ESL Writing Freshmen 2017 Week 9

It’s week 9 of the English writing class. Time to start the second half of the semester.

Weekly Plan

  • review overall midterm grades
  • review schedule
  • review syllabus

Hours 1-2

  • attendance (5)
  • midterm exam scores and soem answers (10)
  • schedule (5)
  • what’s next (5)
  • what’s an argument (40)
  • student writing (30)

Schedule (5)

Week 9 Oct 30 to Nov 3

  • classes
  • what is an argument?

Week 10 Nov 6 to Nov 10

  • classes
  • what is a hypothesis?

Week 11 Nov 13 to Nov 17

  • classes
  • correlation versus causation

Week 12 Nov 20 to Nov 24

  • classes
  • summarize and analyze data

Week 13 Nov 27 to Nov Dec 1

  • Quiz #2
  • more data analysis

Week 14 Dec 4 to Dec 8

  • Book report
  • appositives
  • finish before and after writing

Week 15 Dec 11 to Dec 15

  • Make up classes
  • Review for final exam

Week 16 Dec 18 to Dec 22

  • Final exam

What’s next?

The midterm exam is now over, so what’s next in the writing class?

The first part of the semester was designed to build basic writing skills. How to write a long passage., paragraphs, good organisation, a nice first sentence, and so on.

Now we are going to focus on one special writing skill: how to describe a complex ideas.

There are three kinds of sentence patterns which can be used to describe an idea:

  • argument
  • hypothesis
  • correlation (and how it is different from causation)

We will also focus on another writing skill: summarizing long passages by describing the main ideas and selecting the most important information.

What’s an argument (40)

Part 1: Claim and Premise


This slide presentation shows four things you need to know: argument, claim, premise, a basic sentence pattern.



A premise is a phrase, sentence or many sentences that tells us why (or sometimes how) we should believe a claim. For example:

  1. There is more air pollution because energy companies are burning a lot more coal.
  2. Vegetables are good for you because they contain nutrients and fibre.


Here is one way to find a claim and premise in a story, book, or speech. Simplify complex ideas with this sentence pattern. The claim will come before the word because.

  • The writer believes (claim) because (premise).

Below are some practice questions that should help you understand arguments. Click here to open a file with some suggested answers.


Read the sentences and then write the argument using the basic sentence pattern.

  1. Given that these pills are all natural, they are totally safe.
  2. There’s probably no God, so stop worrying and enjoy your life.
  3. Since light takes time to reach our eyes, everything we see actually existed in the past.


Read the text. What is the argument?

Most Americans eat at fast-food establishments more than once a week. Many re searchers agree that these eating habits are the leading cause of obesity in the U.S. Obesity-related diseases such as diabetes and hypertension cost our health care system billions of dollars each year. Whether through health care insurance premiums or taxes, everyone suffers the consequences even if you eat only healthful, home-cooked meals.

Therefore, we should impose a small tax on every high-calorie meal served at fast-food chains. This would not only offset obesity-related health care costs, but encourage consumers to seek out healthy food options.


Below are 5 claims. Change the claims into arguments by adding 2 or 3 premises.

  1. Cooking at home is a good idea for university students.
  2. People should drive compact cars.
  3. Getting a job these days is hard.
  4. Teaching in elementary school is a good job.
  5. Writing a good composition is difficult.


Watch the video. Take notes. Write a 1 to 2 paragraph report which does two things:

  1. Write the main argument
  2. Include some examples of proof for each premise
  3. Do you think this is an effective advertisement?



  • Write the main argument?
  • Provide some details to show how the argument is made
  • Do you think this is an effective advertisement?

ESL writing activities ketchcup


Hour 3

  • attendance
  • quick review of last lesson (arguments)
  • finish writing short reports (electric car and ketchup advertisement)
  • finish one more report that summarizes the argument.
  • do a paraphrasing exercise


Writing exercise (30)

1. Summarize

  1. watch the video
  2. make notes about the argument and premises
  3. make notes about the key pieces of evidence and examples
  4. ignore unimportant small details
  5. write 1-2 paragraphs to summarize the main argument and details to describe key points.

2. Evaluate

What do you think about the argument?

I want to know you idea, your argument. Don’t  repeat what the speaker said. Explain your own ideas briefly in 1-2 paragraphs.



Optional Apple Advertisement

  • Write the main argument?
  • Provide some details to show how the argument is made.
  • Do you think this is an effective advertisement?

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