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Lesson Plan Title: What's Your Point?

Grade Level: 9-12

Duration: 50 minutes

Description: Before students begin drafting a persuasive essay, they must generate material to support their thesis statements. In order to write compelling essays, students must develop a number of strategies to sway the reader to their side of an issue. In this exercise, students will compose twelve separate points and use five different rhetorical strategies to help them begin drafting a persuasive essay.

Student Objectives: Students will generate solid points to support their thesis statements.


1. Paper and pen
2. Internet access
3. Stopwatch

Set Up and Prepare: Before coming to class, students should have developed a clear thesis statement for a persuasive essay. Ask students to bring this statement to class. Also, in order to complete this exercise, students should be given access to the Internet, the library, or both.

Directions: The purpose of this lesson is to jumpstart the writing process by generating material to use in a persuasive essay. This exercise works like a scavenger hunt. In order for it to be completed in one class period, you must impose clear time restrictions on each step. Students will be illustrating their main points; a point can be as short as a sentence and as long as a page. Whatever points aren't gathered in class should be assigned as homework before the drafting process begins.

Step 1: Ask students to write a personal anecdote or narrative that illustrates their main point. (5 minutes)

Step 2: Instruct students to hunt down three separate quotations by experts on their subject. Tell them to collect quotes that support their point of view. (15 minutes)

Step 3: Have students write three points that illustrate their thesis conceptually. You may want to explain how a conceptual point works. (10 minutes)

Step 4: Ask students to write a short paragraph about a historical event that demonstrates their thesis. (10 minutes)

Step 5: Have students gather three quotations from peers, friends, or teachers that support their thesis. (10 minutes)

Assess Students: Did students demonstrate a clear understanding of the different strategies employed in this lesson?

Lesson Extension: Students should take time to develop these 12 points after the class period is over.

Evaluate Lesson: Were students able to successfully gather all 12 points? Which points were the most difficult for students to gather?

Assignments: Send students home with their 12 points. If they weren't able to complete the exercise, ask them to do so before drafting an essay. Have students write a rough draft of their persuasive essay. Instruct them to include as many of the points generated in class as possible. Ask them to bring their typed, double-spaced rough draft to the next class.