Category Archives: Argumentative Writing

Pets in the Classroom ~ What’s Your Educated Opinion?


Join the Great Debate:  Should we have pets in our classrooms?



Offer Your Opinion:  Share your opinion on this poll prior to researching the matter further.

See what others think :  Using, investigate what other people think on the topic:


Educate Yourself: Watch this video Why Do Dogs Reduce Stress in Classrooms.  As you watch, think about the important ideas and information in the video. Take notes in your Reading & Writing Binder, capturing at least one reason and more than one piece of evidence that the video offers to teach us why dogs reduce stress in the classroom.

Go Deeper:  Study this informational text “Should You Have a Pet in the Classroom?”  Annotate the text, using your “notice and note” strategies.  In your Reading & Writing Binder, write a reason the article gives for why schools should allow pets in the classrooms, and write a quote from the article that explains that reason. Remember to quote directly so that you capture exactly what the text said.

Investigate the Counterargument: Study this Screen Shot 2014-08-09 at 9.30.13 AMinformational text Leave Animals Out of the Classroom, annotating the text as you read.  Choose one piece of evidence the author gives to support the central idea of the article and write it  in your Reading & Writing Binder.  Write to analyze how this evidence supports the author’s position on the topic.

Take an educated position: Researchers, you’ve done some good research now by studying this information and the ideas of these authors.  Now you’ll want to take a position on whether or not to allow pets in classrooms.  First, you’ll want to look over your notes, and the texts as well if you’d like, and decide, based on the best evidence from both articles, which side of the argument you’ll take up.

Then, imagine that you are writing an essay to send to the principal, clearing stating one side of the argument in a convincing way, and supporting that claim with strong evidence you’ve gathered in your research.  You’ll want to include information and details from the articles and video to support your claim.  Be sure to:

  • Quickly plan how you will organize this letter
  • Introduce the claim(s) and organize the reasons and evidence clearly
  • Support claim(s) with clear reasons and relevant evidence, using credible sources and demonstrating and understanding of the topic.
  • Use words, phrases and clauses to clarify the relationship among claim(s) and reasons, such as for example, for instance, in addition, moreover, furthermore, etc..
  • Maintain the formal style of a persuasive letter/essay.
  • Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from the argument.
  • Quote directly from the texts that you read and watched.

Put your best effort in your work and ENJOY the process!

Assessment:  Reading Information Texts and Argument Writing Performance Assessment.

Source:  The Reading and Writing Project




Where a Letter, a Spoken Word, and a Novel Meet


“As a young boy in France, Jay Frankston witnessed the rise of Hitler’s anti-Semitism leading up to the war and the Holocaust. The experience of watching so many people stand by and do nothing affirmed his belief in speaking up against wrongs, no matter how small.”

Listen to Jay Frankston’s words heretib-frankstonj-105932-200.

This past week, we have read and analyzed an Excerpt from Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter from the Birmingham City Jail.  To increase your understanding of this magnificent letter, watch A Reading of the Letter From Birmingham Jail – OFFICIAL TRAILER from Jamaal Bell on Vimeo.

What do these two works have in common?  What can they teach us today?

This week’s topic for your argument paragraph is as follows:  What is a common theme in Martin Luther King’s Letter from Birmingham City Jail, Jay Frankston’s audio recording Speak Up, and Lois Lowry’s historical fiction Number the Stars?

How do you write an argument paragraph?  Make a thoughtful claim!  Support your claim with evidence!!


Fact vs. Opinion

Facts can be proven, while opinions are personal feelings about a topic. Argument writers use both fact and opinion when developing pieces.

What Is an Argument?

An argument is an opinion supported by facts. Writers refer to opinions as claims and facts as evidence. The claim clearly states a stance on a topic or issue. Evidence to prove this claim can include reasons, personal experience, statistics, confirmed facts, and expert research.

Your paragraph should have:

  1. A topic sentence with a clear claim that states the common theme for all three works.
  2. Textual evidence (at least one example from each work) to support your claim.
  3. Explanation of your textual evidence that brings the reader back to your claim.
  4. Transitional devices that help organize and sequence your writing.
  5. A concluding sentence that reinforces your original claim.
  6. Proper grammar (in the present tense)
  7. Accurate spelling
  8. Proper punctuation
  9. Sixth-grade vocabulary
  10. Original, compelling ideas!

Here is our comparative analysis writing rubric.

Enjoy the thinking and writing process, Sixth-Grade Writers/Scholars!

Israel ~ Destruction and Reconstruction


Sixth-Grade Scholars,

This week, we begin our Unit of Study on Israel ~ Destruction and Reconstruction.  This four-week unit will integrate our sixth-grade ELA common core standards and our sixth-grade History/Social Studies content standards.  Here are our priority standards for this unit.

Reading Informational Text:hispanic-student

  • Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text; summarize the text.
  • Trace and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, distinguishing claims that are supported by reasons and evidence from claims that are not.


  • Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
  • Support claim(s) with clear reasons and relevant evidence, demonstrating an understanding of the topic or text.
  • Use words, phrases, and clauses to clarify relationships among claims and reasons.
  • With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.

Speaking and Listening:Speaking-and-Listening_290x220

  • Delineate a speaker’s argument and specific claims, distinguishing claims that are supported by reasons and evidence from claims that are not.

History/Social Studies:

  • Analyze the geographic, political, economic, religious, and social structures of the Ancient 1059-721421Hebrews.

Here are some files we will use in our study.  Check back often, as I will continue to upload files as we proceed.


Online Interactive Study Materials:

Dig deep and enjoy the quest, scholars!

Ms. Rankin