A group of middle school students found that argument writing inspired by local news is a great way to develop interest in current events and become better writers.
At West Middle School, sixth graders are developing their argument writing, formerly known as persuasive writing, as part of Common Core Mandates.
“I thought if the students could choose the topic they were most passionate about, it would make for better writing,” said sixth grade teacher Shannon Witman.
First, all 95 sixth graders reviewed the Opinion pages of The Andover Townsman for argument examples. Then she told them to focus on a local issue that interested them.
Students focused on plans for a play area, the debate over a senior housing develop[ment, and on discussions of a longer school day and PARCC testing.
Expressing opinions is a valuable skill, and Witman was surprised by how quickly her students learned to write well, and how motivated they were.