In this unit, students are introduced to the skills, practices, and routines of argument writing by working collaboratively with their peers to examine argument models, plan for their writing, and gather evidence. Students independently practice writing and revising and also engage in peer review to revise their work. Throughout the unit, the class will construct an Argument Writing Checklist, which students will use to guide their drafting, review, and finalization. By the end of the unit, students will have produced fully developed arguments.
Students begin the unit by reading two model argument texts, “Keep on Reading” and “We Need the League,” exploring how each writer organizes and expresses his ideas. Using the models as examples, students learn the purpose of argument writing, the key components of an argument, and the importance of considering one’s audience. Students then analyze the prompt for this unit’s argument writing assignment, which asks them to take a position on whether their school should participate in the national event “Shut Down Your Screen Week.”
In order to build their knowledge on the argument topic and practice the skill of gathering evidence to support claims, students read and analyze four articles that discuss the effects of digital media usage. After gathering evidence and deciding on a central claim, students learn how to plan their arguments and begin drafting. Students draft their arguments in a nonlinear process, focusing first on developing the supporting claims, evidence, and reasoning in their body paragraphs before composing a clear, engaging introduction and powerful, logical conclusion. To continue to strengthen their drafts, students engage in peer review and teacher conferences, incorporating constructive feedback into their revisions. Finally, students learn and apply the conventions of the editing process to finalize their arguments. To close the unit, students engage in a brief activity in which they reflect on the writing process, identifying strategies that helped them succeed as well as areas for improvement.
This unit contains a set of supplemental skills lessons, which provide direct instruction on discrete writing skills. Teachers can choose to implement all of these lessons or only those that address the needs of their students. Teachers also have the option of implementing activities from the module’s vocabulary lesson throughout the unit to support students’ comprehension. Student learning is assessed based on demonstrated planning, drafting, revising, and editing throughout the writing process. At the end of the unit, students are assessed on the effectiveness of their finalized drafts according to the class-generated Argument Writing Checklist.
Unit and/or Assessment Task Texts
“Keep on Reading” (argument model)
“We Need the League” (argument model)
“Kids Still Getting Too Much ‘Screen Time’: CDC” by Amy Norton
“Social Media as Community” by Keith Hampton
“Attached to Technology and Paying a Price” by Matt Richtel
“Education 2.0: Never Memorize Again?” by Sarah Perez
Setting up the activity in your classroom:
Depending on the grade level and maturity level of each class, activities can be facilitated as independent work, collaborative group work, or whole class instruction.
If a computer is available for each student, guide students to the activities either through printed URLs on handouts or on the board.
If you are working in a lab, set up the computers to be on the desired Web site as students walk into class. If there are fewer computers than students, group the students by reading level. Assign each student a role: a "driver" who navigates the Web, a timer who keeps the group on task, and a note taker. If there are more than three students per computer, you can add roles like a team leader, a team reporter, etc. If your classroom is set up in collaborative groups, try learning stations. Have rotating groups working on the computer (s), reading printed background information, holding smaller group discussions, writing first drafts to a given writing prompt, etc.
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Stimulate background knowledge with these related links:
Teaching With Documents Lesson Plan: Woman Suffrage and the 19th Amendment
The National Archives presents several primary source documents - both visual and text - that give students a background on women's suffrage and the 19th Amendment
Center for Women and Politics
With Rutgers University, this Web site gives a timeline of firsts for women in politics from 1872 to today including information on current women office holders and state-by-state historical summaries.
The Online Archive of California: Suffragists Oral History Project
The Suffragists Oral History Project was designed to tape record interviews with the leaders of the women's suffrage movement in order to document their activities on behalf of passage of the Nineteenth Amendment and their continuing careers as leaders of movements for welfare and labor reform, world peace, and the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment.
By Popular Demand: "Votes for Women" Suffrage Pictures, 1850—1920
This extensive photographic collection of women's suffrage in the United States includes portraits of famous suffragettes, parades, picketing, and anti-suffrage displays.
Not for Ourselves Alone
PBS presents the story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony with key historic documents and essays as well as a look at where women are today.
The New York Times Crossword Puzzle for Women's History Month
This student puzzle has clues related to the leaders of the women's suffrage movement, politicians, artists and more. This difficult puzzle is appropriate for grades 6 and up.
The National Women's History Museum
Take a tour of women's history in the U.S. including audio of suffragette songs, photographs, cartoons, and a quiz.
Find more teacher and student related material with AOL@School.
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Voting Dates Fact Sheet: Grades 4—8
This Voting Dates Fact Sheet focuses student attention when exploring the "When Did Women Vote?" section of the activity. Students must write the years of women's suffrage for 25 countries and 15 U.S. states, place the dates in order, and analyze the information to draw conclusions. See Assessment and Evaluation.
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