UNIT #3- Classical Argument


Unit Goals:
By the end of the unit, students should be able to:

1. Generate an arguable and timely topic that poses a PSI question.
2. Write a thesis-driven classical argument essay.
3. Create a focused argument that includes reasons supported by evidence, incorporates opposing
views, and addresses underlying assumptions.
4. Research, incorporate, and document secondary sources.
5. Make appropriate rhetorical appeals (logos, ethos, pathos) to a skeptical or neutral
6. Arrange ideas in a logical and purposeful order that is easy for the reader to navigate.
7. Produce a final draft that shows an understanding of argument as an evidence-seeking process
and a product of persuasion, as well as an indication of revision and attention to
conferences and peer reviews.
8. Correctly use diction, punctuation, and spelling for a college-level audience.

Weekly Goals:
• Week 1 – Introduction to Classical Argument
• Week 2 – Research
• Week 3 – Qualifications/Concessions in a Claim
• Week 4 – Draft and Revise

Forms Found on Course’s Moodle Site:
• Student’s Classical Argument Essay Unit Plan
• Assignment Sheet for Classical Argument Essay
• Writer’s Memo
• Grading Rubric for Classical Argument Essay
• Activity Sheets

EI: Bean, John C. Engaging Ideas. 2nd ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2011. Print.
St.M: Glenn, Cheryl, and Melissa A. Goldthwaite. The St. Martin’s Guide to Teaching
Writing. 6th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin, 2008. Print.
EW: Lunsford, Andrea A. The Everyday Writer with Exercises. 4th ed. Boston: Bedford/St.
Martin, 2010. Print.
TLH: Lunsford, Andrea A., Alyssa O’Brien, and Lisa Dresdner. Teaching with Lunsford
Handbooks. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin, 2012. Print.
A&B: Ramage, John D., John C. Bean, and June Johnson. The Allyn and Bacon Guide to
Writing. 4th ed. New York: Learning Solutions, 2010. Print.


Week 1: Introduction to Classical Argument
Monday – Introducing Classical Argument
Learning Objectives:
1. Introduce purpose of classical argument essay.
2. Understand argument assignment sheet.
3. Discuss arguable and timely issues.
4. Begin brainstorming for topics.

Homework Due:
1. Read A&B, chapter 8, “Writing a Classical Argument” (no essays).

Readings for Teachers:
1. Review St.M, chapter 6, “Teaching Invention.”
2. “Argument” in Part II in TLH (83-93).

1. Discuss purpose and value of classical argument as evidence-seeking/process and
persuasion/product. [10 min.]
2. Introduce and discuss assignment sheet; introduce the framework of a classical argument.
[15 min.]
3. Discuss arguable issues and introduce PSI Question. [10 min.]
4. Activity: “Identifying Arguable Issues” (A&B 211). [10 min.]
a. Ask students to list 5 communities to which they belong.
b. Have them list a question/problem/issue for at least 3 of those 5 communities.
c. Ask a couple of students to share examples.
5. Review homework due next class. [5 min.]

Week 1: Introduction to Classical Argument
Wednesday – Classical Argument Structure
Learning Objectives:
1. Understand structure of classical argument.
2. Understand how arguments persuade through rhetorical appeals (logos, ethos, pathos).

Homework Due:
1. Review A&B, chapter 3, “Thinking Rhetorically about How Messages Persuade.”
2. Review “Appealing to Ethos and Pathos” (A&B 223-25).
3. Read “Paintball: Promoter of Violence or Healthy Fun?” (A&B 234-37).
4. Post current research topic and question(s) to the “Classical Argument Topics” online forum.
5. Respond to at least two of your peers’ ideas with useful suggestions to help them choose a
topic and create a strong research question.

Readings for Teachers:
1. Review “Argument” in Part II in TLH (83-93) – all sections regarding appeals.
2. Read EI, chapter 10, “Using Small Groups to Coach Thinking and Teaching Disciplinary

1. Discuss structure of classical argument, using “Paintball” essay as an example. [15 min.]
a. Thesis
b. Supporting evidence
c. Opposing views
d. Conclusion
2. Discuss rhetorical appeals in effective classical arguments; appealing to a skeptical or
neutral audience. [10 min.]
3. Activity: “Reading Emotional, Ethical, and Logical Appeals 2” (TLH 86-87) [20 min.]
a. Break class into three groups and assign one appeal to each group.
b. Ask each group to identify at least one passage in “Paintball” essay that uses their
assigned appeal and to comment on the function and efficacy.
4. Review homework due next class. [5 min.]

