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Argumentative Unit Plan: What makes a Leader?

I envision this unit plan taking place at the end of a 9th grade class. For this exact unit
plan to be successful, students must have already read the books The Outsiders, Great
Gatsby, Lord of the Flies, and To Kill a Mockingbird in class. At the end of the year, it
will act as a good wrap up and review of the earlier texts as well as a nice starting to
place to other argumentative units the students will have in there future high school
Goals: My goals for students are to be able to answer the question, What makes a
leader? while providing evidence to back up their claim, make warrants, and preparing
for any counterarguments they may receive. I hope they develop a stronger
understanding of each book character and a further understanding of how to construct a
persuasive argument.

Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using
valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
a. Introduce precise claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or
opposing claims, and create an organization that establishes clear
relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
b. Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly, supplying evidence for each
while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both in a manner that
anticipates the audiences knowledge level and concerns.
c. Use words, phrases, and clauses to link the major sections of the text,
create cohesion, and clarify the relationships between claim(s) and reasons,
between reasons and evidence, and between claim(s) and counterclaims.
d. Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to
the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.
e. Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports
the argument presented.
The final assessment for this project is directly aligned with the goals. The goals I want
for my students are clearly written through out the assignment sheet and rubric. To
meet the goals, students will have to have correctly completed all of the tasks in the
rubric and demonstrate a procedural knowledge of them all, rather than just the
declarative knowledge.
Objectives throughout this argumentative unit plan work from moving students from
declarative knowledge to procedural knowledge. Through a variety of activities, students
work step by step to understand how to successfully construct an argumentative writing
piece. With multiple examples, classroom discussions, and group work students should
be well prepared for their final assessment.

Argumentative Writing Unit Plan: Leadership

Day One

SWBAT correctly define and use the terms needed to produce a correct argument.
Students will be introduced to the terms evidence, claim, and warrants through
gateway activity Who Dunnit
Small Group work
Writing arguments based on the Who Dunnit pictures
Class discussion on what the terms mean and how to correctly use them.

Day Two
SWBAT make claims and understand the term counterargument through using it in
their pitches.
Students will be doing another activity, Running for class president. Sticky notes will
be placed on the board and students will have to choose two positive characteristics and
one negative characteristic for a student. Then, while writing a pitch students must show
their knowledge and understanding on the terms talked about yesterday in class
(evidence, claim, warrants, and counterarguments). When students read their pitches
for president, as a class, we will analyze their arguments and identify the terms
discussed and how effective they are. End class with a vote to see who has the best
presidential pitch.

Day Three
SWBAT identify the terms of correct arguments in famous arguments. SWBAT decipher
how different types of arguments are used through out different mediums and how they
benefit each argument type individually.
Dissect different famous presidential pitches, campaign adds, speeches, debates etc. and
look at how claims, warrants, evidence, rebuttals, and counterarguments are used.
Do the use of these terms aid the overall meaning of this pitch? If the author used these
incorrectly how would that affect his/her point? Do these arguments sway you to
think a certain way? Do different argumentative mediums use different forms of the
terms previously discussed?

Day Four

SWBAT participate in classroom discussion regarding what makes a leader and some
characteristics that make a leader less credible.

Class Discussion: What makes a leader successful and/or what are some leadership
downfalls? Revisit the different viewings the day before and how each speaker may or
may not address their negative characteristics.
Introduce final argumentative paper and ask if there are any questions or concerns
regarding this
Class generated Rubric
Resort back to the writing prompt and have students start brainstorming what
character they want to write about and some characteristics that can assist their
Hopefully by the end of this day students will have a thesis where they can start
molding their papers around.

Day Five

SWBAT employ proper usage of counterclaims and rebuttals through the sentence
templates provided.
Mock class debate regarding leadership qualities.
Must follow rules of debate:
- Everyone will talk at least once
- Arguments must reference the articles
- Challenge the claim and NOT the person.
Give framework for the debate:
- Opening from each side (3 minutes)
- Rebuttal Round #1 (2ish minutes)
- Rebuttal Round #2 (2ish minutes)
- Rebuttal Round #3 (2ish minutes)
- Conclusion (4ish Minutes)
Provide the sentence templates for when students agree with others, disagree with
others, or want to go further.
For example:
Based on my understanding of _____________, I have to assume
What I know about ____________ makes me think that __________________.
I agree that ____________ because my experience ________________ confirms
I take your point, [Students Name], that ___________. Still, I think
Divide the class into 2 separate sides and give them time to make their claims, find
evidence, and figure out what some counterarguments may arise. (Why might someone

disagree with you? How do you anticipate someone who will disagree with it?) Each side
will be given a famous person to argue as a presidential candidate.
- If not enough counterarguments are being used, jump in and play the devils advocate
forcing students to fully think (and correctly use) their rebuttals.

