Take a Stand! Writing Claim Statements

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SWBAT identify their opinion about school lunch issues

Big Idea

Students use background knowledge to support reason one of their essay

Reviewing Issues by Standing on a Likert Scale

10 minutes

For an overview of the components in this lesson check this out: claim statements screencast!

I started the lesson with a review of the different issues students had generated to support everyone in completing a claim statement by reviewing a chart and having kids stand in from of a Likert scale.  I thought this would be a great way to review and get kids moving.

Explain to students they will identity how they feel about several school lunch issues by standing on an imaginary line.  Remind them they have filled out Likert Scale in the past when they completed school surveys on different topics.  Use the doc cam to draw a Likert Scale and label it on the left with Strongly Disagree, to Disagree, Neither Disagree or Agree, Agree, Strongly Agree.

Next, tape the same words onto the wall in the classroom.  Demonstrate that if I Strongly Agree with a statement I will stand in front of the word that says Strongly Agree, etc.

Show the various School Lunch Issues the students generated.  Ask for volunteers to come to the front of the room and state the school lunch issue and stand in front of the different words on the Llikert continuum.  Probe the student to give a reason for their opinion.  Continue in this way for several of the issues.


Independent Work

10 minutes

"Today, students I want you to think about the different school lunch issues the class has been discussing. Select an issue you care about and have a strong opinion about.  This will be the topic of your opinion essay.  Take out your boxes and bullets planning form from yesterday.  Read over your claim statement- or finish writing it in the first box that says introduction paragraph."

Demonstrate how to write a claim statement using the doc camera in the first box. (This will eventually be their introduction in their flash draft).  Give at least  two examples.  I will Demo- Writing a Claim Statement about the length of the lunch period and another claim about the issue of the Sack Lunch from home being banned.

Walk around the room to see that all students have written their claim statement.  Another way I can check for understanding is to have the table captain give me a thumbs up when all students at their table have finished the claim statement. 

"Now, that everyone has their claim statement written please come up to the rug for the mini-lesson."


10 minutes

Teaching Point: Writers use their background knowledge to give a reason why they believe the way they do and support their reason with details by using a boxes and bullets planning form.

"Today students, I am going to demonstrate how to fill in box number two on the planning sheet.  I am going to use my experience as a teacher at Roxhill to come up with my main idea and supporting details.  These are all related to my claim statement:  15 minutes is not enough time to eat a healthy school lunch.  

Ok first I will think of a main idea.  Ok, here it is:  Students at Roxhill Elementary do not have enough time to eat a healthy lunch.  I am going to write it here in box #2 (Demo- First Reason: using background knowledge for details)that says paragraph two. Now for my details.  I am going to use information from my head- things I have seen and experienced related students at Roxhill.  "Students sometimes arrive late to the lunchroom.  They have to stand in a long line.  Younger students take awhile to fill their trays and put in their number before sitting down."  Watch me as I jot down these three details from my experience next to the bullet points under the main idea box.

Turn and talk with your partner, what did you see me do?"  Listen in and ask several students to share.  Repeat what they said.  

"In a few minutes you will get into your small groups based on your claim statements.  You will work with a teacher to write your first main idea, as it relates to your claim, based on personal experience."

Show the list of students and teachers, so students will be able to quickly get into their groups and begin working.

Small groups

20 minutes

Room 14 Student Opinions on School Lunch Issues

Students are writing and researching the following claims:

 1. School Lunch is better than lunch brought from home. 

*2. Adults should not force students to eat.

 3. Home lunches should not be banned.

 4. 15 minutes is not enough time to eat a school lunch

Students in my small group are working on the claim statement:  Adults should not force students to eat.

First, I directed students to read their claim statement from box 1.  Then I told them to think of a main idea why they believe this is true. I will develop a conversation here between the students so that their thinking will build on each others.  I can start with students talking in pairs and then move to whole group. I will carefully monitor our use of Discussion Norms so that students are speaking one at a time and listening to each other. Then I say to write that in box 2. After they complete this-

I say, "Think of three reasons or details that explain your main idea from your own experience. Give me a quiet thumb when you have an idea to share."

Students shared their reasons why forcing kids to eat is not a good idea.  They wrote reasons with supporting details next to the bullet points under the second box.  During the small group work, students were reminded of our discussion norms and they listened to each other and added on or revised their thinking.




Share out

5 minutes

To close the lesson, I brought all students back to the rug.  I said, "Today students you used your background knowledge to write a main idea and three supporting details that explained your claim statement.  You wrote your main idea and details on the planning form just like I did.  Let's hear some of your ideas."

I asked students to turn and talk with their partners and talk about their main ideas and supporting details.  

Then I asked for volunteers to read their claim statement, main idea and supporting details.  I am preparing students for later in the day when they have writers workshop.  At that time they will watch me use elaboration to turn my boxes and bullets into a paragraph on my draft.