Separate Information by Source & Perspective
When writing a persuasive or argumentative piece, the writing process always begins with the collection of information on a T-Chart. Students build a list of facts, quotes, and other details in support of both sides in order to then determine the strongest position.
When first pulling perspective-based information from sources, start simply. Initially, provide two texts–one text in support of each perspective. Show how all the details for one text support one side and all the details within the other text represent the other position. Compare this to the all-blue details on one side of a Rubik’s Cube and the all-yellow details on the other side.
A more complex scenario involves texts that include pros and cons for both perspectives. This is represented with “blue” and “yellow” details intermixed within the different passages. Consequently, students have to keep track of not only the information per source but also sort out relevant details and facts per position. This requires a more advanced T-Chart.
Students must read each text and separate out the blue-perspective details from the yellow-perspective details. They also have to recognize the irrelevant information (i.e., the “red, orange, green, and white” details) that is unimportant to their task.
Model how to write the titles of each source in the middle column and create rows. Then, while reading Text A, organize which details support which position from that text. Then, label the second row for Text B and again sort details per perspective. (NOTE: Some texts may have few or no facts for one side and a lot for the other.)
Knowing the source of information isn’t vital for the pre-writing stage, but it is for the drafting step. While composing the piece and weaving in textual evidence, students must cite the source of each fact or quote. Specifically, they must identify which text and where in the text they found the information. This requires a highly organized pre-writing process.