Sins of the Father: Developing a Claim Using Evidence from Fences

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SWBAT write a body paragraph of an argument essay focusing on developing a claims or counterclaim by providing sufficient and relevant evidence.

Big Idea

Can we defend our position by developing our claim using C.E.E.?


Today is Part Two of our Summative Assessment for this unit. In this lesson, my students will continue to work on the performance task for the Fences unit.

To write their argumentative essays, we will use C.E.E. again. We used C.E.E.for the first time in our poetry unit in Lesson #6  and Lesson #9

C.E.E. is the format for an evidence-based paragraph - CLAIM, EVIDENCE, EXPLANATION. When my students met C.E.E. for the first time, they handled the paragraph development format in an uneven manner partly because they were not prepared to find the evidence to support their opinions. Let us see how they will handle the C.E.E. format in a different context. They enjoyed reading Fences and they have strong opinions about the father-son relationships.

Today, we will be building a C.E.E. paragraph for a claim from the  argument introduction paragraph. This task is aligned to W.9-10.1b which focuses on developing a claim using logic and reasoning, which is your explanation based on evidence from the text. 

I am including a rubric for the assessment.

Warmup + Share

15 minutes

For the Warmup, my students will be evaluating a student's introduction for the Fences performance task based on a student sample of the in-class assignment given in the previous lesson in this unit ( Lesson #12 ). 

We are looking at one example of a student paragraph before writing the body paragraph so that every student will be able to determine whether his or her introduction contains all of the components necessary for a balanced argument based on W.9-10.1a. We will be using a checklist created using the criteria for W.9-10.1a. The checklist is based on the components of an introduction for an argument essay:

1. a general overview of the topic/issue

2. a strong statement clearly expressing the position

3. 3 reasons for your position (claims)

4. the position of the other side

5. a reason to support the other side (counterclaim)

This is a sample of the student's introduction: Argument Introduction.

After my students evaluate the paragraph individually, they will share their results in pairs and then determine what they  think the student will need to do to improve his/her introduction. At the end, pairs will share their results with the class. This is aligned to SL.7.1a and SL.7.1c because students will be giving their views and asking their peers questions about their position and claims (reasons). This revision task is aligned to W.9-10.5.

I am including a sample of student work: Peer Evaluation Warmup



Engagement: Modeling C.E.E.

25 minutes

For this part of the lesson, I will be modeling for my students how to develop a body paragraph for a reason or claim using the student response from the Warmup. Together, we will be developing a C.E.E. paragraph using a CLAIM (reason) from the introduction, EVIDENCE from Fences,  and an EXPLANATION created from connecting the EVIDENCE to the CLAIM and the student's POSITION in the INTRODUCTION (W.9-10.1b).

For this part of the lesson, I do not guide my students through how to find good evidence because I want them to do this on their own. Instead, I ask them a series of related questions:

1. "Does your evidence fit your claim?"   

2. "Does the explanation make sense to you?"

(a) If yes, show me the connection between the evidence and the claim.

(b) If no, can you identify the problem?

We walk through the process together and they share ideas on how we should develop the paragraph and I record their thoughts. Then, we read the paragraph aloud, asking ourselves.

3. Do all three parts work together? If yes, identify the connections. If no, show the problems.

This is a sample of the results for this activity: Fences C.E.E.


Writing + Self Evaluation

40 minutes

C.E.E. Paragraph:

For this part of the lesson, some of my students will be using the C.E.E. format to create their body paragraphs and they will be writing in class. They will be writing their body paragraphs based on a claim (reason) they chose from their  introduction paragraphs to support their position. The body paragraph will include evidence from the play and an explanation showing the connection between the claim (reason) and their evidence.  My students will use the rubric to guide them as they develop their paragraphs as well as to assess their progress after completing their paragraphs.This task is aligned to W.9-10.1b. 

During this part of the lesson I will walk around the room and confer with students regarding their readiness for writing their own C.E.E. paragraph based on the reasons they created when they wrote their introduction paragraphs.

My goal is not to identify what I see, but to have them to identify what they see. So, I ask them questions to review where they are in the writing process.


First, I verify that they have an introduction by asking these questions because it is important for them to see where they are in the assignment. 

Question I Will Consider:

A. What is your position on the issue?

B. Have you identified 3 claims (reasons) to support your position

C. Have you identified a counterclaim and a reason for your counterclaim?


For students who have an introduction, I will move my focus to their readiness for the evidence-based paragraph. 

Questions I Will Consider:

1. Which claim from the Introduction do you want to develop for your C.E.E. paragraph? 

2. Which evidence in the text (Fences) do you feel will fit your claim? How will you know that it fits?


Additional Question to Consider:

1. "Does your evidence fit your claim?"   

2. "Does the explanation make sense to you?"

(a) If yes, show me the connection between the evidence and the claim.

(b) If no, can you identify the problem?

3. Do all three parts work together? If yes, identify the connections. If no, show the problems.


When students complete their paragraphs, they will complete a self-evaluation using the following criteria (W.9-10.5):

1. Does my body paragraph have a reason/claim that supports my position on the issue?

2. Does my body paragraph have examples and details from the text as evidence to support my reason/claim?

3. Does my body paragraph have an explanation that connects my evidence to my treason/claim?


At the end of class, students will submit their Student Self-Evaluation as well as their Body Paragraphs.  I am including a sample of a C.E.E.Sample Body