Grades 6-12 Argumentative Prompt for Baseline Writing Experiences

Grades 6-12 Argumentative Prompt for Baseline Writing Experiences
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Grades 6-12 Argumentative Prompt for Baseline Writing Experiences
Teacher Directions
The three articles provide the information needed to address the prompt, and students should independently read the texts carefully before
writing. Encourage students to refer back to the text while writing and to take notes, and to mark up the text as much as is helpful to them.
Students should be given one session for the prompt. Allow approximately 45-60 minutes, but the prompt should not be strictly timed.
The writing must be done without help, but students may have access to personal dictionaries, or any other resources to support spelling and
mechanics that they are accustomed to using while writing.
 Be sure students have paper to take notes or do whatever pre-planning they might choose to do.
 If students are writing by hand, provide lined paper from your classroom for writing. If they are using a word processor, make sure they
save their work so it can be accessed the next day.
 This will be first draft writing, but encourage students to proofread and correct any errors they find.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.1
Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
Grades 6-12
2
Grades 6-12 Argumentative Prompt for Baseline Writing Experience
Student Directions
A group of parents and teachers in your school have made a proposal to the school board. In their proposal, they are suggesting that the
school join in a national movement called Shut Down Your Screen Week. The parents and teachers in the group believe that not using any
electronic media for an entire week would be good for students for many reasons.
They have taken the proposal to a teachers’ meeting, so that teachers can discuss the issue of whether or not to ask their students to
participate in the Shut Down Your Screen Week. The teachers have decided they would like to hear from the students before they decide.
This is not a simple issue, so you need to think very carefully about it. You have three texts to read relating to the issue: “Social Media as
Community,” “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” and “Attached to Technology and Paying a Price.” As you read and re-read these texts think about
what position you will take and what evidence you will use to support your thinking.
For the essay, your writing prompt is:
Should your school participate in the national Shut Down Your Screen Week? Be sure to use evidence from the texts, as well as your own
knowledge, to support and develop your thinking.
Remember, a strong and effective piece of argument writing:
 Takes the audience into account
 Has a clear introduction
 States a focus/position statement clearly, precisely, and thoughtfully
 Uses specific evidence from the text(s) to support and develop the position, and explains that evidence logically
 Takes into account what people who disagree with you might think and tries to respond to that
 Concludes effectively
 Uses precise language
 Shows control over conventions
The essay will have a single draft, and you may want to take some time to plan your writing before you begin work. When you have finished, be
sure to proofread.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.1
Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
Grades 6-12
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Article #1: Social Media as Community
By Keith Hampton (Updated June 18, 2012 New York Times / Opinion Pages Excerpt)
Neither living alone nor using social media is socially isolating. In 2011, I was lead author of an article in Information, Communication & Society that
found, based on a representative survey of 2,500 Americans, that regardless of whether the participants were married or single, those who used social
media had more close confidants. The constant feed from our online social circles is the modern front porch.
A recent follow-up study, “Social Networking Sites and Our Lives” (Pew Research Center), found that the average user of a social networking site had
more close ties than and was half as likely to be socially isolated as the average American. Additionally, my co-authors and I, in another article
published in New Media & Society, found not only that social media users knew people from a greater variety of backgrounds, but also that much of
this diversity was a result of people using these technologies who simultaneously spent an impressive amount of time socializing outside of the house.
A number of studies, including my own and those of Matthew Brashears (a sociologist at Cornell), have found that Americans have fewer intimate
relationships today than 20 years ago. However, a loss of close friends does not mean a loss of support. Because of cellphones and social media, those
we depend on are more accessible today than at any point since we lived in small, village-like settlements.
Social media has made every relationship persistent and pervasive. We no longer lose social ties over our lives; we have Facebook friends forever. The
constant feed of status updates and digital photos from our online social circles is the modern front porch. This is why, in “Social Networking Sites and
Our Lives,” there was a clear trend for those who used these technologies to receive more social support than other people.
The data backs it up. There is little evidence that social media is responsible for a trend of isolation, or a loss of intimacy and social support.
Used by permission of New York Times.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.1
Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
Grades 6-12
4
Article #2: Is Google Making Us Stupid?
YES
Who doesn't love Google? In the blink of an eye, the search engine delivers useful information about pretty much any subject imaginable. I use it
all the time, and I'm guessing you do too.
