- Grades: 9–12
This persuasive writing unit challenges students to raise and sustain a viable argument for or against sentencing juveniles as adults for crimes they commit. Students will read the text that utilizes written appeals (logical, ethical, and emotional), examine juvenile crime data and survey their own school population to create a complete opinion for two culminating tasks: a community service poster or leaflet to inform teens of their rights, trends and statistics of teen crime, and potential consequences under their local jurisdiction.
In addition to reading the expository text, struggling readers can make use of reading of "The Outsiders" by S.E. Hinton to track the criminal behavior of some of the main characters to frame their response to the essential question and/or, if working with the READ180 program, utilize the elements of rBook Workshop 8 (Crime, Punishment, and Teens). In the end, students gain a deeper understanding of the consequences of crime and walk away with an understanding of the concept of justice.
Students will analyze data and trends from national crime statistics in addition to reading the expository text to: (1) create community service posters or leaflets to inform their peers of trends and statistics of teen crime and potential consequences and, (2) write a persuasive essay that responds to the ongoing debate of sentencing juveniles as adults for crimes committed as teens.
- Learn the concept of "justice"
- Read and annotate the expository text
- Make predictions and ask initial questions after briefly perusing text
- View videos and take notes
- Discuss, compare and contrast, and interpret information presented in graphs and tables
- Develop empathy for others
- Develop a sense of moral responsibility
- Formulate opinions based on facts
- Demonstrate responsibility as a member of a community
- Articulate ideas in a persuasive essay
Lesson Plans for this Unit
Lesson 1: What is Justice?
Lesson 2: Evaluating Evidence for Bias
Lesson 3: Reading and Interpreting Data
Using all the articles, video, and discussion as resources and the community service project, students will compose a persuasive essay (approximately 800-1000 words long) that will include all elements required for a 9th-10th grade persuasive composition:
- Attention grabber
- Background information
- Thesis Statement
- Topic Sentence
- Supporting Evidence (using logical, ethical, and emotional appeals)
- Elaboration based on evidence
- Transitional sentence
- Restatement of Thesis
- Summary of key points
- Call to action
Teens, Crime, and the Community, Student Edition (Paperback) published by McGraw-Hill
They Broke the Law-You Be the Judge: True Cases of Teen Crime (Paperback) by Thomas A. Jacobs