8.24.2013

Argument Essay Writing Claims

Argument Essay Writing Topics (or Claims)

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Students often struggle to find meaningful argument topics (or claims) for their formal essays. Not only do they get tired of writing about capital punishment, abortion, and dress codes, but we teachers get tired of reading the same old arguments.

TIP: To make the assignment more meaningful, ask students what THEY feel strongly about. We all know they have a million complaints because we are usually the ones they share them with. When they do, jot them down in a notebook or have them write it down. Keep this running list as a "go-to" for argument essay and/or debate topics or claims.

If your students are fresh out of ideas, here are some that seem to be "hot" topics with teenagers today (these are not my personal opinion, by the way). These are worded in statements rather than questions. Students who feel strongly about the topic can revise the statement to suit their opinion:

1. Students should be allowed to use their cell phones freely in the classroom.

2. Drivers who text and drive should be punished the same as those who drink and drive.

3. Cell phone companies should not make customers wait two years (or however long) to upgrade their phone.

4. Boys should be allowed to play volleyball on the girl's team (if a boy's team is not offered at school).

5. Energy drinks should not be sold to anyone under the age of 16.

6. Schools should ban the sales of all soft drinks and junk food in their buildings.

7. Minors should be allowed to get a tattoo without parent's permission.

8. Birth control should be free for anyone who wants to use it to help combat over population.

9. Same-sex couples should be treated the same as other couples in regards to discounts for dance tickets, meals, corsages, and any other "couples" perks.

10. Schools should not be responsible for after-hours dances such as Prom or other formals.

11. Schools should offer (and pay for) an online recovery course for students who fail the class.

12. Schools should not filter or block the internet.

13. Students should have to pass an exit test before graduating.

14. States should not use the ACT college entrance exam (or any college entrance exam) as a gauge for adequate yearly progress (AYP) of high school juniors.

15. Standardized tests should include all subjects that are required, such as government/social studies.

16. Teachers should not be allowed to be "friends" with or "followers" of students on Facebook®, Twitter®, Instagram®, or any other social media site.

17. All teachers should carry guns. {OR} All schools should have at least one armed police officer on duty while students are present.

18. Students should not be required to take physical education classes.

19. Professional athletes who have taken performance-enhancing drugs should be banned from that sport for life.

20. Single mothers on welfare should get free child care services so they can go to work.

21. Schools should not have to make up snow or weather-emergency days.

22. High schools should drop sports and extracurriculars and use the extra savings for educational purposes only.

23. Schools should provide more lunch choices for students.

24. Homework should be eliminated completely.

25. Corporal punishment should be allowed in schools (with parental consent).

26. Cheerleading is not a sport.

27. Basic health care should be provided for all citizens.

28. Parents should be held accountable/punished when minors break the law.

29. All schools should be year-round.

30. Students are more successful in single-sex classes (or schools).

Many of these claims may not apply to your school or students, but perhaps discussing them will lead to even more relevant topics. Students usually feel very strongly one way or the other when these are read. Have them write a couple of sentences in response. Those topics that they seem to write more about or feel the strongest about are good contenders for their argument topic.

For additional resources, you can see my argument essay pack for grades 6-12:
Argument Essay Topics at Mrs. Orman's Classroom www.traceeorman.com

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I teach high school English in Illinois; enjoy family time, baseball, collecting PEZ dispensers, and talking about anything related to my favorite books. They include The Hunger Games trilogy, To Kill a Mockingbird, the Chaos Walking trilogy, and anything written by Amy Tan.

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