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Argumentative Essay Planning Map

Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Unit

Modeling Academic Writing Through Scholarly Article Presentations

Students prepare an already published scholarly article for presentation, with an emphasis on identification of the author's thesis and argument structure.


Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

I Have a Dream: Exploring Nonviolence in Young Adult Texts

Students will identify how Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream of nonviolent conflict-resolution is reinterpreted in modern texts. Homework is differentiated to prompt discussion on how nonviolence is portrayed through characterization and conflict. Students will be formally assessed on a thesis essay that addresses the Six Kingian Principles of Nonviolence.


Grades   6 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Unit

Twenty-First Century Informational Literacy: Integrating Research Techniques and Technology

Students develop their reading, writing, research, and technology skills using graphic novels. As a final activity, students create their own graphic novels using comic software.


Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Poetry Reading and Interpretation Through Extensive Modeling

Students will research, read, clarify, analyze, and interpret John Berryman's poetry and create a sustained evaluation of a given poem in a three- to four-page essay.


Grades   7 – 10  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Picture This: Combining Infographics and Argumentative Writing

After researching topics that the students have chosen, students write argumentative essays. Then, using Piktochart, students create their own infographics to illustrate their research.


Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

And in Conclusion: Inquiring into Strategies for Writing Effective Conclusions

While drafting a literary analysis essay (or another type of argument) of their own, students work in pairs to investigate advice for writing conclusions and to analyze conclusions of sample essays. They then draft two conclusions for their essay, select one, and reflect on what they have learned through the process.


Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Defining Moments: Charting Character Evolution in Lord of the Flies

Savagery, treachery, lost innocence... Lord of the Flies is rife with character development. Use this lesson to help students chart the character changes of Ralph and Jack, both in groups and individually.


Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Developing Citizenship Through Rhetorical Analysis

Students analyze rhetorical strategies in online editorials, building knowledge of strategies and awareness of local and national issues. This lesson teaches students connections between subject, writer, and audience and how rhetorical strategies are used in everyday writing.


Grades   3 – 12  |  Student Interactive  |  Organizing & Summarizing

Persuasion Map

The Persuasion Map is an interactive graphic organizer that enables students to map out their arguments for a persuasive essay or debate.


Grades   3 – 12  |  Student Interactive  |  Organizing & Summarizing

Compare & Contrast Map

The Compare & Contrast Map is an interactive graphic organizer that enables students to organize and outline their ideas for different kinds of comparison essays.


Grades   5 – 12  |  Calendar Activity  |  December 5

Walt Disney was born in 1901.

Students describe female characters in Disney films, discuss their characteristics, and write a thesis statement about them.


Grades   K – 5  |  Strategy Guide

Implementing the Writing Process

This strategy guide explains the writing process and offers practical methods for applying it in your classroom to help students become proficient writers.


Grades   K – 12  |  Strategy Guide

Shared Writing

This strategy guide explains how to use shared writing to teach students effective strategies that will improve their own independent writing ability.


Grades   K – 12  |  Strategy Guide

Write Alouds

This strategy guide explains how to use write-aloud (also known as modeled writing) to teach effective writing strategies and improve students' independent writing ability.


Grades   3 – 12  |  Strategy Guide

Inquiry Charts (I-Charts)

This guide introduces I-Charts, a strategy that enables students to generate meaningful questions about a topic and organize their writing.


Grades   6 – 12  |  Strategy Guide

Developing Evidence-Based Arguments from Texts

This strategy guide clarifies the difference between persuasion and argumentation, stressing the connection between close reading of text to gather evidence and formation of a strong argumentative claim about text.


Grades   6 – 12  |  Strategy Guide

Teaching With Podcasts

This Strategy Guide describes the processes involved in composing and producing audio files that are published online as podcasts.


Focus Question: How can we apply our analysis of argumentative strategies to our writing?

