Student motivation in claims, evidence and audience

What makes an argument worth making?

student motivation in claims and evidenceRecently, I was working with a colleague about getting students more jazzed to dive deep into building claims with supporting evidence.

My colleague stated:

“To be an argument, there needs to be a sense of “others” who are vying against our argument in ways that excite/worry us about our intellectual flanks. Moreover, to be an argument, one needs to have some skin in the game. Who wants to argue an argument that’s already been made/won, and that all sides know the answer to? In general, “how” questions …elicit procedures/summaries of what is known. “Why” questions generally do a lot better stoking argument.”

I took a few minutes this morning to pull together some resources that might help to create an audience of “others” or that could be used to generate engagement in the claims/evidence making process.

Connecting to a larger audience

Ryan Camire posted to the Google+ Community Connected Classrooms Workshop to generate interest in cross school debates:

student motivation in claims, evidence and audience


And check out this 4th grade teacher using Flipgrid to record and share student arguments.  He then posted the Flipgrid video to a Google+ Community to expand the audience:

student motivation in claims, evidence and audience

Gamifying the outcome

Never underestimate the compelling power of healthy competition with your peers– or against yourself. iCivics features simulation games requiring examining evidence and making claims, such as “Do I Have A Right?” which puts students in the role of partner in a law firm specializing in individual rights. Not just that, but the site features a global leaderboard, so students can see how they stack up against other students playing the games. They can also earn — be still my beating heart — badges for game play.

student motivation in claims, evidence and audience


Mind-mapping and Brainstorming Tools

Richard Byrne, over at Free Tech 4 Teachers, recommends 10 terrific mind-mapping and brainstorming tools he suggests can be used to meet CCSS.ELA-Literacy.WHST.6-8.1a:

Introduce claim(s) about a topic or issue, acknowledge and distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and organize the reasons and evidence logically.

Debate Graph is a good example of mindmaps already created with claims & evidence.  But combining any of these strategies seems like a great way to up student motivation in claims, evidence and audience. Now you tell us:

How do you get your students to dig deeper and get invested in the arguments they make?


Susan Hennessey

Susan Hennessey is a reformed librarian and current professional development coordinator with a particular interest in digital credentials and scavenger hunts. She's addicted to flavored almonds, salty, crunchy snacks, and Google Hangouts.

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