just don’t hold up when you take all the facts into consideration!
  • Walsh Publishing Co. 2009

Counter Arguments Address Reader Objections

  • Oil companies should not be allowed to drill for oil in Alaska.
  • Schools should make overweight students eat diet meals for school lunch.
  • http://factbank.blogspot.com/2012/05/alaska-facts.html
  • http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/Overweight-in-Children_UCM_304054_Article.jsp

Let’s Practice!

Pair Up!

  • Once again with your shoulder partner or designated partner, look at the information you highlighted earlier. Decide on which one of your points you can turn into a counter claim.
  • Place an check by that reason to remind you to this in the draft.

Conclude or End Your Essay…

  • What makes an good conclusion?
  • Last paragraph summarizes your main point.
  • End using one or more of the following strategies:
        • Call the reader to action
        • Anecdote or scenario
        • Make a Prediction
  • The last paragraph wraps up the writing and gives the reader something to think about.
  • Walsh Publishing Co. 2009

Strategies for Conclusions

  • Call to Action
    • Ask the reader to do something or to make something happen “I challenge you to watch what you eat and to avoid fast food.”
  • Provide a solution
    • Provide an answer to the problem “Fast food doesn’t have to be “bad food.” Make better choices like salads, fruit and low fat treats.”
  • Make a Prediction
    • Explain what might be the consequences of action or inaction “If people continue to eat lots of fast food, they put their health at risk. If kids don’t make better choices today, they won’t grow into healthy adults.”
  • Walsh Publishing Co. 2009

Concluding Paragraph:

  • Restate your thesis.
  • End with…
    • A comment (Don’t make your body suffer!)
    • A question (Are you willing to risk your health?)
    • A call to action (I highly recommend you consider your options the next time your faced with a decision about what to eat.)
  • In closing, it’s important to remember that too much fast food can have negative effects on your health. If not eaten in moderation, you can gain weight, suffer from high blood pressure and become slow and sluggish. Is it worth the risk to your body? Eat Healthy and Make good choices!
  • Walsh Publishing Co. 2009

Conclusion Restate the Thesis and Commentary

  • But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.
  • And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"
  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/16/i-have-a-dream-speech-text-martin-luther-king-jr_n_1207734.html

Let’s Practice!

Pair Up!

  • Once again with your shoulder partner or designated partner, use the strategies discussed to formulate an effective conclusion to your essay.
  • Write your conclusion in the space provided on the map.
  • Also, go back and add transitions over the box for each reason and over the summary box. Use your transition in your writing folder.

Review: The Persuasive Essay:

  • A Catchy Title
  • Introductory paragraph with a “hook”, three main arguments and a thesis statement.
  • One paragraph for each of your
  • three arguments.
  • Address the “counter-argument”
  • Closing paragraph that re-states your thesis and challenges the reader to think about it.
  • Walsh Publishing Co. 2009

Don’t Forget…

  • Make sure to read over your work and edit for mechanics and spelling.
  • Use transitions for fluidity.
  • Write neatly!
  • Include detail and great vocabulary.(strong verbs & vivid adjectives).
  • Follow proper format:
  • Indent between paragraphs, no slang, formal tone.
  • Walsh Publishing Co. 2009

Let’s Review!

What are the purposes of argument writing?

  • To change the reader‘s point of view
  • To bring about some action on the reader’s part
  • To ask the reader to accept the writer’s point of view on a concept, issue, or problem

Argument Essay Model: Should schools stop serving chocolate milk to their students?

    • Schools should keep serving chocolate milk because kids like it, it gives vitamins, and it gets kids in good habits. Many kids are happy to see it in the cafeteria, their lunch boxes, at their kitchen tables. Research shows that, overall, chocolate milk is pretty good for kids.
    • It’s especially important that kids like chocolate milk. It turns out that more kids drink milk, when they can get chocolate milk. When you interview a lot of parents, like Katie Couric did, they’ll say that their kids only drink milk if they can get chocolate milk. So at least they’re drinking milk. In a survey of students in this school, 84% said that they would drink more milk if they had chocolate milk available. Of those same students, 28% said that they wouldn’t drink any milk at all unless it were chocolate.
      • Surprisingly, chocolate milk turns out to have vitamins. A nutritionist from the Dairy Association, demonstrates that chocolate milk is a good source of vitamin A, D, E, and calcium. That’s a lot of vitamins and they’re in something kids actually like to drink! In her information session, the nutritionist is with kids who drink chocolate milk. Their bright teeth and glossy hair illustrates that kids who love chocolate milk will be that healthy.
      • There’s one more reason why chocolate milk should be served in schools. A famous nutritionist argued that chocolate milk has a lot less sugar and carbohydrates than soda and power drinks like Gatorade. So if kids get in the habit of drinking milk in school, then they’ll probably skip the sodas outside of school. The chocolate milk that is served in our school, for instance, is low fat. So it is a lot better for kids than soda.

Counter Claim

      • It’s true that Jamie Oliver, a chef and enemy of chocolate milk, argued that chocolate milk does have added sugar. Jamie is a famous English chef who is involved with lunch for kids in schools in Los Angeles. In a shocking video, Jamie shows a school bus filled with sugar to show how much sugar school kids get from chocolate milk. But there are a lot of school kids in the US, and if you divide that busload up between all the kids, it will not be such a shocking amount. And if you put next to it a bus filled with the vitamins A,D,E and calcium that kids get, the picture might seem very different.

Clearly, schools should keep serving chocolate milk: it gets kids to drink milk, it gives them vitamins, and it builds good habits. Personal insider experience supports this claim. As a seventh grader, this investigator was part of an experiment to ban chocolate milk in his cafeteria. Seventh graders, though, are allowed to go out for lunch. With no chocolate milk, this luncheon seeker started going out for pizza and coke. Gone were all the vitamins and calcium. Jamie Oliver doesn’t necessarily know what happens inside schools. When something is taken away at lunch that is even a little good for students, it’s not always replaced by something better, or worse, anything at all. In fact, the vitamins from chocolate milk may possibly be the only ones some kids get in school lunch. So keep chocolate milk, kids’ main source of vitamins, good habits, and happiness.

    • Clearly, schools should keep serving chocolate milk: it gets kids to drink milk, it gives them vitamins, and it builds good habits. Personal insider experience supports this claim. As a seventh grader, this investigator was part of an experiment to ban chocolate milk in his cafeteria. Seventh graders, though, are allowed to go out for lunch. With no chocolate milk, this luncheon seeker started going out for pizza and coke. Gone were all the vitamins and calcium. Jamie Oliver doesn’t necessarily know what happens inside schools. When something is taken away at lunch that is even a little good for students, it’s not always replaced by something better, or worse, anything at all. In fact, the vitamins from chocolate milk may possibly be the only ones some kids get in school lunch. So keep chocolate milk, kids’ main source of vitamins, good habits, and happiness.

Text Structure of a Persuasive Essay

Audience and Author’s Purpose

  • When writing persuasively, always remember the interaction between the writer and the reader. Specifically,
  • The writer is trying to persuade a reader who may be enthusiastic or resistant or simply disinterested. Therefore,
  • Persuasive writing must be well organized, but it must also hook the reader, and then keep him or her engaged with creative and authentic word choice.


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