Last updated: 5/21/2014


NYS Common Core-ELA & Literacy- Grade 10 - Quarter 2

(1) RI.9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
(1) RI.9-10.3 Analyze how the author unfolds an analysis or series of ideas or events, including the order in which the points are made, how they are introduced and developed, and the connections that are drawn between them.
(1) RI.9-10.8 Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is valid and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; identify false statements and fallacious reasoning.
(1) RI.9-10.9 Analyze seminal U.S. documents of historical and literary significance (e.g., Washington's Farewell Address, the Gettysburg Address, Roosevelt's Four Freedoms speech, King's "Letter from Birmingham Jail"), including how they address related themes and concepts.
(1) SL.9-10.3 Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, identifying any fallacious reasoning or exaggerated or distorted evidence.
(1) W.9-10.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1-3 above.)

What is our responsibility to others?

What is justice?

Argument structure of seminal U.S. and global documents

  • Central argument
  • Claims
  • Evidence

Rhetorical appeals

  • Logos
  • Ethos
  • Pathos

Rhetorical analysis

(3 weeks)

Students will be able to:

  1. Identify the central arguments, claims, and evidence of texts on the topics of justice and human rights.

  2. Evaluate the effectiveness of rhetorical appeals and arguments.

  3. Compose a rhetorical analysis utilizing relevant textual evidence from the source document.

  4. Analyze the sequence of ideas presented in documents, speeches, and essays.


Suggested texts:

  1. Universal Declaration of Human Rights published by the United Nations (document)  Useful in analyzing the sequence of ideas and their development throughout the document.

  2. Convention on the Rights of the Child published by the United Nations (document)  Useful in analyzing the sequence of ideas and their development throughout the document.

  3. "On Civil Disobedience" by Mohandas Gandhi (essay)  Useful in teaching about central arguments, claims, and evidence.

  4. "Second Inaugural Address" by Abraham Lincoln (speech)  Useful in teaching about rhetorical appeals.

  5. "Declaration of Conscience" by Margaret Chase Smith (speech)  Useful in teaching about rhetorical appeals.

  6. "Rough Justice" by Alejandro Reyes (article)  Useful in teaching about central arguments, claims, and evidence on the topics of justice and human rights.

  7. UN Convention on the Rights of the Child--PhotoEssay1  Useful in teaching students to read and analyze visual arguments and photojournalism.

  8. UN Convention on the Rights of the Child--PhotoEssay2  Useful in teaching students to ready and analyze visual arguments and photojournalism. 

Other resources:

  1. Analyzing Famous Speeches as Arguments requires that students analyze the rhetorical strategies used in speeches.

  2. Interactive Declaration of Human Rights provides a plain-language text of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with key terms and discussion questions.

  3. Lincoln's Second Inaugural is a lesson plan for exploring the themes and context of Lincoln's "Second Inaugural Address."

  4. Voices of Youth is an electronic forum for young people to read and discuss the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

  5. Gettysburg Address (1863) (Interactive Document)


  1. Writing a Rhetorical Analysis is an essay assignment with a pre-writing activity that involves conducting an analysis of the rhetorical appeals used in any of the selected speeches or essays.

  2. Argument Essay Rubric can be used with the lesson plan "Analyzing Famous Speeches as Arguments" or the rhetorical analysis writing assignment.
(1) L.9-10.4 Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grades 9-10 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
(1) L.9-10.5 Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
(1) RL.9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
(1) RL.9-10.2 Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
(1) RL.9-10.5 Analyze how an author's choices concerning how to structure a text, order events within it (e.g., parallel plots), and manipulate time (e.g., pacing, flashbacks) create such effects as mystery, tension, or surprise.
(1) RL.9-10.9 Analyze how an author draws on and transforms source material in a specific work (e.g., how Shakespeare treats a theme or topic from Ovid or the Bible or how a later author draws on a play by Shakespeare).
(1) W.9-10.11 Create literary texts that demonstrate knowledge and understanding of a wide variety of texts of recognized literary merit.

What sacrifices are made in the name of justice?

How are conscience and culture related to one another?

How does a conscience guide action?

Central themes of a narrative

Internal and external conflicts

Relationships between conflicts, characterization, and theme

Foreshadowing and flashback



Figurative language (simile, metaphor, personification, paradox, hyperbole)

(4-5 weeks)

Students will be able to:

  1. Distinguish the central themes of a text.

  2. Differentiate between internal and external conflicts.

  3. Analyze conflicts and their relationship to the characters' motivations.

  4. Determine the purposes and effects of flashbacks and foreshadowing.

  5. Understand the significance of both historical and literary allusions and their relationship to the themes of a narrative.

