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March 31, 2021
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March 31, 2021

Double-Source In-Class Essay: Argument

Purpose:

In completing this assignment, students practice writing a well-developed, collegiate-level argument essay with a counter-argument and refutation.Students will also continue to practice essential reading and writing strategies: annotating, summarizing, incorporating quoted passages to support an argument, documenting quotes in MLA format, choosing precise words, including vivid details, and creating smooth transitions.In addition to practicing such skills, students will closely examine and develop an opinion about a topic related to the arts and culture in San Diego: graffiti as street art or gentrification.

Description of the Assignment:

For this assignment, turn in a collegiate-level argument essay documented in MLA format.In the introduction, begin with a hook, provide background information about the topic, and lead into the thesis—your argument about your chosen topic.Be sure to include at least two well-developed paragraphs supporting your argument and another paragraph in which you provide a well-explained counter-argument and convincing evidence to refute it.In all body paragraphs, include an average of three quoted passages or documented summaries from the texts provided in class.In the conclusion, remind readers of your argument and leave them thinking about the subject.
Prompt:
Considering the topics covered in our readings related to graffiti as street art and gentrification or urban areas, choose one and form an opinion about it.Then, employing the writing strategies and skills discussed and practiced in class, write a collegiate-level argument essay about your chosen topic.
In your argument, be sure to:

Include a thesis statement identifying your position on the topic. To develop your thesis, provide clear topic sentences/sub-claims/reasons.
Support your argument with evidence of and analysis from the provided texts, using correct MLA format for citations.
Address and respond to a counter-argument in your essay.

Directions:

Read and annotate the articles assigned as readings for class. (Be prepared to turn in your annotations for five (5) Preliminary Work points.)
Create an outline with the thesis, topic sentences, general statements of support (SOSs), transitions, and quoted/summarized passages to support the SOSs.The Outline is worth 10 Preliminary Work points.
Students may bring a rudimentary outline with ONLY the information listed above.
Be sure to include at least two well-developed paragraphs supporting your argument and another paragraph in which you provide a well-explained counter-argument and convincing evidence to refute it.In all body paragraphs, include an average of three quoted passages or documented summaries from the texts provided in class.Use MLA format to document your sources.
When writing, do so in pencil, SKIP LINES, and leave 1” margins throughout.
Extra credit points will be assigned to highlighted and effectively used rhetorical devices:
___ One example of purposeful alliteration
___ A creative comparison: a simile or metaphor
___ At least five sensory details/descriptive words
___ At least five action verbs
___ Dialogue or monologue to illustrate a point (this is different from quoted material from an outside text)
___ Short powerful sentence
___ Rhetorical question
___ Proper nouns—names, places, products
___ Purposeful repetition
Conclude your paper by reminding readers of your argument and leaving them thinking about the subject. Consider ending with a call to action.
Before submitting your work, highlight and label the following:
___ thesis statement
___ topic sentences
___ statements of support
___ counter-argument
___ rhetorical devices (see list above)
Note that up to five (5) Preliminary Work points are assigned for careful editing (in pen) of your work in class before submitting your final draft for a grade.
Slip the Instructor Evaluation Form (the final page of this packet), annotated articles, and your outline into your Blue Book before submitting your in-class essay for a grade.
Required Work—When preparing for the assignment, include the following:
___ An engaging hook
___ An introduction to the topic of the essay
___ A clear thesis statement, stating your argument and preparing the reader for the content of the essay
___ In body paragraphs that support your argument . . .
___ Clear topic sentence (highlighted)
___ General statements of support (highlighted)
___ Context to help set the stage for the quoted passage or summary
___ Signal phrase(s) to introduce new source(s) to the reader
___ An average of three quoted passages or documented summaries to support the topic sentence of the paragraph
___ An explanation of every quoted passage, relating how it helps support your argument in the topic sentence of the paragraph and/or the thesis of the essay
___ In the body paragraph that addresses the counter-argument
___ Clear topic sentence
___ Quoted or summarized passages to illustrate the counter-argument and refutation
___ Clear general statements of support to lead readers from point to point
___ Context provided to set the scene for the quoted or summarized passages
___ Signal phrase(s) to introduce new source(s) to the reader
___ Introductions to quoted or summarized passages
___ Quoted and summarized passages properly documented in MLA format
___ Explanations of the quoted or summarized passages and how they illustrate the counter-argument and refutation
___ Transitions that guide readers smoothly from point to point
___ Concluding sentences in all body paragraphs
___ A combination of transitional words and phrases to move readers from paragraph to paragraph and from point to point
___ A relevant conclusion that restates your argument and leaves the reader thinking about the topic

Counterargument
from the Harvard Writing Center
When you write an academic essay, you make an argument: you propose a thesis and offer some reasoning, using evidence, that suggests why the thesis is true. When you counter-argue, you consider a possible argument against your thesis or some aspect of your reasoning. This is a good way to test your ideas when drafting, while you still have time to revise them. And in the finished essay, it can be a persuasive and (in both senses of the word) disarming tactic. It allows you to anticipate doubts and pre-empt objections that a skeptical reader might have; it presents you as the kind of person who weighs alternatives before arguing for one, who confronts difficulties instead of sweeping them under the rug, who is more interested in discovering the truth than winning a point.
Not every objection is worth entertaining, of course, and you shouldn’t include one just to include one. But some imagining of other views, or of resistance to one’s own, occurs in most good essays. And instructors are glad to encounter counterargument in student papers, even if they haven’t specifically asked for it.
The Turn Against
Counterargument in an essay has two stages: you turn against your argument to challenge it and then you turn back to re-affirm it. You first imagine a skeptical reader, or cite an actual source, who might resist your argument by pointing out

a problem with your demonstration, e.g., that a different conclusion could be drawn from the same facts, a key assumption is unwarranted, a key term is used unfairly, certain evidence is ignored or played down;
one or more disadvantages or practical drawbacks to what you propose;
an alternative explanation or proposal that makes more sense.

