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Teaching Argument Writing, Grades 6-12: Supporting Claims with Relevant Evidence and Clear Reasoning [Paperback]

by George Hillocks Jr
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 21, 2011 0325013969 978-0325013961 11 - 17 years

"In this book, George Hillocks teaches us not only what an argument is, but how to teach it and why we should. Essential reading for those preparing ALL students to think critically, write well, and succeed academically in both high school and college."

-Jim Burke, Author of The English Teacher's Companion and What's the Big Idea?

Argument writing can be difficult to teach, but it may be the most important set of skills we teach in English. According to the National Common Core Standards, by the end of high school, students should be able to write arguments to support claims with clear reason and relevant evidence-and they should be able to do so well.

Designed for middle and high school students, the activities in this book will enable students to write strong arguments and evaluate the arguments of others. When they are through, students will be able, as the Common Core Standards ask, to "Delineate and evaluate [an] argument and specific claims...including the validity of the reasoning [and] the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence." Developed by George Hillocks, Jr. and others in diverse inner city classrooms in Chicago, students are easily engaged in the lively problem-solving approach detailed in this book.

Teaching Argument Writing begins with how to teach simple arguments and moves onto those that are more complex, showing step-by-step how to teach students to write and evaluate:

  • arguments of fact
  • arguments of judgment
  • arguments of policy

Student handouts, activities, and models of classroom discussions are provided to help you bring these methods to your classroom. Among other things, Hillocks guides you through teaching your students:

  • how judgments are made in the real world
  • how to make literary judgments based on criteria
  • how to develop and support criteria for arguments.

Frequently Bought Together

Teaching Argument Writing, Grades 6-12: Supporting Claims with Relevant Evidence and Clear Reasoning + Texts and Lessons for Content-Area Reading: With More Than 75 Articles from The New York Times, Rolling Stone, The Washington Post, Car and Driver, Chicago Tribune, and Many Others + Notice and Note: Strategies for Close Reading
Price for all three: $80.42

Buy the selected items together


Editorial Reviews

About the Author

George Hillocks, Jr. is Professor Emeritus, departments of Education and English Language and Literature, The University of Chicago. He and his MAT students have taught writing in Chicago schools for over twenty-five years. In 1997 he won the NCTE David H. Russell award for Distinguished Research in the Teaching of English for the book Teaching Writing as Reflective Practice. In 2004 he received NCTE's Distinguished Service Award. George Hillocks was named the recipient of the 2010 Distinguished Lifetime Researcher Award given by the National Conference on Research in Language and Literacy. George's book Narrative Writing has also just been named the winner of the Richard Meade Award, given by the National Council of Teacher's of English. In 2011, he won NCTE's James R. Squire Award: a special honor given to an NCTE member who has had a transforming influence and has made a lasting intellectual contribution to the profession.

Product Details

  • Age Range: 11 - 17 years
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Heinemann (March 21, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0325013969
  • ISBN-13: 978-0325013961
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 7.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,526 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loaded with Lesson Plans September 4, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you aren't a fan of inquiry yet, this book should do the trick. Hillocks shows how you can use questions, curiosity, and discussion to teach students the finer points of argument. It's no understatement to say that your existing persuasive unit will pale by comparison to goings-on in this book. It's an eye-opener (not to mention a mind-opener!).

Written for Grades 6-12, the book follows a progressively more difficult agenda. Hillocks starts with the basics of argument writing, including "whodunit" cartoons for arguments of fact. Kids scrutinize the drawings of murder scenes and draw conclusions based on visual details, trying their ideas out in group discussions. Such "fun" work is teaching them the relationships between evidence, claims, "warrants" or rules (e.g. "As a rule, when people fall down stairs, they drop what they are carrying to save themselves."), and conclusions. The mystery solving is followed by writing exercises, wherein the conclusions of the students are carefully justified in paragraph form. Hillocks provides a chart to ensure that all elements of good argument writing are logged.

From here, Hillock moves to simple arguments of judgment (he uses examples of what makes a good school mascot and what makes a good leader) and simple arguments of policy (here the students gather data on gum chewing). The latter example is especially good because the students do not simply jump on-line to cut and paste (yes, and sometimes plagiarize) material. Instead, students create their own data by interviewing the principal and custodians on the reasons for forbidding gum on school grounds plus its costs in time and money. They also create a survey to find out why students stick gum under chairs and desks or throw it on the floor. Invested? I guess!
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I recently attended a conference related to the new and upcoming "Common State Core Curriculum." One of the presenters recommended this book, saying that any teacher charged with teaching argument writing should definitely take a look at this book. It was fabulous. In the beginning it clearly outlines the Toulman Model for writing arguments. The author makes a reading/writing connection throughout the book. This book is packed with easy-to-incoporate ideas, starting from the ground up and building from the basics.