But I worry about what Google is doing to our brains. What really makes us intelligent isn't our ability to find lots of information quickly. It's our
ability to think deeply about that information. And deep thinking, brain scientists have discovered, happens only when our minds are calm and
attentive. The greater our concentration, the richer our thoughts.
If we're distracted, we understand less, remember less, and learn less.
That's the problem with Google—and with the Internet in general. When we use our computers and our cellphones all the time, we're always
distracted.
The Net bombards us with messages and other bits of data, and every one of those interruptions breaks our train of thought. We end up
scatterbrained. The fact is, you'll never think deeply if you're always Googling, texting, and surfing.
Google doesn't want us to slow down. The faster we zip across the Web, clicking links and skimming words and pictures, the more ads Google is
able to show us and the more money it makes. So even as Google is giving us all that useful information, it's also encouraging us to think
superficially. It's making us shallow.
If you're really interested in developing your mind, you should turn off your computer and your cellphone—and start thinking. Really thinking.
You can Google all the facts you want, but you'll never Google your way to brilliance.
Nicholas Carr, Author
The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.1
Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
Grades 6-12
5
NO
Any new information technology has both advocates and critics. More than 2,000 years ago, the classical Greek philosopher Socrates
complained that the new technology of writing "will create forgetfulness in the learners' souls because they will not use their memories."
Today, Google is the new technology. The Internet contains the world's best writing, images, and ideas; Google lets us find the relevant pieces
instantly.
Suppose I'm interested in the guidance computers on Apollo spacecraft in the 1960s. My local library has no books on that specific subject—just
18 books about the Apollo missions in general. I could hunt through those or turn to Google, which returns 45,000 pages, including a definitive
encyclopedia article and instructions for building a unit.
Just as a car allows us to move faster and a telescope lets us see farther, access to the Internet's information lets us think better and faster. By
considering a wide range of information, we can arrive at more creative and informed solutions. Internet users are more likely to be exposed to
a diversity of ideas. In politics, for example, they are likely to see ideas from left and right, and see how news is reported in other countries.
There's no doubt the Internet can create distractions. But 81 percent of experts polled by the Pew Internet Research Project say the
opportunities outweigh the distractions.
Socrates was wrong to fear the coming of the written word: Writing has improved our law, science, arts, culture, and our memory. When the
history of our current age is written, it will say that Google has made us smarter—both individually and collectively—because we have ready and
free access to information.
Peter Norvig, Director of Research
Google Inc.
Used by permission of (The New York Times Upfront, Vol. 143, October 4, 2010)
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.1
Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
Grades 6-12
6
Article #3: Go Screen-free For a Week for Kid’s Health
About this time every spring, parents and children across the country take part in a healthy challenge. They pledge to step away from
entertainment found on televisions, hand-held devices and computer screens -- and rediscover the joys of entertaining themselves. They play
board games, read out loud, take walks or cook a family meal together. They agree to be screen-free for one week.
This year's annual Screen-Free Week started Monday and runs through Sunday, but the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood
(which organizes the annual event) hopes the effects of the week will last year-round. As a pediatrician at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in
Richmond who works on combating pediatric obesity and as a mother of four children, I'm a strong supporter of Screen-Free Week. I know the
amount of time our children spend in front of digital screens has increased tremendously over the years, and it's harming their health in many
ways. I also think it's stealing a precious resource: the chance for children to be bored, and then to dream up creative ways to have fun.
The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood has compiled an eye-opening list of research statistics on screen time and children:

On any given day, 64 percent of babies and toddlers are watching TV and videos, averaging slightly more than two hours of viewing a
day.
 Depending on the study cited, preschoolers spend between 2.2 and 4.6 hours a day using screen media.
 Including time spent multitasking, 8- to 18-year-olds take in an average of 7.2 hours of screen media per day -- an increase of 2.5 hours
in 10 years.
Research also shows that babies and preschoolers who spend time in front of a screen spend less time interacting with their parents and less
time in creative play -- activities that are essential for learning and development. Studies show that screen time for children under 3 is linked to
language delays.
For older children, screen time not only exposes them to a slew of fast food and snack food ads, it replaces time that used to be spent
running around and playing. So it's not surprising that studies find screen time is an important risk factor in childhood obesity. According to one
study, for each hour of television viewing per day, children consume an additional 167 calories on average. That's a little more than the calories
found in an ounce bag of cheese puffs.
