Wearable Technology - Hit or Fad?
Students shared their thesis statements for the assigned persuasive essay topic of wearable technology. We reviewed the important components that a thesis should provide: it clearly states your opinion, it is debatable, it is reasonable and logical. Several students read aloud their entire introductions so that we could listen as a class for the hook, thesis, and preview of supporting arguments.
Work in Progress
Most students are now able to articulate a position and provide a solid hook. Many continue to struggle with developing a strong thesis statement - one that is narrow enough to set the stage for developing an effective argument. When we take a position that is too broadly defined (eg. wearable technology is good for society) it becomes an overwhelming task in a 500 word essay to support this position with evidence and convince the reader of your position. The thesis should be specific enough to guide your writing and keep your argument focused throughout the essay.
A related issue many students find challenging is the organization of the argument points within the body of their essay. Even with a well-defined thesis this can be challenging. A focused thesis statement limits the scope of your writing and is the great unifying force. While there may be many points you could make about a particular topic, you only want to provide those that directly support your thesis for this essay.
Remember - always refer back to your outline. If you have clearly written out your thesis and body paragraph topic sentences, you can use these as a guide to keep you on track and organized through the essay.
As a warm up to the debate portion of the class, which we will begin next week, students played a debate game called "Point - Counter Point". They broke into two groups of five and lined up across from each other. One group was "Pro" and the other group was "Con". I gave the groups just a few minutes to prepare arguments for or against a thesis I provided - concise one or two sentence statements of support.
The Pro group began with their first team member providing an argument for the thesis (the affirmative position). The student opposite, on the Con team, was required to refute that argument and then provide their prepared argument against the thesis (the negative position).
Our on-the-fly propositions were:
This back and forth volleying of Pro-Con arguments gave the students a quick feel for what an actual debate will feel like, requiring them to 1) work as a team to come up with logical and cohesive arguments and 2) refute a counter-argument. The most challenging aspect of this exercise by far was the requirement for students to quickly think on their feet and come up with counter-arguments to their opponents points.
Next week we will discuss the format of team debate we will be using in class and go over the roles and requirements of the team members. Students will be split into debate teams and begin preparing for their first debates to be held in class on 4/28!