Design Guide - Identifying & Using Evidence in Persuasive Writing
Designers for Learning - Adult Learning Zone
Table of Contents
Part 1: Lesson Description
Identifying & Using Evidence in Persuasive Writing
The learner audience for this lesson are adults preparing for the GED, specifically the English/Language Arts portion. The lesson introduces “evidence” as a necessary support for claims in a persuasive essay, or argument. It demonstrates what the relationship between words and ideas in a claim should be to the key ideas in a passage, or passages, cited in support of a claim. Learners practice using evidence to support a claim about the role of motivation and procrastination in their own lives, then find at least one piece of evidence from an article on that topic.
Learner Audience / Primary Users
Audience is adults who have not finished high school. Many adult learners have had wrong turns and setbacks moving forward in their lives. They’ve frequently found little validation in academic settings, which means they’re on their own in terms of motivation. If they can figure out how to cultivate new habits and mindsets regarding short-term and long-term goals, it should be a big step in the right direction. The psychology topic embedded in this lesson is intended to support their efforts, while also teaching a necessary writing skill. Although learner backgrounds and personal histories vary widely, users’ willingness to work toward a GED sets them apart from peers who never take that step. Adult learners need to sense respect for their life knowledge and maturity, so scaffolding has to be thoughtfully designed to provide sufficient help, without appearing to condescend.
Curriculum / Instruction
College & Career Readiness Standards (CCRS) Alignment
- Level: Adult Education
- Grade Level: E (9-12)
- Subject: English/Language Arts
- Strand: Reading and Writing
- Standard Description:
(Reading) CCR Anchor 1: Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly, as well as inferences drawn from the text.
(Writing) CCR Anchor 9: Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection and research.
- Instructional Material
- Readings and Guided Practice
The purpose of this lesson is for learners to be able to:
- Explain the purpose of evidence in support of an argument, opinion, or claim
- Identify various types of evidence within a document, or other source (i.e., expert opinion, statistics, report, personal anecdote, etc.)
- Identify evidence that is relevant to a claim
- Independently identify, and use, evidence from a document in support of an argument, opinion, or claim
- Designers for Learning
- Adult Education
- Writing, evidence, claims, informational texts
Time Required for Lesson
- Ability to read fiction/non-fiction text(s) at a 9th-grade level
- Understanding of how to identify main topics/sub-topics in a text
- Ability to distinguish facts vs. opinions
- Understanding of “argument”, as used in persuasive writing
Internet, in order to access the Open Author online lesson and web page links. Alternative: The ability to download, and/or print articles and worksheet for learner use offline.
Lesson Author & License
- Lesson Author: Sharon Minnoch
- License: Creative Commons CC BY 4.0 license
Part 2: Lesson
By the end of this lesson, the learner should be able to:
- Identify evidence (within a document) that is relevant to a specific claim, argument, or opinion
- Explain evidence in own words (paraphrase)
- Describe how evidence effectively supports a stated claim
- Write a short paragraph stating a claim in in their own words, then connect that claim to a quote (from the article provided) to support it using sample phrases.
Key topics covered in this lesson include:
What really helps people change their habits? Learners read: “The Psychological Origins of Procrastination - and How We Can Stop Putting Things Off”. The article serves, then, as a source of evidence for what does, or does not work, whichever position matches the claim statement learners devise, based on their own experience.
Writing to persuade others is most effective when the author uses “evidence” from real events (personal stories), quotes experts’ opinions, or statistics, from reliable sources (reputable newspapers/magazines, authors with a background in the field, government/, industry studies and surveys, etc.).
Relevance to Practice
This lesson serves two purposes:
1) Exploring a topic that helps learners reflect on how well they are able to “drive” their own productivity, and
2) Demonstrating how evidence supports an argument, then providing practice in the use of evidence.
Productivity and self-motivation are important factors for education and career success. Self-knowledge is a first step in achieving more personal success. The ability to cite evidence effectively is an important English/Language Arts skill, and part of the CCRS standards and GED test. It’s also important to work situations. Examples: a) “x” is not shipping correctly, because “y” information (evidence) isn’t being recorded correctly, or b) this report excerpt (evidence) explains the desired outcome of “x”. The ability to successfully explain “evidence of experience, or skill, that matches a job description may mean the difference between being hired, or not.
