Assert, Reason, & Counter: The Argumentative Essay


Students learn how to organize and write an argument essay with logic and reasoning. They formulate a thesis, support it, and counter the opposing argument, building a foundation for literary analysis and research papers.

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Ah, the art of argument! You may think your teen is already pretty talented in this area. This may be true! But are their arguments valid and reasonable? Do they know how to acknowledge the other side of an issue, a counterclaim, and dispute it? How well are their arguments presented in writing? Most high school and college writing is argument writing, and this is a foundational class once they have mastered the essentials of a 5-paragraph essay. Literary analysis and research papers require argument writing, and all the required writing prompts on the AP English and AP Language exams are argument writing. Students will be prepared for the rigor of high school and college writing after taking this course.

Class Details:

This is a multi-week, intensive writing class. Students will learn to write coherent, organized, and effective essays. The instructor gives authentic and constructive feedback that helps students correct their mistakes and fine-tune their skills. Some class time is used for “workshop” time, which we have found gets students going, increasing the likelihood they will complete an essay.

Each class includes explicit, direct instruction with teacher modeling. Students are guided toward mastery of multiple writing skills and understandings so that they grasp the concepts and become independent. Students are held to a high standard of academic writing, including the use of grammar and constructing sophisticated sentences.

High School Writing Series:

This class is part of a series that prepares students to do dual enrollment college classes or are entering college. The series gets progressively more difficult and are scheduled in order. You can still jump in whenever you’d like! Completion of all of these classes, which takes about 6 months will cover all necessary high school writing! They make up a complete high school writing plan.
Live: Foundations of Essay Writing (5 weeks/10 classes)
Self-Paced: Essay Essentials
Live: Pen to Paper: Essential High School Writing – The Literary Analysis Essay (3 weeks/6 classes)
Live: This, That, & the Other: The Historical Research Essay / Term Paper (7 weeks/14 classes)
Live: The College Essay (4 days)


Week 1–Students learn to differentiate between various genres of writing. They will annotate example essays to see how they are structured and organized. Direct instruction includes aspects of expository, persuasive, and argument writing as well as the effective strategies of argument.

Week 2–Building critical thinking and writing skills, students learn how to evaluate both sides of an issue and consider opposing points of view. Direct instruction includes how to counter an opposing claim.

Week 3-4–Students begin writing their own argumentative essays while going through the writing process. An emphasis is placed on pre-writing so that drafting is easy. They learn how to conduct online research by evaluating the credibility of a website. They also learn to delineate issues, claims, reasons, evidence, and analysis. We walk them through the process of developing an argument and supporting it logically. They write their body paragraphs. Last, they learn how to modify and choose language for effect.

Week 5–Fine-tuning their body paragraphs, students revise body paragraphs and learn to elaborate by using multiple strategies. They also tackle the introduction and conclusion. The instructor will teach various techniques to make students’ essays stronger with powerful word choices and unique and stylistic sentence structures. They will learn how to format an essay to follow the MLA style-guide, including a Works Cited page. Students also learn the importance of the revision and editing process using editing technology.

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