On the positive side, research also finds that children who spend less time watching television early on tend to do better in school, have a
healthier diet and be more physically active. Because Kaiser Permanente wants to help keep your child as healthy as possible, we recommend
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.1
Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
Grades 6-12
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that parents and guardians limit screen time for children to no more than one to two hours a day, with no screen time for children under age 3.
And we recommend that parents keep televisions and other screens out of their children's bedrooms.
Screen-Free Week is a great opportunity to get a taste of life away from the screen. But as a parent, I caution you, it's best to go into the
week prepared. Start by committing to lead by example, and then sit down with your family and make a list of things you might do to entertain
yourselves. You could check out books or CDs from the library, rediscover card games, launch a lemonade stand, take a hike or introduce your
children to the joy of flying a kite.
Even if you can't manage being 100 percent screen-free, I challenge you and your family to step out of your comfort zone and give it a try. It
might open your eyes to the realization that good things can come from taking a break from our screens.
By Margaret Desler
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.1
Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
Grades 6-12
8
6th-12th Grade Writing Rubric - (Opinion/Argument)
Scoring
Elements
Not Yet
1
Attempts to address prompt, but lacks
focus or is off-task.
Focus
Controlling Idea
Reading/Research
Development
Approaches Expectations
2
Addresses prompt appropriately and
establishes a position, but focus is
uneven. Addresses additional demands
superficially.
2.5
Meets Expectations
3
Addresses prompt appropriately and
maintains a clear, steady focus.
Provides a generally convincing
position. Addresses additional demands
sufficiently
Attempts to establish a claim, but lacks
a clear purpose.
Attempts to reference reading
materials to develop response, but
lacks connections or relevance to the
purpose of the prompt.
Attempts to provide details in response
to the prompt, but lacks sufficient
development or relevance to the
purpose of the prompt.
Attempts to organize ideas, but lacks
control of structure.
Establishes a claim.
Establishes a credible claim.
Presents information from reading
materials relevant to the purpose of
the prompt with minor lapses in
accuracy or completeness.
Presents appropriate details to support
and develop the focus, controlling idea,
or claim, with minor lapses in the
reasoning, examples, or explanations.
Uses an appropriate organizational
structure for development of reasoning
and logic, with minor lapses in
structure and/or coherence.
Accurately presents details from
reading materials relevant to the
purpose of the prompt to develop
argument or claim.
Presents appropriate and sufficient
details to support and develop the
focus, controlling idea, or claim.
Attempts to demonstrate standard
English conventions, but lacks cohesion
and control of grammar, usage, and
mechanics. Sources are used without
citation.
Demonstrates an uneven command of
standard English conventions and
cohesion.
Uses language and tone with some
inaccurate, inappropriate, or uneven
features.
Inconsistently cites sources.
Demonstrates a command of standard
English conventions and cohesion, with
few errors. Response includes language
and tone appropriate to the audience,
purpose, and specific requirements of
the prompt. Cites sources using
appropriate format with only minor
errors.
Organization
Conventions
1.5
Maintains an appropriate
organizational structure to address
specific requirements of the prompt.
Structure reveals the reasoning and
logic of the argument.
Attempts to include disciplinary
Briefly notes disciplinary content
Accurately presents disciplinary
content in argument, but
relevant to the prompt; shows basic or
content relevant to the prompt with
understanding of content is weak;
uneven understanding of content;
sufficient explanations that
content is irrelevant, inappropriate, or
minor errors in explanation.
demonstrate understanding.
inaccurate.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.1
Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
Content
Understanding
Grades 6-12
3.5
Advanced
4
Addresses all aspects of prompt
appropriately with a consistently strong
focus and convincing position.
Addresses additional demands with
thoroughness and makes a connection
to claim
Establishes and maintains a substantive
and credible claim or proposal.
Accurately and effectively presents
important details from reading
materials to develop argument or
claim.
Presents thorough and detailed
information to effectively support and
develop the focus, controlling idea, or
claim.
Maintains an organizational structure
that intentionally and effectively
enhances the presentation of
information as required by the specific
prompt. Structure enhances
development of the reasoning and logic
of the argument.
Demonstrates and maintains a welldeveloped command of standard
English conventions and cohesion, with
few errors. Response includes language
and tone consistently appropriate to
the audience, purpose, and specific
requirement of the prompt.
Consistently cites sources using
appropriate format.
Integrates relevant and accurate
disciplinary content with thorough
explanations that demonstrate indepth understanding
9
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.1
Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
Grades 6-12
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