  6. Analyze the effects of imagery and figurative language.


Suggested texts:

  1. "Living Well.  Living Good." from Wouldn't Take Nothing for my Journey Now by Maya Angelou (autobiography)  Useful in teaching about theme and internal conflict.

  2. The Trial by Franz Kafka (novel)  Useful in teaching about internal and external conflict as well as theme.

  3. In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez (novel)  Useful in teaching about flashback, foreshadowing, and allusions.

  4. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens (novel)  Useful in teaching about conflict, characterization, and theme.

  5. Nectar in a Sieve by Kamala Markandaya (novel)  Useful in teaching about allusions and thematic development through conflict.

  6. Antigone by Sophocles (drama) Useful in teaching about allusions, imagery, and conflict.

  7. "Work Without Hope" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (poem)  Useful in teaching about allusion and personification.  This poem contains the line from which the title of Nectar in a Sieve is drawn.

  8. "Ballad of Birmingham" by Dudley Randall (poem)  Useful in teaching about imagery, allusions, and theme.

  9. "The Waking" by Theodore Roethke (poem)  Useful in teaching about paradoxes and metaphors.

  10. "Do not go Gentle into that Good Night" by Dylan Thomas (poem)  Useful in teaching about metaphors, imagery, and theme.

  11. "Dover Beach" by Matthew Arnold (poem) Useful in teaching about allusion, similes, metaphors, and hyperbole.

  12. "If We Must Die" by Claude McKay (poem)  Useful in teaching about imagery.

Other resources:

  1. Antigone Lesson Plan explores issues of power and honor, as well as the familial obligations of ancient Greece.

  2. Minor Characters and Networking in David Copperfield is a lesson requiring students to apply their social networking skills to the characters of the novel.

  3. A Rap can be used to teach about figurative language.

  4. Allusions contains ideas for using popular television shows and film to introduce allusions.


  1. Element Tracking Journal is a formative assessment to ensure that students are able to recognize literary elements and ultimately analyze their development throughout the course of a text.

  2. Essential Questions Character Conversation is an assignment that requires students to write the transcript of a conversation between three characters from the texts that have been studied.  Students must engage three different characters in a discussion of the unit's essential questions on sacrifice, justice, and conscience. 
(1) L.9-10.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
(1) RI.9-10.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language of a court opinion differs from that of a newspaper).
(1) SL.9-10.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and task.
(1) W.9-10.1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
(1) W.9-10.7 Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
(1) W.9-10.8 Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the usefulness of each source in answering the research question; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.

How can rhetoric lead to change?

Are there universal rights for which you're willing to take a stand?

Evaluating sources for integration into a researched argument

Rhetorical strategies

Central arguments

Counter arguments


(2 weeks)

Students will be able to:

  1. Outline and construct an argument that draws evidence from multiple sources.
  • Central argument
  • Claims
  • Evidence (from shared texts and gathered research)
  • Anticipation of counter-argument
  • Rebuttal
  1. Utilize parallel structure.

  2. Revise for dependent clauses and appositive phrases.

  3. Present an oral argument.


  1. Persuasive Arguments and Ethical Inquiry is a pre-writing activity that engages students in an analysis of both content and ethical issues related to argument-driven, persuasive writing.

  2. Emphasize, Minimize includes a lesson plan and corresponding PowerPoint on how to emphasize an argument while minimizing counter-claims.  The lesson embeds instruction on subordinating conjunctions.

  3. Website Evaluation Form is an interactive web-based tool the guides students through the process of evaluating web sources.

  4. Using Popular Music to Explore Injustice is a pre-writing activity that engages the essential question "Can rhetoric lead to change?"  The activity subsequently motivates students to develop and support their own arguments related to social injustice.

  5. Using Rhetoric to Address Injustice includes a series of lessons where students learn to apply the Aristotelian appeals to their own persuasive writing.


  1. Persuasive Speech Assignment describes the requirements for students' persuasive arguments on a social injustice that is derived from one of the unit's literary texts.

  2. Oral Presentation Rubric can be used to assess students' argument-driven oral presentations.

  3. Persuasive Writing Rubric can be used to assess students' written arguments.
Common Core Suggested Glossary

NYLearns English Language Arts Glossary: (Grades 9-12)

This glossary contains those terms found in or associated with the Common Core State Standards.  The glossary includes terms that are essential to understanding and developing mastery of the Standards. For additional definitions and terms, please refer to the appropriate Appendices for the ELA/Literacy or Math Common Core State Standards.

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