Argument Essay Based on To Kill a Mockingbird

WISELearn Grant Lesson Plan 
Title:  Argument Essay/To Kill a MockingbirdAuthor: Harper Lee
Subject(s):  English Language Arts
Grade Level(s):  9Total Time:  6 days

Overview / Description: After reading To Kill a Mockingbird, students will continue to study the theme of taking a stand as they finish the novel. They will develop their argument writing skills through scaffolded writing lessons, culminating in a literary analysis essay in which they argue whether or not it made sense, based on Atticus’s character, for him to have taken a stand and defend Tom Robinson.

Learning goals/objectives:

After completing this activity, students should be able to . . . 

·       Students will analyze how an author acknowledges and responds to conflicting evident or viewpoints.

·       Students will write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence. 

·       Students will identify the argument and specific claims in a text. 

·       Students will craft the claim of their argument essay based on the strongest evidence.

·       Students will support their claims with reasons, details, and quotes from the novel.

·       Students will revise their work by incorporating helpful feedback from partners.

·       Students will write an organized essay about To Kill a Mockingbird.

·       Students will use correct mechanics.

Workplace Readiness Skill: 

 X    Social Skills   X Communication 
   Teamwork      X    Critical Thinking
   Attitude and Initiative  X   Planning and Organization
  X  Professionalism    Media Etiquette

Content Standards:

W1. Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence. 

     a. Introduce precise claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that establishes clear relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.

      b. Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly, supplying evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both in a manner that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level and concerns.

      c. Use words, phrases, and clauses to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships between claim(s) and reasons, between reasons and evidence, and between claim(s) and counterclaims.

      d. Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.

      e. Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.

W4.  Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

W5.  Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience.

W9.  Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.


Explanations of and directions for all to of the activities (Module 2A & B) can be found on EngageNY at

Student Handout

Quote Sandwich Activity

Argument Essay Rubric essay rubric TKAM.pdf

Learning Activities:

WHO (T=Teacher Focus Lesson; WG=Whole Group\; SM=Small Group; I=Independent)

Learning Activity Task                                                WHO is responsible
for this step?
Approximate time
for task

Day One:  Review vocabulary words for argument essay terminology, read example essay and look for claim and supporting evidence, introduce students' essay topic

T, WG84 minutes

Day Two:  look for quotes to use in essay from To Kill a Mockingbird, share quotes with a small group, students begin planning claim, reasons, and evidence

SM, I84 minutes
Day Three:  create "quote sandwiches" and share/critique in small groups, complete pre-writing handout, look at sample pre-writing handout from sample essaySM, I84 minutes
Day Four:  write essaysI84 minutes
Day Five:  write essays, teacher conferencingT, I84 minutes
 Day Six:  finish essays, teacher conferencing, essays due tomorrow T, I 84 minutes


Argument Essay Rubric essay rubric TKAM.pdf

Wrap-Up:  Students may need an extra day of planning depending on the level of students within your classroom.

Extension Activity (for intervention or enrichment):

Creative Common License: 


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