Week 1: Introduction to Classical Argument
Friday – Introduction and Thesis
Learning Objectives:
1. Understand how to create an effective introduction to a classical argument essay.
2. Discuss importance of creating a thesis-driven classical argument essay.

Homework Due:
1. Review “A Strong Thesis Statement Surprises Readers with Something New or Challenging”
(A&B 42-49).
2. Read A&B, chapter 18, “Composing and Revising Closed-Form Prose.”
3. Draft of thesis statement.

Readings for Teachers:
1. St.M, chapter 7, “Teaching Arrangement and Form.”
2. “Thesis” in Part II in TLH (69-73).

1. Discuss structure of effective introduction for classical argument essay. [15 min.]
a. Appeal to skeptical or neutral audience.
b. What not to do: “Funnel Introduction.”
c. Opening attention-grabber.
d. Explanation of the question to be investigated.
e. Background information.
f. Preview of the whole (thesis/purpose statement).
2. Discuss how to shift from PSI question to working thesis. [10 min.]
a. Remind students this is a working thesis because research may affect their claim.
3. Discuss components of thesis. [10 min.]
a. Surprising reversal language.
b. Supporting points and particulars.
i. Forecasting with detailed thesis (A&B 596).
4. Activity: “Formulating a Working Thesis” (TLH 88). [10 min.]
a. Break students into pairs to test each other’s thesis statement for purpose, audience,
position, and support.
i. How can these statements be improved and more detailed?
ii. What information does the student need to strengthen thesis? This might generate ideas
for research.
5. Review homework due next class. [5 min.]


Week 2: Research
Monday – Finding Academic Sources
Learning Objectives:
1. Gain a familiarity with the use of databases and eJournals for research.
2. Learn to find useful secondary sources for an essay.

Homework Due:
1. Review A&B, chapter 20, “Asking Questions, Finding Sources.”
2. Complete PSI question and initial claim.

Readings for Teachers:
1. “Research” in Part II in TLH (95-121).

1. Library Session – class will meet in library.
2. Librarian: Introduce library resources, emphasizing the rhetorical purpose of the criteria
(enhances credibility of supporting data, and, thus, the writing’s appeal to ethos).
[25 min.]
3. Individual library research. Instructor should be available for assistance. [25 min.]

Week 2: Research
Wednesday – Evaluating and Citing Sources
Learning Objectives:
1. Evaluate secondary sources using the STAR criteria.
2. Understand how to incorporate sources into essay.
3. Plan for follow-up research.

Homework Due:
1. Review A&B, “Evaluating Evidence: The STAR Criteria” (217-18).
2. Review A&B, chapter 21, “Evaluating Sources.”
3. Read A&B, chapter 22, “Incorporating Sources Into Your Own Writing.”

1. Review STAR criteria [5 min.]
2. Activity: “Reading and Interpreting Sources” (TLH 105-8; reproduced below). Have a handout
for each student with the questions and project onto screen. Have copies of the articles for
each student. [25 min.]
a. Ask students to read the two passages about the War of 1812, the first from an American
encyclopedia and the second from a Canadian history book. Have students read each one
carefully, with a critical eye, and then answer the following interpretive questions,
noting any differences in the two accounts: [10 min.]
i. What motivated the War Hawks?
ii. Who attacked whom at the beginning of the Battle of Tippecanoe?
iii. What did the War of 1812 mean in British, American, and Canadian history?
iv. Why did the Treaty of Ghent end up restoring the prewar boundaries?
b. Then ask students to answer these questions about both passages: [15 min.]
i. What is the perspective, tone, and argument of each passage?
ii. How does each passage make clear its point of view?
iii. Can you find at least one example in each passage that seems to show how the author’s
point of view accounts for or affects the interpretation of events?
iv. Why do you think each passage takes the view it does?
v. How would you, as a researcher, evaluate and use these sources?
3. Review “Skill 28: Know When and How to Use Summary, Paraphrase, Quotation, and Attributive
Tags” (A&B 689-98), particularly “Strategies” chart (690) and evaluation chart (694). [7 min.]
a. Summarize
b. Paraphrase
c. Quotation
d. Attributive Tags
4. Review MLA citation format. [7 min.]
a. In-text
b. Works Cited page
5. Review homework due next class. [5 min.]

Week 2: Research
Friday – Incorporating Research to Support Against Counterarguments
Learning Objectives:
1. Learn how to incorporate research into a paper.
2. Consider the use of supporting evidence to thwart counterarguments.

