Day 53: Getting ready to make an argument

We will begin writing collaborative essays (group essays, each person responsible for a paragraph) next week. Today, we got in the mood to make arguments by 1) making arguments, and 2) talking about what makes a good thesis statement.

1. Do now. Students took about five minutes to brainstorm their response to the prompt, “Should DSA adopt school uniforms?” Each student was to brainstorm a response (Yes, No, or It Depends on…) and three reasons that supported their response. We completed this on W7, “Brainstorming Thesis Statements.”

2. Sharing of reasons and interrogation. Students were volunteered to share their responses. We created a T-chart of responses, for and against uniforms. As students gave their reasons, some of them got to respond to Ms. Garvoille’s interrogations when flawed logic was used. We also allowed for rebuttals in our discussion.

3. Paragraph writing. Armed with thoughtful reasons and an understanding of the arguments of the other side, students wrote a paragraph in which they stated their position, provided and elaborated on (gave examples, further explained) three points of evidence, and concluded.

4. Quick share with partner.

5. Notes on Thesis Statements. Students received W8, an introduction to high school-style theses. Download here: Thesis Statements.

Here are the notes to fill in:

What is it? A statement of a position you will prove to be true

Why do I need one? It tells your reader where your essay is going

How long is it? Usually one sentence, up to three sentences [You should only use more than one sentence if you are a very confident writer or if your topic is very complex.]

Where does it go? The last sentence(s) of your introduction before your first body paragraph.

When do you use it? Persuasive essays, i.e. all History and English essays


A good thesis statement has the strength of DADS:

Debatable: Can you have an argument about it?

Analytical: Is it relevant to the field (i.e. English or To Kill a Mockingbird studies) or is it your random opinion? [Example of your random opinion: If Scout were a historical figure, she would be Abraham Lincoln. This is random and unrelated.]

Defensible: Can you prove it? Is there evidence?

Specific: Does it answer the questions how and why?

HW: All – finish reading To Kill a Mockingbird, Ch. 28-31 for Friday. Complete one motif journal entry. Regular English should now have eight entries, Honors English should now have ten. They will all be due next Friday (you’ll need them to write your essays).