One of the key steps to effective persuasive writing is the development of a counterclaim and rebuttal; use authentic civic documents as both a model and an exercise for writing students. Align with Common Core Standards, forge cross-curricular connections, and impress your administration during walk-throughs! Most importantly, guide your students to identify the strategies, techniques, and elements used by one of the most dynamic speakers of the modern world. Your students will examine the original statement of the Eight Alabama Clergymen and Martin Luther King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail to identify claims and counterclaims expressed in these two related documents. During this lesson, your students will collaborate, read and analyze non-fiction texts, and use starter sentences to form their own rebuttals. They will then apply the newly learned skills by creating their own claims and counterclaims based on Virginia SOL 11th grade writing prompts. Your students will understand that argument and persuasive writing are important, real world skills used to respectfully examine and discuss resolution to public issues.