Lesson Plan

Writing from an Informed Perspective

Students learn about the importance of looking at both sides of an issue before taking a stance.
Rae O.
Co-Director UC Merced Writing Project
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My Grades 9, 10, 11, 12
My Subjects English Language Arts

Students will be able to...

  • Identify an issue or topic of interest
  • Write a question about the issue or topic
  • Explore possible answers to their question
  • Read and analyze information on the issue
  • Take a stance on the issue
  • Write a claim
  • Write an Op-Ed piece
  • Deconstruct their argument
  • Evaluate their writing
  • Publish their writing
English Language Arts
Social Studies
Grades 6 – 12
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Introduction to Lesson

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Objective:  Introduce Students to the necessity of looking at both sides of an issue.

Student Instructions

Note-taking:  Using Evernote take notes on the audio and video.

  • List key vocabulary and write a working definition.
  • Name key concepts and explanation.

2 Modeling Annotated Notetaking

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Objective:  Model close reading and annotated note-taking of text on both sides of an issue.

  • Choose an issue from Procon.org 
  • Demonstrate note-taking (Cornell Notes, Dialectical Journal, Double Entry Journal) on the board, on chart paper, or in Evernote.


Student Instructions


3 Critical Reading/Note-taking

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Objective:  Students critically read the pros and cons of an issue making annotated notes in their journal.

Note:  Either choose a whole class topic or allow students to choose from the menu of topics provided on the procon.org website.

Student Instructions
  • Choose a topic from the menu of topics on the procon.org website.
  • Take notes in evernote using the method your teacher demonstrated (Cornell Notes, Dialectical Journal, or Double Entry Journal.)

4 Preparing to Write/Taking a Stance

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Objective:  Students write a strong claim about the issue researched.

Show Video Argument Essay (2:55).

Student Instructions
  • Handout:  Claims, Claims, Claims.
  • Write a CLAIM (aka thesis statement) that states your position on the issue you researched.
  • Post your claim on Today's Meet.


5 Writing/Drafting Your Argument

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Objective:  Students write arguments to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.

Student Instructions

Performance Task:  After researching an issue to answer a question or solve a problem, write an essay in which you take a stance on the issue or problem.  To support your stance, use specific evidence from your research.  Be sure to explain how each piece of evidence supports or develops your argument.  Remember that an argument essay has an introduction, body, and conclusion.  There is no assigned length.  Your argument essay must competently support your claim and address the opposing argument.

6 Re-Writing/Examining The Strength of Your Argument

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Objective:  Students review their argument essay to identify the claim, evidence, warrants, qualifiers, backing, counter-arguments, and rebuttals.

Show Video Toulmin's Schema (5:43).

Student Instructions
  • Use different color highlighting to expose the components of an argument in your text.
  • Add any missing components.

7 Evaluating Writing

Objective:  Students evaluate their writing using a custom made rubric.

Student Instructions
  • Use the rubric to evaluate the features of your essay.
  • Where might you be able to improve?  Write a brief response to this question at the end of your essay.

8 Publishing

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Objective:  Students publish their writing to a class blog for an authentic writing experience.

Student Instructions
  • Solicit teacher approval to post your essay to a class blog.
  • Post your revised essay to the class blog on edublogs.