Week of March 23, 2020: Persuasive Speech

We did it, y’all – we got through the first week of digital learning! I appreciate everyone’s hard work so far, and it truly warms my heart to see all of you prioritizing your learning during this frankly scary and uncertain time.

Without getting too sappy, — that’s for another post — I just want to say how much I truly miss each and every one of you. My days are a bit empty without you all, and it’s just not the same. I miss Niy giggling every time I say “just kidding!” in class; I miss random acts of singing from Daria and Tana; I miss beaming with joy when I see Keaton finally allowing us to see just how smart he truly is; I miss jumping for high fives from Jamall; I miss Sophia’s whiteboard drawings.

I even miss the pile of tardy slips from Danny, having to get on Von a thousand times, and Scotty’s million and one questions every class period.

You, my students, are at the core of my work. You are cared for and you are loved. We will get through this together. 

Things are always changing, and a lot is still uncertain. I am being extremely flexible with deadlines, so please don’t stress yourselves out. Like last week, moving forward, I will post a suggested outline of what your weeks should look like and what needs to get done. Be proactive, be sure to manage your time wisely, and please do not hesitate to reach out if you ever need me, regardless of the time of day!

This week, we will start on our persuasive speeches. I know, I know, I told you all I wouldn’t make you do this on your own, but we’ve gotta do what we’ve gotta do at the moment! We will be taking this very slow and step by step, so please don’t worry! Please be sure to read the instructions thoroughly and review the resources!

This week, you will:

  1. Read the prompt and review the rubric for the persuasive speech
  2. Pick your topic
  3. State your claim and three reasons (please submit by Wednesday if possible!)
  4. Complete part of a KWL Chart (“K” and “W”)
  5. Write and submit a three-point thesis statement

Please review the steps below for directions and resources! Be sure to go in order and do your best to have everything submitted by midnight on Sunday, March 29th. 

1. Monday: Read the prompt and review the rubric for the persuasive speech

Review the prompt below (it is also on page 197 in Springboard):

Your assignment is to write and present an original, persuasive two- to three-minute speech that addresses a contemporary issue. It should include a clear claim, support, counterclaim, and conclusion/call to action. Incorporate rhetorical appeals and devices to strengthen your argument and to help you achieve your desired purpose.

Review the rubric here, being sure to pay attention to specific requirements: Persuasive Speech Rubric

2. Tuesday: Pick your topic

When choosing a topic, be sure to choose something that

  1. You genuinely care about (If you’re bored writing your essay, I’ll be bored reading it!)
  2. You actually know something about (even if it’s only basic knowledge)

The prompt asks you to choose a contemporary issue; if you don’t know what that means, consult a dictionary! 🙂

You should select a specific topic that has a provable component to it; that is, two people should be able to have a reasonable argument over your topic. Be sure to choose something important – that is, no “iPhone is better than Android,” conspiracy theories, or similar topics. 

There are only two topics you may NOT write about: abortion and gay marriage.

3. Wednesday: State your claim and three reasons

Once you have your topic, you will state your claim. Your claim is the stance you take on your topic. In other words, it is your primary argument.

  • Many arguments start with questions.
    • For example: Should teachers be paid more?
  • Answer your question with what you believe; yes or no?
    • For example: Yes, teachers should be paid more. 
  • Now put those together to write your claim statement.
    • For example: Teachers should be paid more. 
  • But wait — is that specific enough? Should ALL teachers be paid more? Just the experienced ones? Just the ones with high test scores? Even the “bad” ones? How much? Consider possible questions that may poke holes in your argument.
    • Then, make it more specific.
    • For example: All public school teachers should be paid a six-figure salary. 

And there you have your claim statement! All public school teachers should be paid a six-figure salary. Remember that a statement is just that – a statement – so if your is a question, it is NOT a claim statement!

Click here for a list of possible topics! However, you are NOT limited to this list!

  • Next, come up with some reasons to support your argument. The way I like to explain this in class is to visualize your worst enemy that you can throw your hardest arguments at! You CANNOT lose your argument to this person, so you’ve gotta bring your A Game!
    • For example, consider my claim statement: All public school teachers should be paid a six-figure salary. 
      • And my worst enemy says, “Absolutely not! Teachers already get paid enough.”
      • (Aw, hell naw.) Come at them with the FACTS!
        • Why should teachers get paid more? Many teachers often hold advanced degrees, teachers are required to work outside of work hours grading, planning lessons, creating assignments and assessments, and more, and increased pay will make the profession more attractive for young professionals. FACTS!
        • These are my top three arguments to support my claim.
  • Do Now: Action Steps
    • Please click here to submit your claim statement for approval. 
      • Please submit by Wednesday, March 25th if possible!
    • Click here to see others’ topics and check your status for approval or changes; only one person may write on one topic. If someone else has chosen your topic, you will have to choose something else.
      • A GREEN highlight on your claim statement means that your topic and reasons have been approved. A YELLOW highlight means your claim needs some work. If you receive a yellow highlight, Ms. Antonacci will email you directly with any changes that need to be made! 
      • However, you MAY choose the same topic, as long as your claims counter (or go against) each other. For example, one student may write that Chromebooks should replace textbooks in schools, while another argues that textbooks should NOT be replaced by Chromebooks.
    • Click here to access the research planning document. Click File > Make a Copy to make a copy of the document to your Google Drive so you can edit it. (Be sure you are signed into Google before clicking the link!)
      • You are ONLY completing the top two rows of this sheet this week — your claim statements and three reasons. You will record your research onto this document next week.

4. Thursday: Complete part of a KWL Chart

Consider your three reasons and what you will have to research to further hone your argument. What do you already know about this topic, and what do you want to know?

For example, to support my claim that teachers should be paid a six-figure salary, I want to know how much teachers currently make on average, how many teachers hold advanced degrees, how long teachers’ work days really are, what teachers are required to do outside of the classroom, how many college students are enrolled in teacher certification programs, and so on. The more educated you are about an argument, the easier it is to win it — think logos! 

  • Do Now: Action Steps
    • Click here to access the KWL chart. Click File > Make a Copy to make a copy of the document to your Google Drive so you can edit it. (Be sure you are signed into Google before clicking the link!)
      • This week, you are ONLY completing the “K” and “W” columns!

5. Friday: Write and submit a three-point thesis statement

What is a thesis statement?
A thesis statement is a guide to your paper. It tells the reader the subject matter, your argument, and what to expect from the rest of the paper. Usually, the thesis statement will come towards the end of the first paragraph.

Think of your first thesis as a “working thesis,” or a statement that is likely to change. Often, once you get into the body of the paper, you may discover that your thesis needs to be changed a bit as you discover more information.

Writing a good thesis statement:
When you are working on your thesis statement, keep these three tips in mind:

1. Make sure your thesis fits the scope of the paper. The scope means how long and how in-depth the research should be. If you only have two pages, you need to keep the thesis narrow enough to cover the argument adequately.
2. Don’t simply give a fact or make a statement that is obvious. For example, “An eating disorder is a serious disease” is a statement most would readily agree with. This is sometimes called a “so what?” thesis.
3. Do NOT start your thesis with “I believe…” or “In my opinion…” You are the author of the paper, so this is obvious to the reader. Using these types of phrases weakens the power of your statement.

Click here for Ms. Antonacci’s example!


As always, reach out if you need ANYTHING! I’m up pretty late these days, so don’t hesitate 🙂 Even if you’re just feeling lonely or bored and want someone to talk to, I’m here for you.

Until next time,

Ms. Antonacci ❤

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