During this unit, the students will become proficient in using evidence to build argumentative cases in their writing. Prior to the writing process, students will learn and practice organizing ideas to support and refute claims relating to the argument. The students will also support higher order language in their writing, which in turn will gain importance for their argumentative claims.

Common Core Standards

RL.9-10.5. Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure a text, order events within it (e.g., parallel plots), and manipulate time (e.g., pacing, flashbacks) create such effects as mystery, tension, or surprise.
RI.9-10.2. Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
W.9-10.2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
  • Introduce a topic; organize complex ideas, concepts, and information to make important connections and distinctions; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
  • Develop the topic with well-chosen, relevant, and sufficient facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience’s knowledge of the topic.
  • Use appropriate and varied transitions to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships among complex ideas and concepts.
  • Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to manage the complexity of the topic.
  • 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 information or explanation presented (e.g., articulating implications or the significance of the topic).
W.9-10.7. Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
SL.9-10.1. Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9–10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
  • Come to discussions prepared, having read and researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence from texts and other research on the topic or issue to stimulate a thoughtful, well-reasoned exchange of ideas.
  • Work with peers to set rules for collegial discussions and decision-making (e.g., informal consensus, taking votes on key issues, presentation of alternate views), clear goals and deadlines, and individual roles as needed.
  • Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that relate the current discussion to broader themes or larger ideas; actively incorporate others into the discussion; and clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions.
  • Respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarize points of agreement and disagreement, and, when warranted, qualify or justify their own views and understanding and make new connections in light of the evidence and reasoning presented.
SL.9-10.4. Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and task.L.9-10.3. Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.

Suggested Student Objectives

In alignment with the common core standards, the suggested student objectives include:
  • Examining their own and other’s interpretations of a text.
  • Complete educated research supportive of the claims being presented.
  • Reason critically and weigh the importance of evidence.
  • Anticipate and address counterarguments and/or objections.
  • Defend, refute, and offer new information to be presented in an argument.
  • Write a well-developed and researched argumentative piece with an audience of the work in mind.

Terminology/Academic Vocabulary

Argumentative Vocabulary

Poetic Vocabulary
Figurative Language
Narrative Poetry

Alliteration – the commencement of two or more stressed syllables of a word group with the same consonant sound
Analogy – a similarity between like features of two things on which a comparison may be based
Assonance – rhyme in which the same vowel sounds are used with different consonants in the stressed syllables of the rhyming words
Backing – additional logic or reasoning that may be necessary to support the warrant
Ballad – simple, narrative poem of folk origin composed in short stanzas
Claim – the overall thesis the writing will argue for
Consonance – the use of the repetition of consonant or consonant patterns as a rhyming device
Counterclaim – a claim that negates or disagrees with the claim/thesis
Data – evidence gathered to support the claim
Enjambment – the running on of a thought from one line to the next without a syntactical break
Ethos – based on character, credibility, or reliability of the writer
Figurative Language – speech or language that departs from literal meaning in order to achieve special effect or meaning
Free Verse – poetry that does not follow a fixed metrical pattern
Imagery – the formation of mental images, figures, or likenesses of things
Lyric Poetry – type of emotional, song-like poetry, distinguished from dramatic/narrative poetry
Narrative Poetry – poetry focusing on the account of events, experiences, etc.
Ode – lyric poem typically of elaborate or irregular metrical form expressed in enthusiastic emotion
Paraphrase – restatement of a text, passage, or work giving the meaning in another form
Pathos – appeals to the audience’s needs, values, and emotional stability
Rebuttal – evidence that negates or disagrees with the counterclaim
Rhythm – movement or procedure with uniform or patterned recurrence of a beat or accent
Sonnet – poem expressive of a single thought or idea, fourteen lines in length, usually in iambic pentameter, with rhymes organized into one of a certain definite scheme
Warrant – explanation of why or how the data supports the claim, the underlying assumption that connects your data to your claim

Required Novels/Units

Romeo and Juliet (William Shakespeare)

Suggested Additional Readings

Grade 9 Module Three Suggested Texts (New York State Education Department)

“A Poetry Reading at West Point” (William Matthews)
“Did I Miss Anything” (Tom Wayman)
“Girl” (Jamaica Kincaid)
“Snake” (D.H. Lawrence)
“The Fish” (Elizabeth Bishop)
“The Wood-Pile” (Robert Frost)

1984 (George Orwell)
A Doll’s House (Henrik Isben)
Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior (Grandin)
The Awakening (Kate Chopin)
The Stranger (Albert Camus)

Short Stories
“Death of a Pig” (E.B. White) (http://www.theatlantic.com/ideastour/animals/white-full.html)
“To Room 19” (Doris Lessing)

“The Depressive and the Psychopath” (Dave Cullen)

According to the Common Core website grades six and up should focus on the subgenres of sonnets, odes, ballads, epics, and narrative/lyrical/free verse poems. Therefore, the following list is comprised of poetry with each of the aforementioned genres in mind.

