Strategies to Teach Argumentative Writing

Cultivating strong K-12 writers

It’s not by accident that the first type of writing listed in the standards is persuasive/argumentative. More than just restating information, students must know how to articulate their feelings, opinions, and viewpoints based on logical reasons and relevant evidence. However, for many teachers, this standard is an area of anxiety and weakness. After completing this course, K-12 teachers will possess dozens of lesson ideas that they can easily incorporate into their yearlong writing curriculum.


  • Dissect the argumentative writing standard for what it looks like in primary, intermediate, and secondary classrooms.
  • Receive dozens of mini-lesson ideas that target the essential skills in strong opinion, persuasive, and argumentative writing.
  • Learn which conventions are most relevant in opinion-based writing units.
  • Incorporate media-based texts, including commercials, infomercials, documentaries, online resources, wordless picture books, video clips, and more.
When you complete the course, you’ll be able to:
  • Recognize the subtle but significant differences between persuasive and argumentative writing.
  • Weave frequent argumentative writing experiences into subject-area learning and literary reading.
  • Support students in identifying things they want to change, suggestions they want to make, and problems they want to solve.
  • Execute a customized calendar of lessons to teach opinion, persuasive, and/or argumentative writing.

Top questions teachers ask about teaching writing units:

  • How many different types of writing should I plan to teach in a year?
  • There are so many writing skills I could teach; which ones are most important?
  • How do the 6 Traits fit into the different writing units?
  • Is argumentative writing really all that different from persuasive writing?
  • What is a "short research project" as stated in the writing standards?
  • How do you teach students to stop plagiarizing in informative writing and omit the words I and you in argumentative writing?
  • How can my writing instruction prepare students for the skills they need when writing about their reading on standardized assessments?
  • How can I incorporate informative and argumentative writing into my subject-area learning?
  • How do you wean students off dependence on the teacher to hand-hold them through the writing process/unit?

Kristina Smekens provides the answers to these questions and many more!


Your Instructor

Kristina Smekens
Kristina Smekens

A full-time literacy consultant, Kristina has built a reputation for using enthusiasm, humor, and common sense to equip K-12 educators with practical, demystifying strategies for teaching reading and writing.

As president and lead consultant for Smekens Education, Kristina is constantly developing new strategies to help teachers meet the demands of today’s College and Career-Ready Standards. She shares those strategies with teachers across the United States and beyond through on-site school trainings, regional seminars, and an always-growing pool of print, digital, and video resources.

Kristina has a gift for making the complex seem simple— for showing teachers how to meet the needs of readers and writers by bridging the gap between education research and classroom-tested strategies that work. Well known for offering innovative ideas, Kristina has created more than 50 “Smekens Originals,” a compilation of books, guides, and classroom tools designed to help teachers implement best-practice literacy strategies. Among the most popular of these resources are her best-selling books, Launching the Writer’s Workshop: Grades K-2, and Launching the Writer’s Workshop: Grades 3-12.

You are welcome to contact Kristina directly: kristina@smekenseducation.com.



Contact Smekens Education toll free:

(888) 376-0448

What teachers say about this course

“Thank you for breaking down the standards into teachable pieces!” K. Kirk

“I finally understand the difference between persuasion and argument. That was worth the cost of admission.” Hillary Braden, Grades 6-8, New Haven Middle School, New Haven, IN

“I have a plan now to get my students on track for their writing. In the middle levels, I find that it can be difficult to find a way to scaffold without spoon feeding. Now, I feel equipped!” Cara Duensing, Grades 6-8 Language Arts Teacher, Suburban Bethlehem Lutheran School, Fort Wayne, IN

“This content will help me strengthen my students’ argumentative writing by using the steps that Kristina Smekens has provided. I learned so much more about ways to boost my students’ argumentative writing skills. This workshop is a must-go!” Sara Martin, English Grades 6-12, Clinton Prairie Jr/Sr High School, Frankfort, IN

“Having lessons and ideas that I can implement tomorrow is wonderful!” Tara Smith, English Grades 9 & 12, Clinton Prairie Jr/Sr High School, Frankfort, IN

“I will use this in my science curriculum to make learning more interesting while secretly teaching effective writing strategies!” Laura Wolf, Grade 5, Southside Elementary, Columbus, IN

“Kristina helped me set up a logical flow of mini-units to boost my writing lessons. Excellent, brilliant, helpful!” Shannon Edmondson, Grade 3, Prairie View Elementary School, Rolling Prairie, IN

Class Curriculum

  Introduction to the course
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  Unit Considerations
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Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course can begin at any time.
How long do I have access to the course?
After enrollment, students have access to the content for 30 days. You determine how fast or slow you want to progress through the course during this time.
Can I share my course with colleagues?
Sorry, course sharing is not allowed. Our Terms of Use specify that one registration fee allows access for just one person. However, we are happy to offer group discounts. Give us a call at (888) 376-0448 to get the details.
Can I get continuing education credits?
Most likely! With prior approval from your school district, participants may receive credit for up to 5 hours of professional development for each course. A Certificate of Completion is provided to participants when they complete all aspects of the course.
Can I earn graduate credit?
Thanks to a partnership with the Midwest Teachers Institute, educators who enroll in two eligible webAcademy courses simultaneously can earn three hours of nationally-accredited graduate credit for just $375. These are non-degree credits which are designed for professional certification renewals and salary step increases. Contact Brady Smekens, Director of Professional Development, for details, (888) 376-0448.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are not satisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 10 days, and we will give you a full refund.
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