Argumentative Writing: An Eleventh-Grade U.S. History Lesson on the Vietnam War

Friday, January 2, 2015: 1:20 PM
Central Park West (Sheraton New York)
Beth Slutsky, California History-Social Science Project, University of California, Davis
The high school argumentative writing assignment is from a lesson on the Vietnam War, as part of a Cold War curriculum unit.  Its historical investigation question is “What did the United States lose in Vietnam?”  Slutsky will briefly summarize the Vietnam War lesson, which presents students with a number of primary sources giving diverse perspectives on how and why the war was fought.  After reading some of these sources, the audience members will practice a few of the lesson’s activities that prepare students for writing.  These assignments support gathering evidence, developing a thesis, writing an introduction, organizing main and supporting evidence, evaluating relevance, organizing body paragraphs, and writing a conclusion.  Each assignment gives students step-by-step directions and examples of good writing about a different but related question.  In this way, struggling writers can build their essays with support and explanation for each step of the process.
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