"Bogland" (Seamus Heaney)
"Ode on a Grecian Urn" (John Keats)

Free Verse
"Hanging Fire" (Audre Lorde) SpringBoard Workbook p. 220
"kidnap poem" (Nikki Giovanni) SpringBoard Workbook p. 242
"Poetry" (Pablo Neruda) SpringBoard Workbook p. 191
"The Gift" (Li-Young Lee)
"Theme for English B" (Langston Hughes) McDougal Littell - The Language of Literature p. 445
"Training" (Demetrio Herrera) McDougal Littell - The Language of Literature p. 212

Lyric Poetry
"In Time of Silver Rain" (Langston Hughes)
"Lineage" (Margaret Walker) McDougal Littell - The Language of Literature p. 360
"The Underground" (Seamus Heaney)

Narrative Poetry
"Morning Glory" (Naomi Shihab Nye)
"The Writer" (Richard Wilbur) McDougal Littell - The Language of Literature p. 447

"Ode on a Grecian Urn" (John Keats)

Sonnet - Petrarchan
"London" (William Wordsworth)

Sonnet - Shakespearean
"Ozymandias" (Percy Bysshe Shelley)
Sonnet 18 (William Shakespeare) SpringBoard Workbook p. 225
Sonnet 73 (William Shakespeare)


The Five Parts of Argument Writing
1. What do you think?
Every argument is based on some claim – a statement that readers do not already accept without good reason.
2. Why do you think that?
You cannot expect readers to accept your claim because you say so. They look for you to support it with reasons – statements that, taken together, give readers a basis for accepting your claim.
3. How do you know that your reasons are true?
Readers may not accept your reasons unless you support them with evidence – statements, numbers, photographs, or other representations of states of affairs that your readers accept without question.
4. Why do you think your reasons support your claim?
Readers may not initially see why your reasons and evidence support your claim. In this case, you need to supply a warrant – a general principle usually drawn from background knowledge shared by you and your reader that connects your reasons to your claim. Think of the warrant as the foundation on which your argument rests. If your reader does not accept your warrant, he/she will most likely not accept your claim or reasons either.
5. How do you plan on addressing any alternative claim (reason, evidence, or warrant) that does not support the claim in question?
A reader may have counterclaims that dispute the claim you made in your argument. You must acknowledge the reader’s skepticism and respond to it.

Writing an Argument

Planning Stage
For an argumentative essay to be effective, it must contain certain elements. For this reason, you must plan and prepare before you jump into the writing stage.

Find a Good Topic
To find a good topic for an argumentative essay, you should consider several issues that will have two conflicting points of view or very different conclusions. As you look over the list of topics, you should find one that really sparks your interest. Additionally, you have to consider what position you can back up with reasoning and evidence. Remember - you need to be able to explain why your belief is reasonable and logical.

Consider Both Sides of Your Topic and Take a Position
Once you have selected a topic that you feel strongly about, you should make a list of points for both sides of the argument and pick a side. One of your first objectives in your essay will be to present both sides of your issue with an assessment of each. In the planning stage, you need to consider strong arguments for the “other” side.

Gather Evidence
In an argumentative essay, you will have to provide evidence without providing drama. You’ll explore two sides of a topic briefly, then provide proof as to why one side of the position is the best one.

Writing Stage
Once you’ve given yourself a solid foundation to work with, you can begin to craft your essay. An argumentative essay should contain three parts: the introduction, body, and conclusion. The length of these parts (number of paragraphs) will vary, depending on the length of your essay assignment.

Introduce Your Topic and Assert Your Side
The first paragraph of your argument essay should contain a brief explanation of your topic, some background information, and a thesis statement. In this case, your thesis will be a statement of your position on a particular topic.

