Chris Adcock
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
High School
  • Argument
  • Grade 11 ELA
  • Presentation
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial

    Tailoring Your Argument

    Tailoring Your Argument


    In this lesson, students will examine ways that their writer tailored his or her argument to suit his or her audience, and they'll begin to plan for how they will appeal to a modern teenage audience in their presentation.


    Read the lesson and student content.

    Anticipate student difficulties and identify the differentiation options you will choose for working with your students.

    Selling to Teens Quick Write

    Students will return to these lists as they start trying to figure out how to package their writer's argument for a modern teenage audience.

    • ELL: Be sure ELLs understand the sentence starters provided. Complete example sentences and give them additional explanations as needed.


    Imagine you are an advertiser, trying to pitch a product such as a soft drink, cell phone, or sneakers to your own generation (that is, teens in the United States). Of course, not all teenagers are the same, but as an advertiser, you will have to make some generalizations.

    What are the main values and concerns that you will take into account? Complete the following sentence starters based on your impression of the majority of American teens.

    • Teens these days care most about . . .
    • Most of the time, teens today want . . .
    • Modern teenagers don’t want . . .
    • Teenagers want to be seen as . . .
    • Teenagers don’t want to be seen as . . .
    • Teenagers are likely to be convinced by . . .
    • Teenagers would never be convinced by . . .
    • Many teenagers know a lot about . . .
    • Many teenagers know very little about . . .


    Class Discussion on Teens

    Elicit a variety of responses. Remind students how the packaging of a message can shift (bring up the car commercial task from Lesson 12 and discuss the particular quirks of their generation.

    Work Time

    Share your responses with the class. What do you notice about your classmates’ impressions of teenagers?

    Group Document Review

    • Project or display the student instructions for easier viewing.
    • Remind students that they are looking for and explaining lines that appeal to the particular audience of their writer, not lines that show vague or general “audience appeal.”
    • Circulate to help students find quotations.
      • SWD: Work with students to help them choose the text that will allow them to be successful in this task.
    • Reading options:
      • Crèvecoeur Letters
      • Abigail Adams Letter
      • Declaration of Sentiments
      • What, to a Slave, is the Fourth of July?
      • Chief Joseph's Speech to Congress
      • Booker T. Washington's Speech to Congress
      • Du Bois Niagara Movement
      • The Gospel of Wealth

    Work Time

    Work with your group to look through the document your character wrote one more time. (Documents are available on the next page.)

    Remember, you profiled your writer’s audience in Lesson 12 (review it if necessary).

    • Where, specifically, in your document do you see your writer appealing to that particular audience?
    • Highlight passages that you think show particular audience appeal, and create an Audience Appeal Dialectical Journal and an entry explaining these lines.

    Each group member should create an Audience Appeal Dialectical Journal entry analyzing two different lines.

    Reading Options

    Circulate to help students find quotations.

    • SWD: Work with students to help them choose the text that will allow them to be successful in this task.

    Work Time

    Group Document Annotation

    • Project or display the student instructions for easier viewing.
    • Students should navigate back to the previous task to access the readings.
    • This is an important planning step for students: in the next episode, they will need to keep the essential parts of their writer's arguments but present them to a very different audience from the one their writer addressed. Remind students that there might be some overlap between this and the previous highlighting they did, but that the differences are what will help them figure out what changes they need to make.
      • SWD: Monitor the ability of students with disabilities to annotate and remind them of the multiple ways in which they can do this. If they struggle, give them additional questions to promote deep and meaningful thinking.

    Work Time

    Now think about how this document could be repackaged to appeal to the modern teenage audience you profiled at the beginning of class.

    • Mark in blue lines that you think have potential to appeal to a modern teenage audience.
    • Mark in red lines that you think show a more difficult aspect to your writer’s argument, one that modern teens might find off-putting.

    Discuss with your group how you might frame your writer’s message to appeal to a modern teenage audience.

    Journal Entry 7

    Remind students to review their notes about audience and purpose.

    • ELL: This is a good opportunity to check for understanding with ELLs and make sure that they have a deep enough understanding of the text that their group is analyzing. Provide additional support as needed.


    Complete Journal Entry 7 in response to the questions below.

    • How, if at all, does the message of your document connect to you?
    • Do you agree or disagree with it?
    • How might you frame the message to appeal to a modern teenage audience?

    Independent Reading and Journal

    Ask students to submit their Dialectical Journal entry to you.


    Continue reading your Independent Reading book and completing your Dialectical Journal entries.