Students Writing on Students' Rights: Argument Writing (Day 1 of 2)

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SWBAT create a convincing argument by first reading and analyzing various online resources to establish a clear point of view on student rights.

Big Idea

Cases for Student Rights: a relevant subject to support verbal and writing argumentative skills.


20 minutes

As an activator for this first day of reviewing and practicing argument talking and writing, I use a The Power of Persuasion power point presentation, slides 1-8,  to display print ads.  Students' view and respond to the print ads by discussing captivating words and images that advertisers use to persuade the public to support their product or idea. While viewing each ad I ask students to answer these two questions:

  1. What product is being endorsed?
  2. How are you persuaded to buy this product?

I facilitate a discussion on how persuasive the advertisements are in encouraging you to buy their product after giving students a short period of time to discuss each ad.  During the discussion I remind students to use the accountable talk stems while they discuss the ads with a partner and during whole class discussion. 

Building Knowledge

20 minutes

Studetns are given lap top computers for the internet research they will be doing.

Before teaching and re-teaching how to write an argument essay, I want to peek my students interests by having them read and discuss an incident concerning a high school student who posted on a Facebook page derogatory comments about her teacher while at home to vent her frustration

She was suspended for three days by school administration saying she had been "cyber-bullying" the teacher.  After the student, Ms. Evans, graduated she hired a lawyer and sued her former school principal to have her suspension expunged.  Some people feel that the judges decision to hear the case is a victory for the student as well as Internet free speech.  Others feel it has negated the rights of a school to protect the culture of the school community. 

After they download the article, I facilitate a reading and discussion of the article helping students to formulate their personal beliefs and to state a claim for their eventual thesis statements. 

Student Learning Activity

30 minutes

I want the students to now research other court cases concerning student rights to establish resources for their claim.

I begin this part of the lesson by asking students to first go to this site, and reacquaint themselves with the first amendment.  After a brief discussion of the first amendment I ask students to begin thinking about choosing their position by asking these questions:

1.Which side of the  issue or problem are you going to argue?  

I then explain that they will be researching their topic and that an argument essay must provide specific and convincing evidence.  I explain that they will need to structure their argument by first figuring out what evidence they will include in their essay and in what order they will present it.  
I tell them to remember the purpose of the essay while researching information. Before they begin researching on their lap tops I explain that they will be proving a point or their thesis statements. I tell them that their audience will be their peers and that the topic or question they will argue is:
  • Do schools have the right to discipline students who post negative comments about others including their teachers while at home on the internet?

I project this question on the screen, slide 9,  as well as a few suggested URL's and circulate among the students answering questions and keeping them focused on the task while they research their argument resourses.


Wrap Up

5 minutes

Group Share

I ask students to share the stance that they will take when writing their essays. Students put their printed resources in their journals for the next days use.