Lesson Plan

Introducing Argumentative Writing: Toulmin Model

Students will read and write a letter to the editor identifying & crafting: a claim, evidence, warrants, backing, & rebuttals.
Rae O.
Co-Director UC Merced Writing Project
Show More
My Grades 9, 10, 11, 12
My Subjects English Language Arts
Objectives

Students will be able to...

  • Name and explain the purpose of the six parts of the Toulmin model for argumentation;
  • Do an initial read of a letter to the editor;
  • Do a second close read of the letter locating the claim;
  • Do a third close read of the letter indentifying the evidence;
  • Do a fourth close read of the letter identifying the warrants
  • Do a fifth close read of the letter identifying the backing;
  • Do a sixth close read of the letter identifying the rebuttal;
  • Choose a topic on which to write a letter to the editor;
  • Collect data on the topic;
  • Analyze the data;
  • Ask a question that arises from the data;
  • Warrant the data to a possible answer to the question;
  • Write a claim;
  • Choose relevant data for evidence;
  • Research backing for their warrants;
  • Address counter claims in a rebuttal.
Subjects
English Language Arts
Grades 6 - 12
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

  • Show the youtube video The Unique Circus Tricks Performed by the Animals & Artists Amazed the Moscow Public.
  • After watching the video, ask students whether they believe circuses should have animal acts as entertainment?
  • After students have responded to the initial question using socrative, show the youtube video Circus Animal Cruelty: Abuse or Entertainment?
  • After watching the second video, ask students again whether they believe circuses should have animal acts as entertainment?
  • Ask students whether their response to the question changed after watching the second video?
  • Ask students what might have changed their opinions about the topic?  If their opinions were not changed, ask students what supported their first response?
Student Instructions
  • Watch video of circus acts.
  • Respond to the question using socrative.
  • Watch video on circus animal abuse.
  • Respond to the question using socrative.
  • Discuss any differences between the first response to the question and the second response to the question.
  • Discuss what changed your opinion about the topic. If your opinion was not changed, what supported your first response?

2 Direct Instruction

PowToon
Free, Paid
Google Drive
Free, Paid
Evernote
Free, Paid
Student Instructions
  • Watch the video Toulmin Model of Argumentation (created in Pow Toon) taking notes in Evernote or Google Drive on the different parts of an argument using the Toulmin Model. Notes will be for your reference as we proceed through the instruction for writing an argument.
  • Watch the youtube videos demonstrating Toulmin Model of Argumentation in practice:  Toulmin's Model of Argumentation-Legalizing Marijuana; Toulmin Model-Dr. Drew on Charlie Sheen.

3 Guided Practice

Evernote
Free, Paid
Google Drive
Free, Paid
PowToon
Free, Paid
Student Instructions
  • Take notes on the handout Letter to the Editor. Identify the parts of the arguments as presented in the video.
  • Watch the video Letter to the Editor-Entertainment or Abuse (created in Pow Toon) taking notes on the examples of the different parts of an argument following the Toulmin Model.  Notes will be for your reference as you write your own Letter to the Editor argument.
  • Identify the parts of an argument in the second body paragraph of the Letter to the Editor.

4 Independent Practice

Tell students to . . .

  • Choose a topic or issue of interest to you;
  • Research your topic or issue collecting data;
  • Develop a question that arises from the data;
  • Warrant your data to your question;
  • Add qualifiers to your claim and warrants;
  • Select relevant data for your evidence;
  • Answer your question in a claim;
  • Research expert opinion on your topic or issue to use as backing (or take this information from the data you collected earlier);
  • Antilcipate counter arguments for your claim (look at your data list for some ideas);
  • Refute the counter argument(s);
  • Apply your knowledge of the Toulmin Model of Argumentation when writing your Letter to the Editor.
Student Instructions
  • After studying the Toulmin Model of argumentation and examining examples of arguments using this model, choose a topic or issue of interest to you and write a letter to the editor laying out your argument by stating a claim, selecting and using relevant data as evidence, warranting your evidence to your claim, adding qualifiers to your claim and warrants as needed, backing your warrants as necessary, and providing a rebuttal (counter argument/s and refutation of counter argument/s.) Compose your letter in Google Drive using appropriate business letter format (Purdue OWL.) 

5 Wrap-up

Evernote
Free, Paid

Tell students to . . .

  • Test their claims going to the site Grounds for Argument.;
  • Exchange papers. Readers evaluate the writer's argument based on a list of questions.
  • Write a Thank You Note to the writer using Evernote.
  • Email Evernote Thank Yous to the writers.
Student Instructions
  • Test your claim on the Grounds for Argument site.
  • Evaluate another student's writing based on the follwoing questions:
  1. Does the writing develop an argumentative claim?
  2. Does the writing identify and refute opposing arguments?
  3. Does the wrting support the claim and assertions with relevant evidence?
  4. Does the writing provide the reader with enough background information?
  5. Does the writing present points clearly and logically?
  • Write a Thank You Note using Evernote to the writer of the paper you evaluate.  Include the following:
  1. What did you like about the writing (be specific and use examples)?
  2. Give the writer one suggestion to improve their argument.
  3. Tell the writer what they must absolutely keep in their writing because it works well (be specific.)
  • Email your Evernote Thank You to the writer.