Homework Due:
1. Review A&B, Appendix, “A Guide to Avoiding Plagiarism.”
2. Review A&B, “The Myth of Violence in the Old West” and “Skill 27: Keep Your Focus on Your Own
Argument” (685-9).
3. Prepare summaries for at least two potential secondary sources. To be handed in.
4. Complete and bring “Classical Argument Schema” worksheet.

1. Review purpose of quotation and paraphrase in classical argument. What are the rhetorical
advantages/disadvantages of each? [7 min.]
2. Discuss how properly incorporated secondary sources can strengthen argument. Emphasize that an
arguable issue should have opposing views, but that incorporating objective evidence can
strengthen your refutation. [7 min.]
3. Activity: Classical Argument Schema. [30 min.]
a. Prior to class, line walls with posters, one per student.
b. Individual [10 min.]: With a marker, the student must transfer his/her planning schema onto a
poster – clearly indicating his/her claim and reasoning – making sure to leave room for
potential written feedback.
c. Group [20 min.]: Students approach at least four classmates’ posters with a critical eye,
leaving short comments. Questions to consider:
i. How might the poster’s claim be refuted?
ii. What kinds of supporting research will be necessary to convince you of its claim?
iii. Is the research question something you understand and find interesting?
iv. Does the poster recognize counterclaims that the reader might make?
v. Are there any counterclaims the poster fails to consider?
4. Review homework due for next class. [5 min.]


Week 3: Qualifications/Concessions in a Claim
Monday – In-Class Peer Review
Learning Objectives:
1. Peer review with specific questions in mind.

Homework Due:
1. Bring 3 copies of draft; must be at least 2-3 pages long.

Readings for Teachers:
1. Review St.M, “Example 7.2: Peer-Response Questions for the First Draft of a Four-Part Essay”
2. EI, chapter 10, “Using Small Groups to Coach Thinking and Teach Disciplinary Argument.”

1. Peer Review. [45 min.]
a. In groups of 3, students should use questions in St.M, “Example 7.2” (184; reproduced
below) to review their peers’ essays. Give students a handout with the questions, and
project the questions onto screen.

• Do the first four sentences attract my interest?
• Is the subject clearly defined in the introduction?
• Is the introduction too long?
• Does the introduction seem to be aimed at a specific audience? What is that audience?
• Do I want to know more, to keep reading? Why or why not?

Statement of Fact:
• Does this section clearly explain the nature of the problem or situation?
• Is there anything not told that I need to know?
• Does the problem or situation continue to interest me?

• Is the argumentation convincing?
• Does the order of presentation seem reasonable?
• Has any obvious argument been left out?
• Has the opposing position been competently refuted?

• Has the case been summarized well?
• Do I feel well-disposed toward the writer? Why or why not?
• Does the ending seem graceful?

2. Review homework due next class. [5 min.]

Week 3: Qualifications/Concessions in a Claim
Wednesday – Counterarguments
Learning Objectives:
1. Know how to introduce and refute/concede to oppositional views.
2. Review and see in practice angle of vision and rhetorical appeals in an argumentative format;
be aware of how people go about convincing audience of biases.

Homework Due:
1. Read “Why Uranium Is the New Green” (A&B 238-41).
2. Read “No to Nukes” (243-46).
3. Read “The Case for (Gay) Marriage” (249-54).
4. Answer questions at the end of all three readings. To be handed in.

1. Discuss homework:
a. “Why Uranium Is the New Green” and “No to Nukes” [15 min.]
i. How did the two papers address oppositional views?
ii. Describe the angle of vision/biases.
iii. What are they leaving out of their arguments?
iv. What evidence are they using to support their claims?
v. How effective were the evidence used and refutations made? Would you have done
something differently with the evidence and/or the refutations?
b. “The Case for (Gay) Marriage” [15 min.]
i. How did paper introduce oppositional views?
ii. Were they refuted or conceded to?
iii. If you were the writer, how would you have gone about introducing oppositional views
and refuting them?
2. Activity: Watch video of closing arguments and discuss. [15 min.]
a. Give a short synopsis of the episode/movie.
b. Watch video, “Law and Order: Season 8: Castoff: Closing Arguments” (approximate 3:30),
found here:
i. What is the angle of vision of the defense attorney and the prosecutor?
ii. How are logos, ethos, and pathos used in this clip?
iii. How do the two lawyers address the other’s claims?
iv. How effective were the arguments made? What worked, what didn’t? Which lawyer
convinced you?
3. Review homework due next class. [5 min.]