Day Six

SWBAT use all of their previous learned knowledge and construct a practice essay where
they correctly demonstrate how to write an argument. SWBAT correctly use the terms
claim, evidence, warrant, rebuttal, and counterclaim.
Practice Essay to put all of the terms in to perspective. Pick something that you wish to
change about the school and argue for it.

Day Seven
SWBAT identify the correct and incorrect use of argumentative terms in peers paper.
SWBAT give and receive feedback in a clear and concise format.
The students will look at others practice essay in small groups and identify (highlight)
the claims, evidence, warrants, and counter claims. Ask for it to be a formal peer review
session, have students give direct and clear feedback.

Day Eight
SWBAT display public speaking techniques while employing the correct terms of an
Read a short story (Still Undecided-About a Leader)
Good Angel//Bad Angel exercise

Day Nine

SWBAT begin brainstorming for their final project. SWBAT construct a list of what
makes a leader to them and prepare for counterarguments that may be used against
their candidate.

Look through the list of texts from rubric and use an activity to help demonstrate
correct claims for the characters.
Make a list of leadership qualities that are positive for someone wishing to become
president and some that could hold someone back or stray away from being president.

Day Ten
SWBAT correctly insert quotes into their own writing.
Inserting quotes activity. (TBD)

Day Eleven
In class work day and peer review with peer revision rubric while highlighting like
Analysis of ones own paper as well.

Day Twelve
Final Papers Due
Presentation of pitches and mock election through online forum.

Prompt 1: Pitch a Book Character for President

What defines a leader?
You will choose a book character they want to campaign for president. In the
paper, one must use 2 positive characteristics to assist your argument as well as
one counterargument. The counterargument may seem like a negative
characteristic, but can be shifted to shed a positive light on your candidate.
Previously read books and characters to choose from (you are not limited to the
characters listed below, please come see me if you have an idea for another
character) :
The Outsiders: Ponyboy, Johnny, Darryl, Sodapop, Dally
The Great Gatsby: Jay Gatsby, Nick Carraway, Daisy Buchanan
To Kill a Mockingbird: Scout, Atticus Finch, Boo Radley
Lord of the Flies: Piggy, Ralph, Jack, Simon
Your 1-2 page paper will be in a pitch form. Your goal is to sway your classmates
and potential voters to think that your character should be president. Whoever
receives the most votes for their character can receive bonus points. Re-watch the
speeches and presidential debates we watched in class to help formulate your
Requirements: Your project will be graded on your ability to meet the
requirements. You must use evidence from the book and display a full
understanding of the characters and plot of your chosen book. Follow the rules of
writing pitches, model speeches we watched in class, and ideas you have
previously seen in the videos of debates or speeches. Write cohesive and
persuasive arguments, using 2 positives characteristics of your book character
and 1 counterargument. Grammar and mechanics should all be written correctly
in your pitch.

Evidence Based

Student used
evidence from
book correctly to
support their

Student used
some evidence
from book to
correctly support
their character and

Student used little

to know evidence
from the book to
help support their

Students lack of
evidence from their
chosen book to
support their
displayed an

Please see me and


Book Knowledge

Student displayed
correct knowledge
of the plot of the

Student displayed
Student was
Student did not
a disjointed
unclear about the
display correct
understanding of characters and plot
knowledge from
the novel, text, and of the their chosen the book to assist
in the development
of their pitch.

Correct Pitch

Student followed
all of the rules that
were previously
discussed in class
in order to write a
persuasive and

understood how to
write a pitch but
did not employ it
correctly in their

Student did not

fully understand
how to construct a
pitch and/or could
not display it
correctly in their

Student did not

understand and/or
follow the rules of
writing a pitch. If
you are at this
point, please go
back to the
materials viewed in
class and revise.

Grammar and

There are no
grammar mistakes
in this students

There are little or

small grammar
mistakes in this
students essay.

There are more

than 6 grammar
mistakes in this
students essay.

There are many

grammar mistakes
in this essay that
distract the reader
while reading.

Characteristics of
The 2 positive
a Persuasive
characteristics and
1 counterargument
were displayed
correctly in the
essay to make a
argument. Correct
usage of warrants,
claims, and

The 2 positive
characteristics and
1 counterargument
were displayed
incorrectly in the
essay but were all
there. Warrants
and claims were
used, but not all
were correctly
used to make a

The student is
missing some of
their required
arguments from
their essay.

The student has no

form or arguments
in their essay.
Please see me and
revise your essay
to display correct
forms of
arguments. Your
goal is to make a
argument, without
characteristics your
essay is not a

Peer Review Rubric:

How well did the student use evidence from the book? 5 4 3 2 1

How well did the student display their understanding of the characters and plot
of their chosen novel? 5 4 3 2 1

How well did the student follow the rules of writing pitches and debates?

5 4 3 2 1
How well did the students incorporate their 2 positive argument as well as their
counterargument? 5 4 3 2 1

Were there grammar mistakes? Yes No
(If so, write down some of the mistakes that they can fix before turning in their
final copy)