Critical Situations Workshops
5 (ethics of emotional arguments)
10 (inventing persuasive voice)
7 (choosing where to publish)
9 (gathering information through interviews)
11 (organizing a classroom debate)
Finding background information on the position students want to take will build their ethos in their third paper.
Using Evidence to Build Arguments
This explains why using evidence is so important but can be unfamiliar to undergraduates. It presents an example of ways to brainstorm source of evidence beyond arguments from authority (viewpoint articles). Finding statistics, facts, or research studies and conclusions may not come naturally to students, but their positions will be stronger if they can find this supporting information.
This tries to dissuade AIs from requiring hardcopies of print sources instead of sources that appeared in print at some point but have been stored electronically (i.e. most newspaper and magazine articles). If you do decide to require some kind of print source, it gives brief instructions for how to locate these items in the catalog, but these are not very thorough.
Argument Paper Invention Worksheet
This worksheet or a similar invention/planning exercise is useful for seeing where students are headed with their argument paper (Paper 3 in RHE 306). This one includes questions that are relevant to an assignment wherein students can choose the format and publication venue that would best reach their intended audience, so if AIs are limiting the outcome to just an academic paper, some of these questions will be irrelevant.
Teaching Logos and Arrangement for Unit 3
This lesson uses the familiar genre of the TV crime genre to introduce ideas of arrangement and logos to students for Unit 3.
Obscuring Subtlety With a Debate
This assignment gets students thinking on their feet in a combative/dynamic debating environment. It also helps students to advocate for positions they may not believe in, simply as an exercise in effective argument. This can also take up time at the end of the semester and give students something to do in class while they work hard on papers outside of class. Finally, it provides a cynical reminder that, for all our talk about middle-ground and ranges within controversies, our culture tends to unnecessarily polarize most issues.
Appealing to All the Senses: Making Multimedia Arguments
This is a potential Paper 3 assignment incorporating multimedia. It features very thorough instructions and an equally thorough list of multimedia resources and non-print venues for publication.
Build Your Own Dorm: Exploring Persuasive Genres
An activity asking students to work in groups to make arguments in different persuasive genres: a newspaper editorial for The Daily Texan, a newspaper editorial for The Onion, an email to a listserv, and a letter to UT President Powers. Student-written examples are based on Thoreau’s Walden, which advocates lifestyle changes very similar to Beavan’s, so they could be good illustrative examples for your class. These could be examples to discuss and possibly emulate for their Paper 3.
Online Argument Assessment
This assignment asks students to find a blog post related to the current topic or conversation in the class. After reading the post and the comments, the student must respond to the post or a specific comment, recognizing points of consensus but also explaining a point of disagreement. This activity prepares students to engage in rebuttal in a more extended paper of their own.
Guideline for Writing Rebuttals
This handout reviews the essential elements of effective rebuttal arguments.
2-day sequence to help students identify and use types of inartistic proof. This exercise asks students to find and identify types of evidence using the categories presented in Critical Situations, Chapter 9. The exercises also asks students to consider using the same or similar types of evidence in their own arguments (Essay 3). The 2-day assignment sequence is designed for a Tuesday-Thursday class schedule, but can easily be adapted for a MWF schedule. It includes homework and in-class activities.
Practicing Persuasive Writing Worksheet
This worksheet was designed to help students brainstorm for RHE 306 Paper 3, the persuasive writing paper. It specifically asks students to think about the qualities of their audience and then to connect to that audience through ethos, pathos, and logos appeals.
Essay 3 Prompt
This prompt for RHE 306 Essay 3 asks students to write a 4-7 page argumentative paper for which they invent a particular audience, publication venue, and context.