Already I have loads of new ideas for how I might better teach this type of writing with my students. It's written in a fashion that will make modifying these ideas to fit my students' needs very easy to do.

I give this book my highest of recommendations.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Teaching Argument Writing December 28, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book for teaching the art of writing argument. I highly recommend it for practical lessons that you can use immediately with your students. It is very effective.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real Argumentation July 11, 2012
Format:Paperback
You only thought you were teaching critical thinking and argumentation before. This book will open your eyes to what you and your students have been missing. Using the models in the book, I was able to create new organizers to fit different themes. The students really had to learn to think critically, and discussions were facilitated by the models. This is one of the best books to help with teaching argumentation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Middle School Classroom January 7, 2014
By Rachel
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm using this approach for my 7th and 8th grade classroom. I like that it covers argument rather than just persuasion and justifies the difference between the two. This aligns with Common Core (and probably any state or local) writing standards. I wish I had more time to read it. It's got great examples, but I really need an outline rather than a lengthy (though helpful) anecdote about how this works in the classroom. I will probably use this in my classroom for many years.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Persuasive writing is not argumental writing December 30, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
When I looked at the CCSS for my English classes, I was concerned to see that students needed to be able to write solid arguments. I had taught persuasive writing, but arguments, no. After reading the book, I know that these two areas are not the same! Argument involves thinking and not just amassing piles of research by others that seems to prove a point. Actual thinking for themselves and reasoning out an issue which can go either way and backing it up with warrants that are in turn backed up or supported is real argument. As pure coincidence (believe it or not) I also bought two of Lawrence Treat's Crime and Puzzlement books and was amazed to find that George Hillocks Jr. uses these in his beginning argument classes! Hillocks's cover states that the book is for grades 6-12, and mostly, I agree. There are some cases discussed that I do not think work for junior high students in my area, but that is not really an issue as he provides plenty of ideas with his other examples and ample fodder for me to create or find my own cases.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good resource and good book club book December 27, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great ideas to start students to think critically - and write. I like the way the author walks the whole class through the activity, then breaks into groups (with groups pre-arranged by teacher) to continue working and ultimately students write their own essays.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Resource August 10, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Argument writing has traditionally been very difficult for most of my students; however, having used this book as a guide during the last week of the school year, they actually improved tremendously. Can't wait to begin this current school year with it!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars This will work.
Because of common core standards, we are focusing more on writing. Our STEM project requires the students write and argumentative essay.
Published 6 months ago by Katherine L. Schaen
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome ideas for teaching argument writing!
The book provides great detailed lessons for teaching argument writing. The lessons are high interest and fun for students. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Wyndi
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
I teach college writing to international students, with some adaptations of material, i can use thesemideas and i believe they will stimulate my group.
Published 8 months ago by Helene Rubinstein
5.0 out of 5 stars Prearing for College!
This source is an excellent product to teach students how to write an argument paper. The lessons in this resource push students to write more serious pieces and to enjoy the art... Read more
Published 9 months ago by conductor
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Source
From cover to cover, this book is packed with suggestions and applications for the teaching of argument writing on the middle and upper levels. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Achowalogen Tullier
4.0 out of 5 stars Will help my students learn how to defend their opinions and writing.
With our new Value Added Method for evaluating teachers, one thing that we have to do is to get our students to take information from one or more sources and create an answer and... Read more
Published 12 months ago by A. Berthelot
3.0 out of 5 stars Not all lessons are appropriate
I appreciate the logic and organization of the lessons. The author provides specific and detailed examples that make it easy to customize lesson plans. Read more
Published 12 months ago by teach751
5.0 out of 5 stars Great resources for Common Core
Great resource for Common Core to teach argument at middle school or high school. The author seems very knowledgeable about the topic - great job.
Published 13 months ago by Brenda
4.0 out of 5 stars Argument instead of Persuasive in Middle Schools
Middle schools are now teaching argumentative essays instead of persuasive and kids are having a difficult time adjusting. I ordered this book so help me with the conversion. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Elizabeth Freed
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