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Determine Your Purpose_Argumentative


What do I want my writing to accomplish?
Determine what you want to get your audience to know or do based on reading your essay.

Time To Complete 

1 Day

Common Core Standards 

  • CCRA.W.4
  • CCRA.L.3
  • CCRA.SL.4

I Can Statements 

  • I can use my knowledge of my purpose to
    • decide how much and what kind of information to include
    • choose words, tone, and style.
    • identify the purpose my work will serve for my readers.

Assessing Student Readiness to Move to the Next Formative Task:

  • Confer with students asking them to briefly describe their plan for addressing purpose in their work to gauge their readiness to move on.
  • Ask students to develop a brief list of guidelines to keep in mind while working on their performance task.


Possible Activities 
  1. Conduct a mini-lesson on how writers may change their style based on their purpose (to inform, persuade, entertain, or call to action).

  2. Give students case studies; for example, how would a politician who believes in doing away with gun laws have to write differently if he was trying to inform the audience about the issues versus if he were trying to persuade voters to adopt a bill or law? Have students work in groups to identify how purpose can affect the content and format of an essay. 

    • Have students consider their purpose and write a paragraph explaining what they want to accomplish with their writing and how this information can help shape the content and form of their work. 
  3. Give the entire class a topic such as “Highlights of Our School.”  Divide students into groups of three or four. Give each group a card with a specific purpose (e.g., to inform, to entertain, to persuade, to call to action), and a specific audience such as a local business interested in donating resources or students interested in attending the school. Have each group write a paragraph directed to the specified audience with a specified purpose. For best results, use butcher paper. When students have completed their writing, ask each group to read it to the class. If they used butcher paper, have them tape the essay to the wall. Have students guess the audience and purpose, noting key components. Note differences in writing on the board

  4. Instruct students to determine their purpose and write a purpose statement for their presentation. Have them pair-share with a partner for feedback and ideas

  5. For practice have students argue a position on a selected issue in letters with two different purposes (for example, one letter to entertain and another to inform). Students can work with peer groups. 

Downloadable Resources 
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