Quote: Tell your story

The Common Core calls for students to become proficient in crafting arguments. No argument there. Citing evidence is refreshing. But, as literacy expert Pam Allyn reminds us, telling stories is why we have language in the first place.

Comments

Here is my story: As a history teacher with an English background, I try to help my students understand the difference between evidence (narrative) and analysis (argument). I often ask how many students have ever had to argue a point with their parents in order to go to a party, borrow the car, etc.. They all can relate to that! I tell them to use the same skill of arguing when writing a history paper and I give them several examples so that they may practice this skill.

A great strategy. You know better than I that kids respond particularly well to assignments that relate to their lives. Literacy expert Nell Duke and others have done extensive research on the effectiveness of having students write "with purpose"—about real issues facing their families, schools, and communities. Language, she points out, is "inherently social" and meant to further a dialogue. In that spirit, I thank you for sharing your story. Best of luck with your students this year.