Convince Me! Argumentative Writing

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Convince Me!

Argumentative Writing

Language Arts 8


Assignment Overview
Identify an issue that you feel strongly about, establish a position on that issue, research that issue, and present a well-supported argument (via a 2-4 page argumentative essay) convincing your audience of your position in an articulate and professional manner. Once this is complete, you will also deliver a persuasive speech with a visual aid. I know you can all do this successfully!
Step One: Identify the Issue
In order to do this assignment successfully, you must identify an issue that you feel strongly about. Be sure to select something that is of interest to you so that you will stay engaged throughout the assignment! *You may NOT use your debate topic!
Some topic suggestions to get the brain working:

Textbooks vs. tablets in schools

Year-round school

Animal testing


Social networks and young adults

Driving age

Voting age

Alternative energy vs. fossil fuels

Fracking (hydraulic fracturing)

Immigration reform

NSA wiretapping
Climate change

Video games and violence

Concealed carry laws

Step Two: Establish your Position
Now that you have an issue, what is your POSITION on that issue? Write a clear position statement to guide your research and writing. Ask yourself How do I feel about this issue? And Why do I feel this way?

To build your position statement, start with your opinion and follow up with several reasons that support that opinion. When you write your essay, these reasons will each serve as the main idea for a support paragraph!



Metal detectors are not needed in our school (this is the opinion) because our school is in a safe community, they may cause more problems than they prevent, and there are better possible solutions (these are the reasons).
Schools should require all students to wear uniforms because they are more cost-effective for families, eliminate students’ stress caused by social pressures to wear the “right” brands, and reduce behavior issues that result from dress code violations.


MY OPINION IS: ________________________________________________________


  1. ______________________________________________________________

  1. ______________________________________________________________

  1. ______________________________________________________________

SO MY POSITION STATEMENT* IS (Opinion + Reasons in ONE sentence):

*If you are having trouble coming up with reasons, that’s OK! You will come up with more support reasons as you gather your research. You may even change your position statement to reflect these new reasons! That’s OK! It’s a work in progress!

Step Three: Gather your Research
Now that you have your position statement, it’s time to gather research to adequately support your position. Remember, without this researched support, your essay is just full of opinions. Opinions aren’t enough for a formal academic essay!
Questions to ask yourself before you research:

What do I already know about my issue?

What information do I want to know?

What are some resources I can use to find out more information?

Step Four: Plan your Essay
Before you actually type a first draft, it’s important to mock up an outline of what your essay should look like. If you write an effective outline, the rough draft will be a breeze!
Suggested outline format:

  1. Introduction Paragraph

    1. Open with a striking image or other attention grabber.

    2. Present your POSITION statement.

  1. Body Paragraph 1: REASON #1

    1. Start with a topic sentence that clearly states your first supporting argument

    2. Give details and evidence to back up that argument

    3. End with a closing sentence

  2. Body Paragraph 2: REASON #2

    1. Start with a topic sentence that clearly states your second supporting argument

    2. Give details and evidence to back up that argument

    3. End with a closing sentence

  3. Body Paragraph 3: REASON #3

    1. Start with a topic sentence that clearly states your third supporting argument

    2. Give details and evidence to back up that argument

    3. End with a closing sentence

  4. Counter Argument Paragraph

    1. Address the opposition (the opposite point of view)

    2. Point to several arguments the OPPOSITION would make, then squash them!

    3. End with a closing sentence

  5. Conclusion Paragraph

    1. Summarize your arguments.

    2. Restate your focus statement

    3. Close with a memorable image, brief story, or phrase.

*You may have additional support paragraphs! Each support paragraph should focus on one specific supporting argument, providing evidence to back it up.

Step Five: Write your Essay
Using the outline you have already written, type a first draft of your persuasive essay.
Keep the following requirements in mind:

  • 2-4 pages (not including your bibliography) typed, double spaced,

  • 12 pt. Times New Roman font (including your title, name, and bibliography)

  • Leave 1” margins

  • Your bibliography/works cited page will be in proper MLA format and should include a minimum of three sources. (If there is no bibliography, essay is automatically considered plagiarized and will be given NO CREDIT)

Step Six: Present your Argument to the Class
Now that you’ve done extensive research on your position and crafted a professional, well-supported persuasive essay, it is time to see just how convincing you are. You will present your essay/speech to the class using a Google Slides visual aid.
Google Slides Visual Aid Guidelines:

  • There should be at least one slide per essay paragraph

  • Slides should each contain a minimum of a title and an image

  • All slides should have a consistent design

  • Slides should be visually appealing

  • Slides should enhance the presentation, not distract the audience

Public Speaking Skills Reminders:

  • Deliver your speech without READING it directly. That means don’t bury your face in your speech! Notecards are a GREAT tool for presentations!

  • Make eye contact

  • Exhibit good posture

  • Project your voice at an appropriate volume and pace, using inflection to highlight appropriate parts of your speech.

  • Um… um… um… um… um… Annoying? Imagine having to listen to that! Be confident!

  • Don’t dance around, shift from foot to foot, play with your hair, chew gum, put your hands in your pocket, or do anything else that distracts from your speech!

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