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Jessika Richter
Jessika Richter
(Lund - Sweden)

The short and sweet: I have been a passionate teacher since 2001.  I first worked with the National Park Service in Washington (state), then moved to Australia where I completed my DipEd at the University of Melbourne and then taught at Hailebury  ...

National Women's History Month

Lesson 3: Argumentative Essays and Women's Fight for Equality

Materials: copies of speeches listed below, internet access, computer with projector or copies of information listed below, pens, pencils, paper, access to a computer lab for students.



  • The student will examine argumentation and develop informed opinions.
  • The student will select an issue or theme and take a stance on that issue by supporting argument with specific reasons.
  • The student will use argumentation for establishing and defending a point of view.

1. Show a clip from a TV news show or read an editorial from a local paper arguing a particular issue that you think may be of interest to students. Discuss briefly what the writer or speaker is arguing and how he/she makes that argument.

2. Brainstorm topics that students feel strongly about. You could do this as a whole class or ask students to divide into groups. Share aloud and discuss these topics briefly.

3. Guide students through the Organizing Your Argument Presentation from the Online Writing Center at Purdue University. Then, return to the original article to discuss how the author organized his/her piece. The OWL at Purdue's "Logic in Argumentation" can further help students understand fallacies and setting up arguments. Depending on your teaching style, you can ask students to take notes on this information or give them a handout in advance.

4. After you have covered this material, ask students to brainstorm what issues might have been a point of argument at the turn of the century. Write ideas on the board. Then, direct students to the issue of women's rights. Ask them to share what ideas come to mind when they hear the term "women's rights." Show the timeline One Hundred Years Toward Suffrage: An Overview by E. Susan Barber.

5. Read the following texts, while asking students to analyze the argumentative style of each speaker. Use the Argumentative Analysis Worksheet developed by Lisa Weihman at West Virginia University to help guide students through each text.

7. Analyze each argument, using the worksheet, and identify major themes and ideas from the speeches.

8. Ask students to further brainstorm other issues that concern them, focusing on one that they would like to research and explore. These issues could be as local as the classroom or school, or as global as they feel comfortable.

9. Assign an argumentative essay, according to your goals and class needs. This rubric from Durham Technical College may help guide your decisions.


Students can be evaluated for completion and understanding of the analysis worksheets. The argumentative essay should be a major grade, divided into parts: proposal, first draft, final draft, etc.

Harriet Tubman: A Portrait of Determination

Harriet Tubman: A portrait of Determination, an integrated, thematic fourth grade Social Studies and Science unit, will take students into a world of desperation, inspiration, and determination. The purpose of this unit is to teach students to investigate colonial history, ask questions about people and their behavior, and gain a better understanding of how determination can change a society for the better or worse. Recapturing this history is accomplished by entering into the life of Harriet Tubman through videos, picture books, poems, internet research, and other hands-on projects. At the end, the students will have created a Harriet Tubman time capsule that will reflect her life and the challenges of that time period. Students must know how to navigate searches on a computer, look up resources in a library, and have been previously taught about constellations.

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Women's Movement