Common Core: Teaching Argument & Informational Paragraph Writing

Each school year I begin with “writing boot camp” where we focus on the fundamentals of writing. I have transitioned to the Common Core Standards and developed flipped writing videos and complementary writing templates to help students learn how to write strong argument and informative paragraphs. I wanted to share these with teachers who might be able to use them and save time!

Argument Paragraph

I present my writing instruction online, so students can do the actual writing in class. Then I can circulate around the room answering questions and providing one-on-one support as they write. Students who need extra help can also revisit these videos throughout the year. Flipping instruction is ideal for allowing students to digest information at their own pace to improve comprehension and retention. It also creates much needed time and space in the physical classroom for practice, hands on activities and collaboration.

I also create writing templates with “View only” Google documents. Students log into their gmail, click on the template link, go to “File” and click “Make a copy.” Then the template is automatically saved in their Google drive. (Note: To make a copy of these templates below, you should follow the same process.)

Screen shot 2013-08-07 at 1.01.36 PM

Click on this image to access the template.

 

Informative Paragraph

Screen shot 2013-08-07 at 1.12.45 PM

Click on this image to access the template.

Argument and informational paragraph structures have several similarities. It is helpful to point out those similarities for students. I use this side-by-side chart to visually displays the similarities and differences between these two types of paragraphs.

Screen shot 2013-08-07 at 1.29.10 PM

Hopefully, these strategies will spark ideas for how other English, history and science teachers can support students in writing both argument and informational paragraphs. Once students are able to write strong paragraphs, then they can build on those paragraphs to produce longer process pieces.

If you have strategies for teaching writing that have been successful for you, please share them! I love learning from what other educators are doing in their classrooms.

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14 Responses to Common Core: Teaching Argument & Informational Paragraph Writing

  1. Pingback: Common Core: Teaching Argument & Informational… | EducatorAl's Tweets

  2. Lisa says:

    Great explanation on flipped instruction. Wonderful resources on writing! Thanks!

  3. Thanks for sharing these Google Docs and videos. I teach 5th grade and will simplify your Docs a bit for our students, but will also show them your original template so they will know where they are likely headed in high school.

  4. Lori McMullen says:

    This is great information and “dove-tails” right into my Language Arts curriculum. I’ve already shared it with my PLC and can hardly wait to use it with my students. Thanks!

  5. J Symonds says:

    These are great – I am just starting to try “flipping” and these will be very helpful! Thanks!

  6. Lin says:

    Thanks for creating and sharing these great resources! Ill be sharing with some teaching staff Im working with to build capacity in literacy in the content areas.

  7. Leslie T says:

    Hello,

    I teach 8th grade in CO and came across your website. I am teaching honors for the first time and although I have a book to go off of, this was a nice alternative and new ideas. I went to Windsor High and graduated in 04. I was in the AP core but didn’t come to the HS until Junior Year which possibly explains why I didn’t have you. Anyways, thanks for the info! I am going to pretty much teach it as is.

    • Hi Leslie,

      Small world! I am just about to begin my 12th year at Windsor High, so I was definitely here when you graduated. I’m glad to the information on my website was useful in the work you are doing.

      Have a great school year!

      Catlin

  8. Johanna says:

    I love this and I’m going to do something similar with my 9th graders and do the flipped classroom style.

    We really stress including an introduction to the quotation at my school, i.e. providing some context before just plopping the quote down there as the second sentence. MLA style doesn’t support what I refer to as “floating quotes.” At our school, we’ve been teaching a body paragraph format called PIQR (Point, Introduce, Quote, Restate/Respond/React/Relate to thesis.) Obviously, this can be expanded to PIQRIQR as necessary.

    • Hi Johanna,

      I published a YouTube video titled “Introducing Your Quotes” that I use to teach students strategies for introducing quotes. They watched it and took Cornell notes for homework. Then we edited their summer assignments adding quote introductions in the classroom where I could support them as they worked.

      Catlin

  9. Tania says:

    Thanks for great resources. I’m going to use your argument writing tutorial with my 7th grade life science students. They’ll be constructing arguments about GMOs.

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