Claim Counterclaim

Recently our school is charged with teaching our students how to develop claims and counterclaims.

Our mission is to teach our students how to interpret text and cite textual evidence for each claim and counterclaim they make.  Students are encouraged to use templates to formulate their thinking and improve their note taking skills.   I recommend two books which I found very helpful to develop critical thinking and engaging students while attacking various texts.

Texts and Lessons
Texts and Lessons

One excellent book is  Texts and Lessons for Content-Area Reading, With More Than 75 Articles from The New York Times, Rolling Stone, The Washington Post, Car and Driver, Chicago Tribune, and Many Others by: Harvey “Smokey” Daniels, and  Nancy Steineke,

It contains some great ideas for teaching students how to react to a text, including shoulder to shoulder writing where students partner with one another and write one side of an issue, then sit across from each other and argue the points they listed in the writing exercise.

Another great book I highly recommend is Teaching With Text Sets by Mary Ann Cappiello, published by Shell Education, ISBN 978-1-4258-0688-0. It has sample units with student work sheets and model units. This book focuses on note taking and unit planning ideas.

Looking for student templates?  I highly recommend the New York State Information Fluency Curriculum, published by the New York City School Librarian System.

If you are looking for lessons and curriculum plans, Engage NY now has complete modules for English Language Arts, grades K-12 online.  Full modules can be downloaded here:  The ninth grade ELA curriculum is best aligned with our goads of teaching point counterpoint articles.


Grow your dreams!!Although it is cold and snowy outside, it’s not too early to think of summer.  Encourage your students and staff to start planning now for summer internships/travel opportunities.  I compiled a list of links for summer jobs for students. Many of my links came from the CCNY  site.  The Brooklyn Public library also has a comprehensive listing of internships.

Remind students that many internships require recommendation letters, transcripts and essays.  I encourage my students to write from the heart.  Often the organizations are looking for commitment, drive and sincerity.

For your teachers, encourage them to apply for a Fulbright.  The deadline this year is FEBRUARY 5, 2014.  There is only one Fulbright Program this summer ,  the program is in CHINA.   Hurry and apply if you have an interest.

If your teachers like variety, look at the NEH website.  There is a host of opportunities for teachers and the deadline is a month away: MARCH 4, 2014.

Grow your dreams!!

 There is something for everyone on this list: From Shakespeare to Communism, history to humanities. Check it out and explore.

Good luck and happy trails!!!