Bill Fleming: Mini Lesson

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UCR Extension: Week #3 Mini Lesson

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Slide1:

Close Reading Techniques: Claims, Reasons, & Evidence Bill Fleming May 27, 2017

Slide2:

We've all seen motorcyclists drive by. We probably worry about their safety, especially when they're not wearing helmets. My mom worked with patients who've been paralyzed from the neck down since they were 25 because of a motorcycle crash. In Illinois, the law states the only protective gear you need while riding a motorcycle is glasses. While riding in or driving a car, you have to wear a seatbelt. Why isn't it the law for motorcyclists to wear helmets? The argument against a helmet law is that it's a personal choice if you want to wear a helmet. If it's a choice to wear a helmet, it should be a choice to wear a seatbelt. Yet it's not, it's a law. While riding a more dangerous object, such as a motorcycle, there should be a law to keep them safe, like the seatbelt law. The main safety feature on a motorcycle is a helmet, yet using one is completely optional. When California made the helmet law, the number of motorcycle accident fatalities decreased by 37 percent. If the motorcyclists get into a crash and get injured from lack of wearing a helmet, then tax payers are stuck paying their medical bills until they bite the dust. If it's illegal for car drivers to not wear seatbelts, then it should also be illegal for motorcyclists not to wear helmets. Motorcycles are more dangerous and the use of a helmet is the only way to keep you safe in an accident. Melanie Goebel, Bloomington Warm-up Do you have an opinion on helmet laws? Should taxpayers pay the medical costs for those who suffered head injuries because they were not wearing a helmet? Below is an actual “letter to the editor” which speaks to the matter. Did you find Melanie’s letter convincing? Why or why not? Today we will learn how to convince other about the things we feel passionate about .

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Objective Students will be able to identify claims , reasons , and evidence in persuasive communication.

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Skill Introduction Everybody engages in persuasive speaking or writing from time to time (e.g. when trying to convince your parents that your allowance is too low). Sometimes we are persuasive (i.e., we get our listeners to agree with us), sometime we are not. A. B. Effective persuasive speaking and writing always have three components : 1. Claims : 2. Reasons : 3 . Evidence : Things you assert or claim to be true a. School lunchtime should be longer . . . b. My teacher treats athletes and non-athletes differently . . . c. States should pass more stringent motorcycle helmet laws . . . a. . . . because all the schools around us have longer lunches . . . b. . . . because he is a coach . . . c. . . . because current laws do not deter violators . . . a. . . . according to the schools’ schedules posted on their websites. b. . . . since all 14 athletes got higher grades than everybody else. c. . . . as the harshest existing penalty is a $25.00 fine. Validating Information: Examples, statistics, expert testimony Statements that support your claims

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Skill Importance Claims or assertions made with weak or non-existing reasons and evidence are not persuasive (and is what most people call arguments , pointless back-and-forth exchanges that changes nobody’s minds). On the other hand, claims or assertions supported by strong, logical reasons , backed up by solid, relevant evidence is very persuasive and serves the best interests of everybody. I should get to choose where we eat out tonight because . . . Example: . . . I want to. . . . it’s Tuesday. . . . I will get mad if I don’t get my way. A. B. I should get to choose where we eat out tonight because . . . Example: . . . you got to choose the last 17 times. . . . I’m paying the bill (since you are unemployed). . . . Dr. Phil says not giving each other a voice hurts relationships. . . . it’s my birthday, not yours.

Slide6:

In the essay below, a hypothetical writer speaks his imaginary mind about the death penalty, and tries to convince his made-up audience that it should be abolished. We are now going to conduct a close reading of the text to determine its level of persuasiveness, by underlining his claims, circling his reasons, and drawing a box around his evidence. Skill Demonstration It is inconceivable to me that in the modern age that our country still practices the death penalty. It is a barbaric custom and should be done away with once and for all. Everybody knows that our nation is the only civilized country on earth that still condemns people to death. Also, all religions teach us that every life is valuable, even the life of a killer. While opponents might argue that the death penalty ensures that justice is served, the sad fact is that it is racist in its application. In the 2015, the Department of Justice published in its annual report that ethnic minorities constituted 74 % of death penalty victims, but committed only 18% of the associated crimes. Another good reason to do away with the death penalty is that it is too expensive to implement, due to endless legal appeals that can stretch into decades. According to the Stephen Cohen, President of United Coalition of Correctional Institutions, on average, it cost approximately $200,00.00 to incarcerate a prisoner for life, while it costs over $2,000,000.00 to pay for a felon’s numerous appeals. Perhaps the most important reason to abolish the death penalty is that it has been demonstrated that two out of every one hundred persons subjected to it are later found to be innocent. That is indeed a travesty of justice and cannot be tolerated. How would you feel if one of your loved ones suffered the death penalty and was later cleared of all charges? If that is not enough to convince you, consider the fact that the death penalty simply does not deter crime.

