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Writing an Argument

Students hone their skills in writing an argument by working to refute or defend a complex prompt provided by their teacher.
Grade 11 | AP English | Common Core Standards: W.11-12.1, W.11-12.4, W.11-12.5, and W.11-12.8
Teacher: Topher Kandik, SEED School, Washington, DC

Lesson Summary

In this Advanced Placement English class, students hone their skills in writing an argument by working to refute or defend a complex prompt provided by their teacher: Democracy effectively enacted the will of the people during the Industrial Era. In order to develop their piece of writing, students must gather information from various sources (political cartoons, historical biographies, literary texts) and determine whether each one provides support for or detracts from their argument, and consider any counterarguments that can be made.

Things to watch for:

  • Students share ideas to form stronger arguments
  • Multiple sources of information used

Alignment to Common Core Standards

Writing Standards

Text Types and Purposes

  • Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence. (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.1)
  • Introduce precise, knowledgeable claim(s), establish the significance of the claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that logically sequences claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence. (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.1a)
  • Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing. (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.1d)

Production and Distribution of Writing

  • Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1–3 above.) (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.4)
  • Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience. (Editing for conventions should demonstrate command of Language standards 1–3 up to and including grades 11–12 here.) (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.5)

Research to Build and Present Knowledge

  • Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the strengths and limitations of each source in terms of the task, purpose, and audience; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and overreliance on any one source and following a standard format for citation. (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.8)

Classroom Strategies

Strategies that can be used to support this lesson:

Classroom Reflection


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