As they plan their writing, historians and social scientists consider how to convince an audience of their argument using evidence and reasoning. The Planning Graphic Organizer supports students as they move from talking about their ideas to making choices, organizing their thinking, and preparing the components of written argument. The Planning Graphic Organizer tool reminds students of the components an argument needs to include in order to present and communicate the ideas they have developed. Each of the argument tasks supported by Read.Inquire.Write. has a different overall organization related to the particular goals of that task, but all involve claims, evidence, and reasoning. The different forms of the Planning Graphic Organizer provide a structure for argument writing and a place to develop notes about what the student will write for each component of the argument. It serves as a support when students move ahead to write their full drafts, and should be treated as a place to take brief notes rather than as a place to write rough drafts or complete sentences. Using prompting questions, the Planning Graphic Organizer helps students to lay out key aspects of argument, including their claims, evidence, reasoning, and response to counterarguments.
Planning Graphic Organizers that support Counterargument prompt students to identify, select, and note their claims, evidence, reasoning, counterpoint, counterevidence, and critique of the counterpoint/counterevidence. This tool helps students make choices and organize their ideas while remembering the key components of argument. For example, the prompt to support students in identifying their claim for the Reconstruction investigation asks, "Was Reconstruction mostly a story or triumph or tragedy?" To prompt students to recognize a counterpoint, the Planning Graphic Organizer asks, "What's a different perspective about Reconstruction that challenges your point?" Then students are prompted to share details, quotations, or information from the sources that support the counterpoint. Finally, students are prompted to critique the counterpoint and counterevidence. The Planning Graphic Organizer is formatted to highlight each component of the argument to be developed and provide students with suggestions for constructing a coherent argument.
The Planning Graphic Organizer is typically used on the fourth or fifth day of the investigation before students compose their essays, but after they have participated in a Weigh the Evidence discussion and examined the writing assignment, Mentor Text, and Useful Language list. At that point, students are ready to decide what arguments they will make. Teachers typically copy the Planning Graphic Organizer on a separate piece of paper, so that students can flip between sources, Weigh the Evidence notes, the Mentor Text, and the Useful Language list as they construct their arguments and identify ways to express them. By giving students some time to organize their thinking and remember the key components of argument, the Planning Graphic Organizer leads to more coherent writing. Students should spend their planning time thinking, making decisions, and taking brief notes rather than writing out complete sentences.
Completed Planning Graphic Organizer, Counterargument, Investigation #4