You introduce this turn against with a phrase like One might object here that… or It might seem that… or It’s true that… or Admittedly,… or Of course,… or with an anticipated challenging question: But how…? or But why…? or But isn’t this just…? or But if this is so, what about…? Then you state the case against yourself as briefly but as clearly and forcefully as you can, pointing to evidence where possible. (An obviously feeble or perfunctory counterargument does more harm than good.)

The Turn Back
Your return to your own argument—which you announce with a but, yet, however, nevertheless or still—must likewise involve careful reasoning, not a flippant (or nervous) dismissal. In reasoning about the proposed counterargument, you may

refute it, showing why it is mistaken—an apparent but not real problem;
acknowledge its validity or plausibility, but suggest why on balance it’s relatively less important or less likely than what you propose, and thus doesn’t overturn it;
concede its force and complicate your idea accordingly—restate your thesis in a more exact, qualified, or nuanced way that takes account of the objection, or start a new section in which you consider your topic in light of it. This will work if the counterargument concerns only an aspect of your argument; if it undermines your whole case, you need a new thesis.

Where to Put a Counterargument
Counterargument can appear anywhere in the essay, but it most commonly appears

as part of your introduction—before you propose your thesis—where the existence of a different view is the motive for your essay, the reason it needs writing;
as a section or paragraph just after your introduction, in which you lay out the expected reaction or standard position before turning away to develop your own;
as a quick move within a paragraph, where you imagine a counterargument not to your main idea but to the sub-idea that the paragraph is arguing or is about to argue;
as a section or paragraph just before the conclusion of your essay, in which you imagine what someone might object to what you have argued.

But watch that you don’t overdo it. A turn into counterargument here and there will sharpen and energize your essay, but too many such turns will have the reverse effect by obscuring your main idea or suggesting that you’re ambivalent.
Counterargument in Pre-Writing and Revising
Good thinking constantly questions itself, as Socrates observed long ago. But at some point in the process of composing an essay, you need to switch off the questioning in your head and make a case. Having such an inner conversation during the drafting stage, however, can help you settle on a case worth making. As you consider possible theses and begin to work on your draft, ask yourself how an intelligent person might plausibly disagree with you or see matters differently. When you can imagine an intelligent disagreement, you have an arguable idea.
And, of course, the disagreeing reader doesn’t need to be in your head: if, as you’re starting work on an essay, you ask a few people around you what they think of topic X (or of your idea about X) and keep alert for uncongenial remarks in class discussion and in assigned readings, you’ll encounter a useful disagreement somewhere. Awareness of this disagreement, however you use it in your essay, will force you to sharpen your own thinking as you compose. If you come to find the counterargument truer than your thesis, consider making it your thesis and turning your original thesis into a counterargument. If you manage to draft an essay without imagining a counterargument, make yourself imagine one before you revise and see if you can integrate it.

.

Name: ________________________________
Essay Score: ___/100 Preliminary Work Score: ___/20
_____ /5 Annotating
_____ /10Outline
_____ /5Proofreading/editing in pen

Instructor Evaluation Form–Double-Source Essay
Introduction
___ Creative title
___ Hook
___ Background information about the paper’s topic
___ Clear thesis statement
___ Transitions that guide readers smoothly from point to point
Body Paragraphs supporting your argument
___ Clear topic sentence
___ Clear general statements of support to lead readers from point to point
___ Signal phrase(s) to introduce new source(s) to the reader
___ Context provided to set the scene for the quoted passages
___ Introductions to quoted passages
___ Relevant quotations to support the paragraph’s main idea
___ Average of three quoted passages
___ Quoted passages properly documented in MLA format
___ Explanations of the quoted passages, relating them back to the topic sentence or thesis
___ Transitional words and phrases that guide readers smoothly from point to point
Body Paragraph with counter-argument
___ Clear topic sentence
___ Quoted or summarized passages to illustrate the counter-argument and refutation
___ Clear general statements of support to lead readers from point to point
___ Context provided to set the scene for the quoted or summarized passages
___ Signal phrase(s) to introduce new source(s) to the reader
___ Introductions to quoted or summarized passages
___ Quoted and summarized passages properly documented in MLA format
___ Explanations of the quoted or summarized passages and how they illustrate the counter-argument and refutation
___ Transitional words and phrases that guide readers smoothly from point to point
___ Rhetorical Devices to strengthen writing
Simile and/or metaphorShort powerful sentences
Personal examplesSensory details
Dialogue or monologueRhetorical question
Proper nouns—names, places, productsPurposeful repetition
Alliteration
Conclusion
___ Effective conclusion leaving readers thinking about the student’s argument and the general topic and possibly ending with a “call to action”

The following errors were noted:
___ fragments (BS 119)
___ run-ons (comma splices / fused sentences) (BS 120)
___ repetition of words
___ absolutes
___ slang, clichés
___ inappropriate use of the word “you”
___ lack of collegiate-level diction
___ use of ineffective words “really,” “thing,” “nice,” and “good, ” and “great”
___ capitalization errors (BS 99)
___ apostrophe errors (BS 89-90)
___ semicolon errors (BS 79)
___ comma errors (Comma Rules: 1234567891011) (BS 73-74)
___ excessive spelling errors
___ lack of careful proofreading / awkward wording
___ improper use of quotation marks around quoted words, phrases, and sentences
___ shifting verb tenses
___ problems with agreement
___ subject/verb agreement (BS 105-106)
___ pronoun agreement (BS 109-110)
___ parallelism (BS 113)
___ point of view
___ incorrect MLA format

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