Present Both Sides of the Controversy
The body of your essay will contain the meat of your argument. You should go into more detail about the two sides of your controversy and state the strongest points of the counter to the issue. After describing the “other” side, you will present your own viewpoint and then provide evidence to show why your position is the correct one. Select your strongest evidence and present your points one by one. Use a mix of evidence types, from statistics to other studies and anecdotal stories.

Tips for Argumentative Writing
  1. Avoid emotional language and instead focus on proving your point of view.
  2. Realize the difference between a logical conclusion and emotional point of view.
  3. Do not make up evidence to support your claim or disprove counterclaims.
  4. Cite any sources that you use in your argument.
  5. Make an outline of which to follow in writing your piece.
  6. Be prepared to defend your side by knowing the strongest arguments that the other side will present. You also might be challenged on your evidence, so be prepared to defend it.

Resource Links

Argumentative Writing – How to Write an Argumentative Essay
Developed at California State University

Argumentative Writing Handout – What is an Argumentative Essay?
Developed at the University of North Carolina

Mesa Community College
Defining Arguments
Most Commonly Used Fallacies
Template of an Argument
Topic Suggestions and Resources for Research

Perdue Online Writing Lab
Developing Thesis Statements
Organizing Your Argument
Using Research and Evidence
Using Rhetorical Strategies
Writing a Literary Analysis

Romeo and Juliet Argumentation
Unit and Lesson Plans

Vocabulary Substitutes in Argumentative Writing


Argumentative Writing Worksheets (Introductory Level)

Argumentative Writing Blueprint

Convince Mom and Dad
One of the basic elements of an argument is to understand the "opposing side"; in this case, the opposing side is the student's parents. Students will write a letter to their mom and/or dad in which they try to persuade their parents to let them do something their parents normally would not let them do. For this assignment, the final letter must be typed and the tone should be respectful with at least three fully developed paragraphs of at least five to six sentences each. The letter should follow a business letter format, and there should be an additional paragraph in which the student acknowledges why the parent would have objections to the student's request; the student, however, should put those objections to rest with gentle persuasion and good reasoning.

Fact verses Opinion Introduction and Quiz

Fact verses OpinionGraphic Organizer

Fact verses OpinionTutorial

Introduction to Argumentative Writing with Activities - Convince Me!


Assessment #1
Argumentative Writing Piece on Romeo and Juliet
Argument: Who is to blame for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet?

Assessment #2
Argumentative Writing Piece on Poetry, Specific Poet, or Era of Poetry

  1. Form a thesis. As you weigh the pros and cons about your thesis, be able to defend it with clear and factual arguments. An example of an argumentative poetic thesis could be, “The most memorable poems were written in the romantic era.”
  2. Start with the arguments that support your thesis. You are trying to convince your reader to believe you, so you should begin the essay with facts that speak in favor of your thesis. The exemplar thesis could be supported by mentioning famous poets from that era and explaining why they each are remembered.
  3. Convince your reader further. You will need at least three arguments that support your thesis in order to create a successful argumentative essay. Going back with the exemplar thesis, poems in the era of romantics are known for the richness of syntax. Therefore, you could write about how the poets structured their poems in that era and explain why that makes them good.
  4. Connect your thesis to the present. The best way to convince your reader your thesis is correct is to present it as still being relevant. The themes often used in romantics were love, loss, and nature, as well as self-doubt and self-questioning. Explain how those themes are timeless and how many people still relate to them today.
  5. Find an opposing idea. Although it may seem counterproductive, the structure of an argumentative essay needs an idea that recognizes differing viewpoints. When you are writing about poetry, you can pick another poet, poem, or era that also carries significance today and describe why others feel they is memorable.
  6. Conclude with the main ideas. Go through your essay and sum up the main points that you made, including your main thesis, in the conclusion of the essay. Keep the conclusion short and describe each idea with only one sentence.

Assessment #3
Argumentative Writing on a Student Selected Topic
The students will select an argumentative topic from the website link (http://homeworktips.about.com/od/essaywriting/a/argumenttopics.htm). The students will then follow the steps of writing an argumentative essay (found in the writing section of this resource) and present their work to the class. Additionally, the class can evaluate the effectiveness of each argument and provide rebuttals for facts that were not addressed.


Argumentative Vocabulary Terms Worksheet
Five Parts of Argumentative Writing Worksheet
Graphic Organizer for Argumentative Writing
Poetic Vocabulary Terms Worksheet
Writing an Argument Worksheet