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

8.18.2013

Stock Up for School

Nothing makes me smile...but a TeachersPayTeachers sale!

It's that time of year again! The huge back-to-school TpT sale is going on. I have all my items marked 20% off. THEN, you can use the code BTS13 at checkout and get an EXTRA 10% off! Even Grumpy Cat is smiling. :)

The TpT extra 10% ends on Monday at midnight, but I extended my sale another day until Tuesday at midnight (Central time zone).

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My latest products...

Common Core Writing Rubric for Informational/Explanatory

and Writing Portfolio Cover Page with Score Sheet

I'll share more about these later (and how we use writing portfolios to collect student work).

Thanks for stopping by!

8.14.2013

What Do Your Students Love?

Si says, "Welcome to class, Jack!"  Click to read more about connecting with your students.

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What do your students love? Many of mine are in to A&E's Duck Dynasty, so I made a sign for outside my room featuring the lovable Si Robertson along with my class schedule.

Find out what your students love and use it to make connections with them in the classroom. They may not admit it, but they'll appreciate it.

Would you like your own Uncle Si sign? Click {HERE} to download one FREE. 

Have a great year, Jack! ;)



And don't forget to check out my latest activities to use in your classroom! 
Here are the links:

The Ultimate Common Core Bell Ringer & Exit Slip Bundle (155+ activities)

Includes over 155 unique activities!

Common Core #Hashtags Activity - Great for Vocabulary & Reading Practice!

Work on vocabulary and reading skills using hashtags (kids love them!).

Common Core Argument Writing with Visual Aids & Graphic Organizers
Have your students follow the steps for building a powerful claim and strong essay.



8.06.2013

Elementary vs. High School Teachers: Who has the tougher job?

Elementary vs. High School Teachers...Who has the tougher job?

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When it comes to teaching, it's hard to compare jobs with other teachers because each level is unique. And it's probably not fair to make assumptions that one teacher has it easier than the other. But...we teachers tend to do this all the time.

So, I thought I'd take a humorous approach to the comparisons between elementary teachers and high school teachers. (Middle school teachers - you seem to have a happy balance between the two. Besides, dealing with all the hormones with that age group...you deserve a gold medal!)

So, here's the battle between Elementary and High School teachers...

Round 1: Bulletin Boards

Elementary vs. High School Teachers... round 1
Score:
Elementary - 1
High School - 0

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Round 2: Classroom Preparation

Elementary vs. High School Teachers... round 2
Score:
Elementary - 2
High School - 0

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Round 3: Grading

Elementary vs. High School Teachers... round 3
Score:
Elementary - 2
High School - 1

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Round 4: Student Relations

Elementary vs. High School Teachers... round 4
Score:
Elementary - 2
High School - 2

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Moral of the story?
IT ALL EVENS OUT EVENTUALLY...

No matter what age group you teach, I think we can all agree that teachers have pretty tough jobs at times. Have a great school year, my teacher friends!

Elementary vs. High School Teachers...

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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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