Get your students excited about researching and writing argument essays with this month-long unit! In this unit, students first read, analyze, and evaluate columns from The New York Times “Room for Debate” feature on relevant real-world topics. Example topics include whether doctors are over-prescribing ADHD medications, whether minors should be tried as adults for violent crimes, and whether parents should be arrested for providing alcohol to teens. There are 17 online links to topics in total, but the teacher could certainly modify topics by searching through selections at the website.
Then, using their reading as inspiration, students select a topic for research and use their research to write a formal argument essay. As they progress through the unit, the teacher scaffolds instruction and provides practice for understanding plagiarism, paraphrasing, MLA formatting, and argumentation. The teacher also acts as a facilitator, guiding students through the writing process as they outline, draft, provide peer feedback, and then finally write their polished final argument essays.
This unit has been developed over several years teaching courses such as English 101 at the local community college and English for juniors in high school. However, advanced middle school students should be able to complete the lesson activities and assignments, too.
The zip file includes the following:
-Unit Overview and CCSS Standards,
-Basic Parts of an Argument Power Point,
-Project Overview (editable),
-“Room for Debate” Pre-Writing Hand Out (editable),
-Column Annotation and Analysis Hand Out,
-Article Analysis Worksheets,
-Developing a Thesis and Outline Power Point,
-Model Outline and Sample Paragraph,
-Outline Graphic Organizer,
-Peer Review Hand Out,
Additional links to excellent online resources for MLA formatting and paraphrasing and avoiding plagiarism are also included.
If you would prefer, you can simply purchase some of these individual files (part of the unit above) separately:
Thesis and Outline Powerpoint
And here are more resources for teaching argument:
Revision Task Cards for Argument Essays
Argument Bell Ringers
Writing Task Paired Passage: Speech and War Prayer