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Week 18: Write like your life depends on it

January 21, 2018




 This week we started a new unit regarding argumentation writing.  The topic was regarding the recent banning of To Kill a Mockingbird in the Biloxi School District. You all were tasked with reading  articles and determining if you think the book should be banned or not.  We have not started reading the novel, so you all had to rely completely on the text evidence from the articles, as opposed to your own opinions. In doing so, we analyzed claims, counterclaims, refutations, and calls to action.  We also read three articles and marked the evidence with the intent to develop your essay by the end of the month. 


              It is my hope that each of you will apply what you have learned regarding argumentative writing to the FSA writing test, which is coming up at the beginning of March.  Yet, above this, I hope you are learning to make judgments based on what you have researched.  And with these judgments, I hope you are able to apply your thoughts in both speech and writing.


           This is a skill that will take you much further in life than simply knowing how to test well or even get into the college of your choice.  I can say this firsthand, as I have spent nearly eight hours this week on the phone with my health insurance company.  Because I have rheumatoid arthritis, I take a very expensive medication called Humira.  Without insurance, the bimonthly injections are nearly $4000 per month.  With insurance, they are $5 per month.  I have been on the medication for almost five years, and it was up for renewal with the new year.  For some unknown reason, my insurance company denied my claim.  As a result, I had to launch a full investigation of my own.  Why was the claim denied?  What had changed?  What could be done?  How was it going to affect my health? 


         Without my medication, I can get into a flare up very quickly, so I knew time was of essence.  I began calling my doctor, writing a letter of an appeal, pleading with my insurance company, providing evidence as to why I desperately needed the medication, etc.  Fortunately, after a lengthy battle, my appeal was approved, and my medicine was shipped to my door this past Saturday.  In fighting this battle, I realized it was not unlike what I had been asking each of you to do all week:  take a stance, provide a claim, support the claim with evidence, and refuse to back down from your position no matter what counter is offered.  I also realized how fortunate I am to have been taught the skills of persuasion from an early age.  Without these skills, I likely would be suffering in excruciating pain, as some may be who do not possess the skill of building a case and effectively communicating a concern.


           All of this to say, I don't want any of you to think that what you are learning in this class is not something you will apply to other areas of your life.  I assure you the skills you are learning in this class (and others) are skills that will bring you tremendous benefit in every area of your life.  Today it is an essay, but tomorrow it could be the advocacy of a child or your own health.  Pay attention, embrace learning, write well.  After all, your life could depend on it.  


Building a Case Daily,



Mrs. Bell              



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