Key Terms and Concepts
Argument / Persuasive Writing
Instructional Strategies and Activities
Time: 2 minutes
Evidence (Definition: The available body of facts of information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid)
Learners are asked to recall how “evidence” is used in a courtroom to attempt to prove that someone is guilty, or innocent, of a crime. Suggest they then consider an argument they may have had over politics, the needs of their neighborhood, climate change, or any controversial topic. Ask whether they felt they could cite good evidence for their “side,” or struggled instead to make a convincing case. Finally, discuss how the ability to find, understand, and use reliable, relevant evidence can be one of the best ways for a speaker, or writer, to gain respect, and even admiration.
Time: 1 minute
This lesson is about using evidence found in written documents, like news articles, or other informational text” to support an argument, opinion, or claim.
Presentation / Modeling / Demonstration
Time: 3 minutes
- View a claim statement, with key concepts or phrases highlighted
- View an article excerpt on the topic referenced in the claim
- See evidence/claim relationships highlighted
- View explanations for highlighted portions
|Article: Psychological Tips for Resisting the Internet's Grip
|Claim: The Internet is full of good information, but it’s also a place to get lost and waste time. Because of that, strategies for managing one's time online are useful.|
|Evidence (from article): “Content on the net isn’t only designed to grab our attention; some of it is specifically built to keep us coming back for more: notifications when someone replies to a posts, or power rankings based on up-votes. These cues trigger the reward system in our brains because they’ve become associated with the potent reinforcer of social approval”.|
Yellow: These phrases support the claim that the Internet may be “a place to get lost and waste time” for many people.
Blue: This phrase suggests
scientific evidence, with words like brain “triggers” and “reward system”. It supports the second part of the claim that one
may need to use strategies to resist things that trigger something in one’s brain.
1) Ask students to search the full article for more evidence.
2) Ask students to explain evidence in their own words (paraphrase):
"Evidence" statement above, paraphrased:
Content on the Internet can be very addictive. It's designed to get our attention, then keep it, by offering participation that makes our brains happy.
Time: 20 minutes
Learners are asked to consider how they motivate themselves, avoid procrastination, and act to complete necessary tasks (or, adeversely, have difficulty doing these things).
- Write a sentence describing what they believe enables someone to successfully motivate him or herself, or (alternately) what hinders self-motivation.
- Read: The Psychological Origins of Procrastination – and How We Can Stop Putting Things Off
- Mark passages they believe provide relevant support to their personal claim.
- Fill out the worksheet “Explain Your Evidence” with:
a) claim statement
b) quoted statement(s)
c) quote in their own words (paraphrase)
d) explanation of why quote supports their claim.
|Explain Your Evidence|
| Evidence (copy / paste, or type here):
| Explain the evidence in your own words:
| Explain how / why the evidence supports the claim:
Time: 5 minutes
Instructors / learners compare worksheet responses to a “Citing Evidence” rubric. Responses should achieve “Excellent” or "Adequate" level. If not, learners review the lesson.
Application - Extended Time
Time: 20 minutes
Using examples from their own lives, students do one or more of the following:
1) Write a reflection on how they might apply the knowledge learned from the article
2) Create a “tip” sheet for peers on avoiding procrastination
3) Use their notes to participate in a discussion with peers about overcoming procrastination/motivation issues.
Part 3: Supplementary Resources & References
The articles used as a text for this lesson (The Psychological Origins of Procrastination, and Psychological Tips for Resisting the Internet's Grip) were found at: https://theconversation.com/us, which has many additional articles on these, and other topics.
“Evidence” criteria from Short Response Rubric and Checklist. Additional materials for Grade 10 “ELA & Literacy Curriculum” from this draft New York State resource expand on persuasive writing topics.
Berkman, E. (March 1, 2016). Psychological Tips for Resisting the Internet's Grip. Retrieved from: https://theconversation.com/psychological-tips-for-resisting-the-internets-grip-52046
Berkman, E., & Miller-Ziegler, J. (October 7, 2015). The Psychological Origins of Procrastination - and How We Can Stop Putting Things Off. The Conversation. Retrieved from: https://theconversation.com/the-psychological-origins-of-procrastination-and-how-we-can-stop-putting-things-off-47905
Public Consulting Group. Engage NY (2014). NYS Common Core ELA & Literacy Curriculum. Grade 10, Module 1, Short Response Rubric and Checklist. DRAFT. Retrieved from: http://www.moboces.org/cms/lib09/NY01914077/Centricity/Domain/31/Grade%2010%20Module%201%20Supporting%20Materials.pdf
Public Consulting Group. Engage NY: p. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
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(Design Guide effective March 2, 2016)