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Guided Practice Two examples of persuasive writing are provided below. Conduct a close reading of the texts to determine their level of persuasiveness. Mark the text on the copies you have on your Chromebooks the same way we marked them in the skill demonstration on the previous slide. The two selections deal with the legal drinking age. Selection #2: The legal age to buy alcohol should be lowered to 18. If Americans are legally considered an adult citizen at 18, and are granted the right to vote, they should be allowed to drink. If Americans at 18 can legally purchase tobacco, a product proven to cause more deaths each year than alcohol, then they should be allowed to drink. The fact that an eighteen-year-old American can be drafted and sent to fight and die for their country, while not legally being able to enjoy alcoholic beverages in the country they die for is twisted and immoral. The change in drinking age would potentially bring both positive and negative impacts on the American youth. The change would give only two years difference between the legal drinking age and driving age in Massachusetts, and as a result, the number of DUI cases and auto accidents possibly could increase. However, by legally exposing teenagers to alcohol at 18 rather than 21, they are less likely to head down the path towards dependency and alcoholism. If 18-year-old Americans are by law considered adult citizens, and can legally fight, vote, and be tried as an adult in court in their country, they clearly should be granted the right to drink alcohol. To impose the pressures and responsibilities of adulthood upon the 18-20 year olds of our country, while denying them the right to indulge in the most common way for Americans to relax is incomprehensible. For these reasons, the legal age to drink in the U.S. should be 18. Selection #1: I don’t think the drinking age should be 21; I honestly don’t think there should be a drinking age. The problem with teen drinking is they think they are being cool by doing something illegal, so they sneak around and try to get as much alcohol as possible, with leads to the binge drinking and habits that are hazardous to teen health. But if you look at many European countries that don’t hype up alcohol and drinking, they are taught responsible drinking habits from very early ages and don’t have the same problem with teens over-drinking. At first of course people would go rampant with drinking if the age limit was lifted, but after the first year, people would realize, it’s not a big deal.

Slide8:

We've all seen motorcyclists drive by. We probably worry about their safety, especially when they're not wearing helmets. My mom worked with patients who've been paralyzed from the neck down since they were 25 because of a motorcycle crash. In Illinois, the law states the only protective gear you need while riding a motorcycle is glasses. While riding in or driving a car, you have to wear a seatbelt. Why isn't it the law for motorcyclists to wear helmets? The argument against a helmet law is that it's a personal choice if you want to wear a helmet. If it's a choice to wear a helmet, it should be a choice to wear a seatbelt. Yet it's not, it's a law. While riding a more dangerous object, such as a motorcycle, there should be a law to keep them safe, like the seatbelt law. The main safety feature on a motorcycle is a helmet, yet using one is completely optional. When California made the helmet law, the number of motorcycle accident fatalities decreased by 37 percent. If the motorcyclists get into a crash and get injured from lack of wearing a helmet, then tax payers are stuck paying their medical bills until they bite the dust. If it's illegal for car drivers to not wear seatbelts, then it should also be illegal for motorcyclists not to wear helmets. Motorcycles are more dangerous and the use of a helmet is the only way to keep you safe in an accident. Melanie Goebel, Bloomington Application Taking part in the public conversation about important issues that affect our community is an important civic responsibility and privilege. When we make our voice heard, we want to do so in a way that is persuasive . Conduct a close reading of Melanie’s letter to the editor we saw in the warm-up. Underline her claims, circle her reasons, and box her evidence. Complete your analysis by writing a short essay stating to what degree your found her letter persuasive and explaining how you came to your conclusion.

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Assessment Claims 10 pts. Claims 10 pts. Reasons 10 pts. Evidence 10 pts. Concluding Essay 20 pts. Total 50 pts.

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Final Note Time was not given over to the related discussion about the relative merits of one’s stated reasons and evidence . You can make your case and provide numerous reasons and supporting material, but if your reasons are illogical or nonsensical, and your evidence is biased, out-of-date, or simply irrelevant, you still will not convince very many people of your position. We will deal with these important matter in tomorrow’s class. Good luck tonight in your initial attempts at persuading your friends and family members on the matters of importance to you .

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