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In the end, this genre study approach might not seem that drastically different than the more traditional teacher-directed five paragraph lesson approach.
After all, both are filled with discussion of theses, hooks, quotes, and topic sentences.
We then end the study by thinking through a variety of hypothetical arguments and discussing how to best structure each to meet the audience and purpose, and this leads directly into the students writing their own essays where the approach and structure are entirely up to them.
They can build up to an argument at the end, state the thesis directly in the first line, begin with an anecdote, or even use the five-paragraph form, if they deem it the most effective way to organize the argument.
This requires students to think about argumentation at the deepest level –the transfer level– and introduces the idea that arguments can come in lots of shapes and sizes.
From there we move on to looking at mentor texts of different ways to approach argumentation.
There is a wonderful treasure trove from Moving Writers here, but I often just pull them off of op-ed pages.
As we read each, we identify how each writer uses the key elements of argumentation that we discuss early in the unit (things like establishing credibility or thoughtfully using evidence to strengthen your points).