Oh, Yeah?!: Putting Argument to Work Both in School and Out

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Because everything is an argument

"In this book, we'll argue that you can teach the writing of argument so that students will not only exceed the Common Core State Standards, but also be prepared for a future as students and citizens."
-Michael Smith, Jeffrey Wilhelm, and James Fredricksen

The Common Core State Standards are an argument that "students' ability to write sound arguments on substantive topics and issues . . . is critical to college and career readiness."

This book is an argument. Oh, Yeah?! will persuade you that it is an ideal resource for helping you teach argument writing to adolescents. And not just any arguments, but the kinds of substantive ones the real-world demands.

"We believe," write Michael Smith, Jeffrey Wilhelm, and James Fredricksen, "that instruction directed to improve student performance on standards-based assessments MUST be the most powerful and engaging instruction we can possibly offer." To that end they fill Oh, Yeah?! with proven lessons for writing, reading, and discussing arguments that you can use right now. In addition, they provide ideas for how to create instructional contexts that maximize the power of those lessons through a compelling framework that will help you create your own lessons and units in the future.

Life may be a series of arguments, but your decision about how to teach argument writing needn't be complicated. Trust Smith, Wilhelm, and Fredricksen, use Oh, Yeah?! in your classroom, and give students an argument for meeting-and exceeding-the Common Core standards.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780325042909
  • Publisher: Heinemann
  • Publication date: 8/24/2012
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 615,726
  • Product dimensions: 7.20 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Smith is coauthor with Jeffrey Wilhelm and Michael Smith of Get It Done!; Oh, Yeah?!; and So, What's the Story?. Michael, a professor in Temple University's College of Education, joined the ranks of college teachers after 11 years of teaching high school English. He has won awards for his teaching at both the high school and college levels. His research focuses on understanding how experienced readers read and talk about texts as well as what motivates adolescents' reading and writing out of school. He uses that understanding to think about how to devise more effective and engaging reading and writing instruction for adolescents in school. Michael has cowritten or coedited three other Heinemann books, Going with the Flow; Reflective Teaching, Reflective Learning; and "Reading Don't Fix No Chevys". For Chevys he and coauthor Jeff Wilhelm received the NCTE David H. Russell Award for Distinguished Research in the Teaching of English. When he's not working, Michael's likely to be watching or talking about sports, reading, or playing with his granddaughter.

Jeffrey Wilhelm is coauthor with Michael Smith and James Fredricksen of Get It Done!; Oh, Yeah?!; and So, What's the Story?. Jeff has cowritten or coedited four other Heinemann books, Going with the Flow, "Reading Don't Fix No Chevys", Strategic Reading, and Imagining to Learn. For Chevys he and coauthor Jeff Wilhelm received the NCTE David H. Russell Award for Distinguished Research in the Teaching of English. Jeff is an internationally-known teacher, author, and presenter. He is driven by a desire to help teachers to help their students to more powerful literacy and compassionate, democratic living. What he most wants for teachers to get out of his work is motivation, a vital passion and impulse to continue experimenting and learning about teaching, as well as ways to frame instruction so it is meaningful and compelling to students. A classroom teacher for fifteen years, Jeff is currently Professor of English Education at Boise State University. He works in local schools as part of a Virtual Professional Development Site Network sponsored by the Boise State Writing Project, and regularly teaches middle and high school students. He is the founding director of the Maine Writing Project and the Boise State Writing Project. He has authored or coauthored numerous books and articles about literacy teaching and learning. In addition to the Russell award, his "You Gotta BE the Book" won the NCTE Promising Research Award. Jeff has worked on numerous materials and software programs for students including Scholastic's e21 and ReadAbout, and has edited a series of 100 books for reluctant readers entitled The Ten. Jeff enjoys speaking, presenting, working with students and schools. He is currently researching how students read and engage with non-traditional texts like video game narratives, manga, horror, fantasy, etc. as well as the effects of inquiry teaching on teachers, students, and learning. Jeff grew up on a small strawberry farm in Northeastern Ohio. He loved the Hardy Boys as a boy, and has continued to love reading ever since, progressing through Hermann Hesse, John Steinbeck, and James Baldwin as literary mentors. In high school he was named a Harrier All-American for cross-country and track. He was then a two-time Small College All-American in Cross-country. He has competed Internationally in cross country, track, and nordic skiing. He now enjoys marathon nordic skiing and whitewater kayaking.

Jim Fredricksen is coauthor with Jeffrey Wilhelm and Michael Smith of Get It Done!; Oh, Yeah?!; and So, What's the Story?. He has spent his career listening to and learning from his students about the choices they make - as young people, as athletes, as members of their communities, and especially as readers and as writers. This began in Fairfield, Ohio, and then in his hometown of St. Charles, Illinois where he taught middle school students and coached both middle and high school student athletes. More recently, he has worked with pre-service and in-service teachers in making their pedagogical decisions visible to themselves and to others - first at Michigan State University and currently at Boise State University, the Boise State Writing Project, and the National Writing Project. Jim's interest in helping people pursue their own interests - and in listening to the choices people make in pursuing those interests - reflect Jim's belief in the power of curiosity and creativity, in the pleasure that can be found in uncertainty, and the hope that comes from learning with others.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Part 1 Why Teach This Way? The Theory Behind the Practice

Chapter 1 Getting Started 1

Why Argument? 2

Why the Common Core State Standards? 6

So What Do the CCSS Say About Argument? 8

Implications for Planning and Practice 9

Chapter 2 Thinking About the Structure of an Effective Argument 11

Turning to Toulmin 12



Warrants and Backing

Rebuttals, Qualifiers, and Responses

Implications for Planning and Practice 18

Chapter 3 Five Kinds of Knowledge, Five Kinds of Composing: The Foundations of Our Practice 19

The Inquiry Square: The Importance of Procedural Knowledge 20

Declarative Knowledge of Form

Declarative Knowledge of Substance

Procedural Knowledge of Form

Procedural Knowledge of Substance

Beyond the Inquiry Square: The Importance of Context 25

A Note on Reading 28

Five Kinds of Composing 28

Composing to Practice

Composing to Plan

First Draft Composing

Final Draft Composing

Composing to Transfer

Implications for Planning and Practice 35

Part 2 Into the Classroom: Lesson Ideas

Chapter 4 Making Argument Matter in the Here and Now 37

Chapter 5 Introducing the Elements of Argument 48

Introducing Toulmin's Model 48

Through Talk

Through Ads

Focusing on the Elements of the Model 55



Determining What's Safe

Thinking About Targeting Data to Your Audience

Generating Data


Preparing for and Responding to Anticipated Arguments

Chapter 6 Putting It Together in Simulations and Debates 67

An Argument for Simulations and Debates 67

Thinking About Planning 72

Chapter 7 Teaching Argument Through the Study of Literature and Reading 22

Interpretive Analyses of Individual Texts 78




Making Judgments About Characters and Their Actions 87

Writing Arguments About Ideas 99

Evaluative Arguments 106

Chapter 8 Focusing on Form 113

Developing Sentence Sense 113

Thinking About Organization 121

Chapter 9 A Few Words About Assessment 125

In-Class Assessments 125

Large-Scale Assessments 127

Chapter 10 Embracing the Challenge 132

The Five Kinds of Knowledge 133

The Five Kinds of Composing 134

Appendix: Unit Example 137

Works Cited 145

Index 153

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