Writing an Argumentative Essay: Planning the Essay | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA 2012 G7:M2A:U1:L16

Writing an Argumentative Essay: Planning the Essay

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Long Term Learning Targets

  • I can write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence. (W.7.1)
  • I can produce clear and coherent writing that is appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (W.7.4)

Supporting Targets

  • I can analyze a model essay about Lyddie using a rubric.
  • I can select reasons and support them with evidence to support my claim about Lyddie.
  • I can organize my reasons and evidence so they support my claim.
  • I can explain how my details support my claim.

Ongoing Assessment

  • Exit ticket


AgendaTeaching Notes

1.     Opening

A.  Entry Task: Writing Improvement Tracker (10 minutes)

B.  Reviewing Learning Targets (2 minutes)

2.     Work Time

A.  Planning the Essay (30 minutes)

3.     Closing and Assessment

A.  Exit Ticket: Reflecting on Essay Planning (3 minutes)

4.     Homework

A.  Finish your Lyddie essay planner, due next class.
Continue reading Chapters 20-23 of Lyddie and complete Reader's Notes for Chapters 20, 21, 22, and 23. This is due in Lesson 19.

  • In this lesson, students start a Writing Improvement Tracker that they will return to after writing the essay in each module for the rest of the year. The purpose of this is to develop students' awareness of their strengths and challenges, as well as ask students to strategize to address their challenges. Self-assessment and goal setting helps students take ownership of their learning. To begin, students will review the reflection they did during Module 1 (Unit 3, Lesson 6) and complete the Writing Improvement Tracker for Module 1. When students are done, collect the trackers and keep them until they need them again. A paper like this, which needs to be kept over the long term, is best held by the teacher.
  • During Work Time B, consider working with students who still need help understanding what an argument essay is or how to write a claim with reasons and evidence for an argument essay. Use the completed Forming Evidence-Based Claims graphic organizers and exit tickets from Lessons 14 to determine who might need additional support.
  • The Lyddie essay planner builds from the essay planner used in Module 1. Notice the inclusion of a space for students to consider their counterclaims at the end of the planner. This placement is intentional, since there are many possible places for students to include a counterclaim in their essay. If you would like to offer students more structure, feel free to require that they acknowledge counterclaims in particular paragraphs--for example, either the introduction and conclusion or in both body paragraphs.
  • The essay planner has space for two body paragraphs. If students would like to write a third body paragraph, consider providing extra paper for students to do that planning work.
  • Encourage students to use the top of the Lyddie's Decision anchor chart to complete the planner for the introduction paragraph (particularly box C in the introduction section of the planner).
  • Consider posting the Using Quotes in Essays anchor chart from Module 1 that includes tips about how to use, punctuate, and cite quotes in students' writing. It was started in Module 1, Unit 2, Lesson 11.
  • In advance: Make sure students have access to their reflections from Module 1, Unit 3, Lesson 6.
  • Review exit tickets from Lesson 14 to make sure all students are starting with appropriate claims and reasons. Make sure you have provided feedback on those exit tickets, and that you have identified students who will need additional support during this lesson in planning their essays.
  • Post: Learning targets.


claim, counterclaim


  • Module 1 Reflection (from Module 1, Unit 3, Lesson 6; students' completed reflections)
  • Writing Improvement Tracker (one per student)
  • Exit Ticket from Lesson 14 (with teacher feedback)
  • Lyddie Model Essay (from Lesson 13; one to display)
  • Document camera
  • Lyddie Essay Planner (one per student)
  • Model essay planner (optional; only for students who need additional support)
  • Exit ticket (one per student)


OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Entry Task Writing Improvement Tracker (10 minutes)

  • As students enter the room, distribute the Module 1 Reflections (from Module 1, Unit 3, Lesson 6) and the Writing Improvement Tracker.
  • Explain to students that this is a tracker to help them identify what strengths and challenges they have in writing. They will continue to use this tracker for the rest of the year.
  • Give students several minutes to reflect on and record their strengths and challenges.
  • Then, ask students to turn to a partner and share their strength and challenge from the Module 1 essay. Ask them also to talk about how knowing their strength and challenge will help them write their essay on Lyddie.
  • Developing self-assessment and reflection supports all learners, but research shows it supports struggling learners most.


B. Reviewing Learning Targets (2 minutes)

  • Read the learning targets aloud and let students know that they will be working on planning their argument essays today.

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Planning the Essay (30 minutes)

  • Distribute the Lyddie Essay Planner. Point out that this essay planner is similar to the essay planner they used in Module 1 to write their essays on A Long Walk to Water. Remind them also that they used part of this planner, the body paragraph, when they analyzed the model essay in Lesson 15.
  • Point out that a major difference between the essay planner in Module 1 and the Lyddie Essay Planner is at the end, where it says "Counterclaim." Explain that this is the place to think about what counterclaim students will acknowledge in their essay, as well as where to put it. Since there is no one place in the essay for the counterclaim to go, students will need to think carefully about where to include it. Remind students that in the model essay, a counterclaim was acknowledged several times.
  • Ask students to get out their Forming Evidence-Based Claims graphic organizers. Return students' exit tickets from Lesson 14. Instruct the students to use them to fill out their essay planners. Tell students that they should make any revisions they need to their exit ticket and then write their claim on the essay planner. The reasons from the Forming Evidence-Based Claims graphic organizer will help them craft their body paragraphs.
  • Students may decide to use evidence they did not put on their Evidence-Based Claims organizer, which is fine as long as it is still relevant and compelling. Remind them of the resources they have for evidence and quotes, such as the Working Conditions in Lyddie: Textual Evidence Note-catcher, their Reader's Notes and the Lyddie's Decision anchor chart.
  • Tell students to work on their essay planner independently; they will have a chance to get feedback from a peer during the next lesson.
  • Circulate as students are working. Push students to be clear and explicit in their plan.
  • If students need extra help based on their exit tickets from Lesson 14, consider working with individual students or small groups during this time.
  • If students are ready for a challenge, push them to include three or four body paragraphs in their essay instead of two.
  • For students who may need more support planning their essay, a model essay planner (optional) is included in the supporting materials. This handout shows how the author of the model essay might have filled out a complete planner for this essay. Consider using it as an example as you work with individuals or small groups who would benefit from additional support.

Closing & Assessments


A. Exit Ticket: Reflecting on Essay Planning (3 minutes)

  • Distribute the exit tickets. Ask students to write a response to the questions:

*   "What part of planning is hard for you?"

*   "What help do need to finish your plan?"

  • Collect students' exit tickets to help you plan which students to support most in upcoming lessons.


  • Finish your Lyddie essay planner, due next class.
  • Continue reading Chapters 20-23 of Lyddie and complete Reader's Notes for Chapters 20, 21, 22, and 23. This is due in Lesson 19.

Note: Review exit tickets and identify what support students might need. There is space in the next lesson to work with students individually or in small groups if needed.

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