Definition Writing

Definition arguments require you to make an argument about something that needs to be defined better (formal definition) or something that is usually thought of as a member of one category but that would better fit into another category (operational definition). You may decide to make a definition by example, but it’s more likely that you’ll use examples to help you support either a formal or operational argument.

What is a definitional essay?

Topic:  Is allowing students to use their cell phones in class distracting to learning?

In this unit, you will collaborate and create an essay with the entire class which argues both sides of the question by using a definitional mode of support. Each student needs to take a stance (yes it is distracting or no it is not),  and then research source material for supporting your side of the argument.

Each student needs to take a stance and research source material for supporting the argument with information that contains both formal and operational definitions.

We will use Padlet technology to collect the supporting material in the prewriting stage of the process, synthesize* the data, and then use Google docs for the drafting stage. Everyone will edit and revise the draft of the essay and eventually publish the final draft on their Definition blog page.

*How do you effectively synthesize evidence from source materials to support a position?

D-day work: Begin creating content for the group essay by contributing to the Padlet with research from sources. Remember to find terms and words that need to be defined.

F-day work: When finished, synthesize the content and draft an essay in Google docs.


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