Week 3: Qualifications/Concessions in a Claim
Friday – Fallacies and Unstated Assumptions
Learning Objectives:
1. Know what are fallacies and unstated assumptions and how to avoid them.
2. Find unstated assumptions and counterclaims in peers’ papers.

Homework Due:
1. Full drafts with Writer’s Memo due.
a. Bring three copies of essay.
b. Submit through Turnitin.
2. Review A&B, “A Brief Primer on Informal Fallacies” (225-27) and “Articulating Unstated
Assumptions” (213-15).

1. Discuss informal fallacies and unstated assumptions. [10 min.]
2. Activities:
a. “Identifying Unstated Assumptions” (A&B 214-15), in which students must identify the
unstated assumptions in five claims with reasons. [10 min.]
b. Mini-peer review. In pairs, look for unstated assumptions and counterclaims in each other’s
paper. [25 min.]
3. Have students sign up for conference time. [5 min.]


Week 4: Draft and Revise
Monday – Individual Conferences
Learning Objectives:
1. Individual conferences.
2. Have a clear idea of how to revise.

Homework Due:
1. Read A&B, chapter 18, “Composing and Revising Closed-Form Prose.”
2. Bring a hard-copy of your draft to conference.
3. Have questions and concerns about your paper ready to discuss.

Readings for Teachers:
1. St.M, chapter 5, “Evaluating Student Essays.”
2. EI, chapter 15, section 7, “Make One-on-One Writing Conferences as Efficient as Possible”

1. No Class – Individual Conferences.

Week 4: Draft and Revise
Wednesday – In-Class Peer Review: Final Polish
Learning Objectives:
1. Students should know the strengths and weaknesses of their papers and have a distinct
direction for final revision.
2. Understand how to critique fellow students’ work in a helpful and articulate way. Be
comfortable with and proficient in the peer review process.

Homework Due:
1. Read A&B, chapter 17, “Writing as a Problem-Solving Process.”
2. Read EW, chapter 9, section 9b, “Get responses from peers” (91-96).
3. Bring 3 copies of draft.

Readings for Teachers:
1. “Peer Review and Revision” in Part II in TLH (123-37).
2. St.M, “Peer-Response Groups” (69-73).
3. Essay: “Helping Peer Writing Groups Succeed” (St.M 343-351).
4. EI, chapter 15, section 5, “Have Students Conduct Peer Reviews of Drafts” (295-98).

1. Go over patterns seen in drafts. [10 min.]
2. Go over grading criteria and peer review criteria. [5 min.]
3. Activity: Mini-peer review. In groups of 2-3 students, review each other’s papers using the
questions below. These are the grading questions on the assignment sheet. Give them to
students as a handout. Project onto screen. [30 min.]
a. Does the writing revolve around a single, arguable claim (thesis)?
i. Does that claim answer a PSI question?
ii. Does the writing acknowledge and refute potential counterclaims/objections?
b. Is the central claim argued by a line of reasoning?
i. Does that reasoning exhibit a clear, logical organization?
ii. Is the reasoning aware of and appropriate to its audience and writing genre?
iii. Does the reasoning make appeals to ethos, pathos, and logos to persuade its audience?
iv. Is it free of logical fallacies?
c. Does the writing support its reasoning with secondary research?
i. Do the sources abide by the STAR criteria?
ii. Are the sources cited according to MLA conventions?
d. Can each sentence be understood the first time it is read?
i. Are there any spelling, punctuation and/or grammatical mistakes? Mark all of them on
the paper.
5. Answer any lingering questions. [10 min.]

Week 4: Draft and Revise
Friday – Reflections
Learning Objectives:
1. Understand what worked and what didn’t in the writing process and in the final product.
2. Gain an understanding of why reflection is important and how it can improve one’s writing.
3. Understand how to apply this knowledge to future writing projects.
4. The instructor should use the reflection papers as feedback for the efficacy of the process.

Homework Due:
1. Final drafts with Writer’s Memo due.
a. Submit through Turnitin.

1. Activity: Students write their reflections in class on the argument unit. [15 min.]
Questions they should address in their reflection:
a. During this argument unit, what in-class activities, including peer review, did you find
useful? Not useful?
b. What readings were most helpful? Why?
c. Which strategies were the most or least productive in writing your paper?
d. What did you learn from writing this paper that you will apply to future papers?
e. How can these skills be applied to the real world outside of ENC 1101?
f. Optional: Any additional questions or other feedback about the unit?
2. Discuss reflective paper as a class. [25 min.]
3. Briefly introduce timed writing unit. [5 min.]
4. Review homework due next class [5 min.]


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