A Creative Spin on Argument Writing

No matter which standards you are currently in alignment with, argument writing is an incredibly important mainstay of English curricula. Arguments can take many forms, and sometimes it is fun to mix up the writing assignments to inspire students to use their creativity and have a little fun!

A few years ago, I came across this article in the New Yorker that described a couple’s first dinner as a recipe. I thought it was an interesting social commentary that teenagers could easily relate to (even though the article is geared toward young adults). So, I decided to mix up the argument writing for the week to include an assignment modeled after this article. We read the article together and discussed the elements of style, content, and convention that were employed as well as the arguments, both explicit and implicit. 

A couple of the reasons I liked this assignment were:

  • It allowed students to read a relevant professional model of interesting prose.
  • It engaged students in a creative (dare I say fun) writing assignment.
  •  It still covered some standards that I am always working on (namely CCS 9-12 Writing.1 A, C, D)
    • Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
    • Introduce precise, knowledgeable claim(s), establish the significance of the claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that logically sequences claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
    • Use words, phrases, clauses, and varied syntax to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships between claim(s) and reasons, between reasons and evidence, and between claim(s) and counterclaims.
    • Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline they are writing.

The Prompt:

Write a social commentary that takes the form of a process. 

Teacher Note:

We extensively brainstormed social issues/situations and process writing forms in class. Social issues included family dynamics/sibling rivalries, report card season, smartphone use, sports team/club/group hierarchies, college applications, and other topics. 

Processes included: writing a recipe, giving directions, giving a formal invitation, and proctoring a test, among other ideas.

Would you use this assignment in your class? What other creative ways do you teach argument writing? We’d love to hear from you in the comment section below!

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