Have students complete the Essay-Order Activity (LW-7-2-2_Essay-Order Activity.docx). Students must cut the pieces of writing into strips, and then assemble them in a logical order. “For this exercise, you will be reordering the pieces of writing on the Essay-Order Activity worksheet. Work with a partner, and discuss why you believe the pieces should be ordered in the sequence you determine. Identify introductions and attention getters, body paragraphs, the three appeals, conclusions, and statements of significance. By seeing how these separate, small units all work together, we can begin to understand how order and structure work to support the argument.”

Discuss students’ results and share the correct order with the Example of Argumentative Letter handout (LW-7-2-2_Example of Argumentative Letter.docx). Give students the opportunity to make any necessary corrections so they have a correct example to refer to later.

Tell students to complete the Analysis of Argumentative Letter assignment, and go over the correct answers with the class (LW-7-2-2_Analysis of Argumentative Letter.docx). Discuss powerful language (intense verbs, precise adjectives), and have students return to the example letter to highlight examples. “If we are going to write with authority and achieve an argumentative tone, our writing should have powerful language. Use clear statements that make concrete impressions on your reader. Using language that shows hesitation or adopting a weak tone weakens your argument as a whole. Let’s look at some more examples of powerful and weak language.”

  • Powerful: I have proven myself to be a dedicated student. I have never once turned in an assignment late or incomplete. I know how to plan ahead to meet due dates, and I would only benefit from joining jazz choir.
  • Weak: In my opinion, I am a pretty good student. I am almost sure that I never turned in a late or incomplete assignment. I think I can probably plan ahead to meet due dates, and I would most likely benefit from joining jazz choir.

View the PowerPoint presentation used in Lesson 1 again (LW-7-2-1_ PowerPoint Presentation.pptx).

Distribute the list of possible Topics for Argumentative Letters (LW-7-2-2_Topics for Argumentative Letters.docx). Have students brainstorm a list of additional topics/claims that would also be appropriate to use. Record these ideas for the class, and have students add them to the list on the handout.

“Decide on a topic, opinion, or claim that you can support with good reasons, facts, examples, and details.”

Next, students will complete the Argumentative Writing Map (LW-7-2-2_Argumentative Writing Map.docx).

Choose a sample topic, announce and write out your thesis, and then model filling out the map for students. Fill in all sections. Let students know that they may have more than three or fewer than three reasons and/or supporting facts, details, and examples, and to fill in their map according to their specific support.

“Before filling out your copy of the map, take some time to think about your opinion or claim. A sentence stating your position will be your thesis statement for this assignment. Once I have approved your thesis, you may begin filling out the map. It will be a guide when you write your actual letter. Write a thesis that clearly states your opinion.”

Visit with students to approve thesis statements.

“Consider how you might use ethos and logos to support your opinion or claim. As you write your supporting points, label what type of appeal they are.” Post and talk through the following guidelines for students. Model ethos and logos with your sample topic, fill them in, and label them on your map.

  • Show that the writer is fair, knowledgeable, and trustworthy. (Also show that the writer is considerate of readers’ opinions by anticipating their counterarguments and responding to them.)
  • Give reasons that support the claim. (Show that the writer put a lot of thought into the issue. Give details and examples. Use facts and statistics. Refer to what the “experts” on your topic have said. If possible, find research to support your claim.)
  • Involve the readers’ emotions. (Note: You may omit this entirely or encourage students to focus mostly on the use of logical reasoning and supporting evidence rather than emotional appeal.)

If time allows, meet in the library to permit students to conduct research during class to find facts that support their claim. Consider guiding their efforts by giving them a list of credible Web sites from which to draw information, or restrict their sources to printed materials from within the library.

After students have completed their maps, have them exchange maps with other students. “Tell your partner which of his/her reasons are the strongest. Which reasons aren’t strong enough yet? How can they be stronger? Write down your partner’s suggestions on your map.”

Collect students’ maps and give them additional feedback before they begin drafting their letters in the next lesson.


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