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Formulate a Main Idea_Argumentative


What do you have to say about your topic?
Consider the research you have undertaken, and use it to inform the crafting of a main idea, a thesis, or an evidence-based position to focus your writing. 

Time To Complete 

1 Day

Common Core Standards 

  • CCRA.R.1
  • CCRA.W.1

I Can Statements 

  • I can
    • introduce claim(s) about a topic or issue, acknowledge and distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and organize the reasons and evidence logically. (6-8.WHST.1a)
    • establish a clear position on an issue in a thesis statement or introductory paragraph.
    • acknowledge and distinguish counter claims.
  • I will know my main idea or thesis statement is of high quality if it:
    • Draws conclusions that are supported by clear reasons and strong evidence uncovered by my research

Suggestions for Assessing Student Readiness to Move Forward:

  • Confer with students, asking probing questions about their main idea, their reasons and evidence, and exploring counter claims to gauge how well their position meets the quality criteria.
  • Ask students to lay out their claims, reasons, and evidence in a thesis statement, draft introductory paragraph, or suitable pre-writing activity.
  • Ask students to self-evaluate their work after completing one of the activities below.


Possible Activities 
  1. Ask students to use a mapping/outlining strategy, like mind-mapping, Cornell notes, or T-charts, to help them organize their thinking around their topic. 

  2. If you are writing with your students, use the Synthesis Protocol detailed here, http://www.west.asu.edu/johnso/synthesis/learners.html, to model your own synthesis of research.

  3. Have students discuss or free-write about their understanding of and position on the issue they have researched

  4. Create a class mural, asking all students to make a symbol for their position on an issue. After posting the symbols and explaining their positions, ask students to describe their views on the position, either verbally or by placing a Post-it with comments next to particular symbols.

  5. Ask students to restate their topic in a single sentence that conveys the importance of what they will write.

Downloadable Resources 
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