Common Core Standards: ELA
ELA: KINDERGARTEN - GRADE 12
LITERACY: GRADES 6 - 12
Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
- 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.
- Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly and thoroughly, supplying the most relevant evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both in a manner that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level, concerns, values, and possible biases.
- Use words, phrases, and clauses as well as varied syntax to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships between claim(s) and reasons, between reasons and evidence, and between claim(s) and counterclaims.
- Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.
- Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.
Some say all writing is an argument, and we won’t argue with that. This standard helps students generate a question worthy of discussion between opposing sides. Using their critical thinking skills, students will take a position and develop a thesis statement, design solid claims, and gather supporting evidence to bolster those claims. In addition, they’ll take a careful look at the opposing viewpoint, make certain concessions, and then, using their reasoning skills, discredit those counterclaims with competing and compelling proof that their side is the right side. Here’s a sample assignment that you might use with your class.
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Teaching Guides Using this Standard
- 1984 Teacher Pass
- A Raisin in the Sun Teacher Pass
- A Rose For Emily Teacher Pass
- Animal Farm Teacher Pass
- Antigone Teacher Pass
- Beowulf Teacher Pass
- Brave New World Teacher Pass
- Fahrenheit 451 Teacher Pass
- Fences Teacher Pass
- Frankenstein Teacher Pass
- Grapes Of Wrath Teacher Pass
- Great Expectations Teacher Pass
- Hamlet Teacher Pass
- Julius Caesar Teacher Pass
- King Lear Teacher Pass
- Lord of the Flies Teacher Pass
- Moby Dick Teacher Pass
- Narrative of Frederick Douglass Teacher Pass
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Teacher Pass
- Romeo and Juliet Teacher Pass
- Sula Teacher Pass
- The Aeneid Teacher Pass
- The As I Lay Dying Teacher Pass
- The Bluest Eye Teacher Pass
- The Canterbury Tales General Prologue Teacher Pass
- The Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath's Prologue Teacher Pass
- The Catch-22 Teacher Pass
- The Catcher in the Rye Teacher Pass
- The Crucible Teacher Pass
- The Lottery Teacher Pass
- The Old Man and the Sea Teacher Pass
- Things Fall Apart Teacher Pass
- To Kill a Mockingbird Teacher Pass
- Twilight Teacher Pass
You’ve studied The Jungle by Sinclair Lewis. Remember, it’s the BIG book, not The Jungle Book, with the animal tales. You’ve been asked to develop an argument around one of the topics in the story. The realistic novel follows a Lithuanian immigrant family struggling with the discrimination and unsafe working conditions in Chicago’s meatpacking industry in the early 20th century. Think Rocky Balboa with an accent.
Your notes indicate that many appropriate topics are in the novel, such as women’s rights, immigration, worker’s reform, and unions. You are to choose one of these topics, develop a research question, and collect information. Finally, you’ll take a side on the issue and shape an essay into an effective argument.
Time to put on those boxing gloves, girls and boys! Your goal is to prove your viewpoint regarding your topic. You choose to debate whether or not unions are beneficial to the American economy. This subject is often in the news today as worker’s rights are being challenged in various state legislatures. You believe that unions, from their beginnings, have benefited both workers and the economy. They provide secure jobs, benefits, and pensions to those workers who then invest their wages into the American economy. Seems EVERYBODY wants those things, don’t they? A no-brainer, you say.
With that thesis in mind, you consider what sub-topics you want to include, and what arguments you will use. For example, you’ll want to include a brief history of unions, their purpose, why they are important, and the advantages they provide workers and the American economy. You’ll argue that these benefits…fair wages, safe working conditions, and evenhanded treatment…are good.
You also find counterarguments or reasons why unions are undesirable for some. NO WAAAAY!!! Businesses lose profits, non-union workers feel disadvantaged, demands from union workers would increase, and employers would have less control over them. Hmm… maybe there IS another side to the argument.
You expect your paper to be quite lengthy since you will have to fairly and thoroughly consider both sides of the argument, but through analysis and your brilliant powers of reasoning, you are certain you can solidly defend your thesis statement. Your research will provide facts, examples, statistics, and anecdotes to back up your argument.
To organize your paper, you will state your claims based on the research, listing your strongest arguments at the beginning and end of your body paragraphs. In the middle, you will present counterarguments to your proposal, but because you’re, well, YOU, you will thump your opponent by thoroughly proving your viewpoint is the correct one. You will introduce each claim and offer relevant and supporting evidence and specific details. Then, you’ll explain WHY the claim works or doesn’t work. Be sure to use transition words, phrases, and, clauses that show how your ideas are connected: although, of course, certainly, to be sure, even though, after all, and though Y might be true…
The tone of the paper is clearly academic, so no slang allowed. DANG! Avoid the use of I in your paper; take on the persona of a woman in charge! Show those biceps! Instead of I believe unions are beneficial, simply write, Unions are beneficial. You can state a position and yet maintain an effective, objective tone. You’ll be more convincing if you remain unbiased, and when you reach that concluding statement that puts a final value on the unions, you’ll have everyone screaming, I’m a believer!
Quiz QuestionsHere's an example of a quiz that could be used to test this standard.
Mark each question as True or False.
- Writing a Killer Conclusion
- How to Write A Killer Thesis Statement
- Inductive vs. Deductive Reasoning
- Teaching Animal Farm: To Ban or Not to Ban; That is the Question
- As I Lay Dying: Your Mother’s a Fish: Faulkner and Modernist Art
- As I Lay Dying: Dysfunction Junction: Somebody, Help These Bundrens!
- Beloved: "Rememory"
- Beloved: Back to the Source
- Teaching Beowulf: Adapting Beowulf
- Black Boy: The Great Debate
- Teaching Brave New World: Our Ford, Who art in ... Detroit?
- Catch-22: Achilles’ Heel: Antiheroes in Catch-22 and the Iliad
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Book vs. Movie
- Cry, the Beloved Country: Back to the Future
- Teaching A Good Man is Hard to Find: Killer Short Stories: Flannery O'Connor and Southern Gothic Literature
- Teaching A Raisin in the Sun: Newsletter
- A Room of One's Own: The Counterargument—Why Can't We Share a Room?
- Teaching A Rose for Emily: Comparing Song to Text
- Teaching A Rose for Emily: Put Miss Emily On Trial
- A Separate Peace: Real History in Made-Up Devon
- Teaching A Tale of Two Cities: Mapping A Tale of Two Cities
- Teaching The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: It Runs in the Family
- Teaching The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: The N-Word
- Teaching The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Huck Finn vs. Video Games
- All Quiet on the Western Front: Oh The Humanity!
- Teaching Animal Farm: Don't Wanna Be Your Beast of Burden: Animal Farm Music
- Teaching Animal Farm: You Say You Want A (R)evolution?
- Teaching 1984: From Doublethink to Doublespeak
- Teaching 1984: This Is Why I Write
- A Clockwork Orange: Dis-Toe-Pea-Ahhhhh
- A Clockwork Orange: Nothing Good Happens after Midnight
- A Doll's House: Nora's Secret Diary
- A Doll's House: The Aftermath
- A Doll's House: Debate Team
- Teaching A Farewell to Arms: Hemingway and ... Yiyun Li?