Twelfth Grade

Cover Letter Workshop - Formatting and Organization

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Cover Letter Workshop - Formatting and Organization

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The cover letter is one of the most challenging documents you may ever write: you must write about yourself without sounding selfish and self-centered. The solution to this is to explain how your values and goals align with the prospective organization's and to discuss how your experience will fulfill the job requirements. Before we get to content, however, you need to know how to format your cover letter in a professional manner.

Formatting your cover letter

Your cover letter should convey a professional message. Of course, the particular expectations of a professional format depend on the organization you are looking to join. For example, an accounting position at a legal firm will require a more traditional document format. A position as an Imagineer at Disney might require a completely different approach. Again, a close audience analysis of the company and the position will yield important information about the document expectations. Let the organization's communications guide your work.

For this example, we are using a traditional approach to cover letters:

  • Single-space your cover letter

  • Leave a space between each paragraph

  • Leave three spaces between your closing (such as "Sincerely" or "Sincerely Yours") and typed name

  • Leave a space between your heading (contact information) and greeting (such as, "Dear Mr. Roberts")

  • Either align all paragraphs to the left of the page, or indent the first line of each paragraph to the right

  • Use standard margins for your cover letter, such as one-inch margins on all sides of the document

  • Center your letter in the middle of the page; in other words, make sure that the space at the top and bottom of the page is the same

  • Sign your name in ink between your salutation and typed name

Organizing your cover letter

A cover letter has four essential parts: heading, introduction, argument, and closing.

The heading

In your heading, include your contact information:

  • name

  • address

  • phone number

  • email address

The date and company contact information should directly follow your contact information. Use spacing effectively in order to keep this information more organized and readable. Use the link at the top of this resource to view a sample cover letter - please note the letter is double-spaced for readability purposes only.

Addressing your cover letter

Whenever possible, you should address your letter to a specific individual, the person in charge of interviewing and hiring (the hiring authority). Larger companies often have standard procedures for dealing with solicited and unsolicited resumes and cover letters. Sending your employment documents to a specific person increases the chances that they will be seriously reviewed by the company.

When a job advertisement does not provide you with the name of the hiring authority, call the company to ask for more information. Even if your contact cannot tell you the name of the hiring authority, you can use this time to find out more about the company.

If you cannot find out the name of the hiring authority, you may address your letter to "hiring professionals" - e.g., "Dear Hiring Professionals."

The introduction

The introduction should include a salutation, such as "Dear Mr. Roberts:" If you are uncertain of your contact's gender, avoid using Mr. or Mrs. by simply using the person's full name.

The body of your introduction can be organized in many ways. However, it is important to include, who you are and why you are writing. It can also state how you learned about the position and why you are interested in it. (This might be the right opportunity to briefly relate your education and/or experience to the requirements of the position.)

Many people hear of job openings from contacts associated with the company. If you wish to include a person's name in your cover letter, make certain that your reader has a positive relationship with the person.

In some instances, you may have previously met the reader of your cover letter. In these instances it is acceptable to use your introduction to remind your reader of who you are and briefly discuss a specific topic of your previous conversation(s).

Most important is to briefly overview why your values and goals align with the organization's and how you will help them. You should also touch on how you match the position requirements. By reviewing how you align with the organization and how your skills match what they're looking for, you can forecast the contents of your cover letter before you move into your argument.

The argument

Your argument is an important part of your cover letter, because it allows you to persuade your reader why you are a good fit for the company and the job. Carefully choose what to include in your argument. You want your argument to be as powerful as possible, but it shouldn't cloud your main points by including excessive or irrelevant details about your past. In addition, use your resume (and refer to it) as the source of "data" you will use and expand on in your cover letter.

In your argument, you should try to:

  • Show your reader you possess the most important skills s/he seeks (you're a good match for the organization's mission/goals and job requirements).

  • Convince your reader that the company will benefit from hiring you (how you will help them).

  • Include in each paragraph a strong reason why your employer should hire you and how they will benefit from the relationship.

  • Maintain an upbeat/personable tone.

  • Avoid explaining your entire resume but use your resume as a source of data to support your argument (the two documents should work together).

Reminder: When writing your argument, it is essential for you to learn as much as possible about the company and the job (see the Cover Letter Workshop - Introduction resource).

The closing

Your closing restates your main points and reveals what you plan to do after your readers have received your resume and cover letter. We recommend you do the following in your closing:

  • Restate why you align with the organization's mission/goals.

  • Restate why your skills match the position requirements and how your experience will help the organization.

  • Inform your readers when you will contact them.

  • Include your phone number and e-mail address.

  • Thank your readers for their consideration.

A sample closing:

I believe my coursework and work experience in electrical engineering will help your Baltimore division attain its goals, and I look forward to meeting with you to discuss the job position further. I will contact you before June 5th to discuss my application. If you wish to contact me, I may be reached at 765-555-6473, or by e-mail at Thank you for your time and consideration.

Although this closing may seem bold, potential employers will read your documents with more interest if they know you will be calling them in the future. Also, many employment authorities prefer candidates who are willing to take the initiative to follow-up. Additionally, by following up, you are able to inform prospective employers that you're still interested in the position and determine where the company is in the hiring process. When you tell readers you will contact them, it is imperative that you do so. It will not reflect well on you if you forget to call a potential employer when you said you would. It's best to demonstrate your punctuality and interest in the company by calling when you say you will.

If you do not feel comfortable informing your readers when you will contact them, ask your readers to contact you, and thank them for their time. For example:

Please contact me at 765-555-6473, or by e-mail at I look forward to speaking with you. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Unit 2 CFA 12th Grade

CFA Task 1: Capstone Skill Building Check Point- present information/findings in a multimedia format


  • Pick your favorite movie/book/play. Identify the archetypal character(s), setting(s), theme(s) and motif(s). Present your information using digital media (e.g. Prezi, PowerPoint, website, blog site, tumblr, Pinterest board, imovie, haiku deck (and other apps) facebook page, etc.).

Focus Standard:

  • Draw evidence from literary or informational text to support analysis, reflection and research. Present information, findings, and supporting evidence, conveying a clear and distinct perspective, such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning.

  • Communicate information through multi-media.

Unit 2 CFA Task 2: CFA Writing Focus- Informational/Explanatory Writing (Literary Analysis)


Based on the excerpt provided by your teacher, write a response where you identify a possible theme and the most likely purpose of the work. Then, explain how the author utilizes literary devices to 1.) develop the theme and 2.) achieve his or her purpose.

Focus Standard:

  • Develop a topic by selecting the most significant and relevant facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience’s knowledge of the topics.


  • Teachers select a literary work or excerpt of their choice to use for the Literary Analysis CFA.

Unit 3 CFA 12th Grade

Unit 3 Supporting Lesson: Capstone Skill Building Check Point

Task 1: In an effort to formulate your research questions for the Capstone Project, students will

  • Generate 1 or 2 potential research topics that are socially significant/relevant and that inherently embody multiple positions or points of view (i.e. “arguable” topics).

  • Use the SOAPSTone tool and Audience Assessment tool included to guide and focus their research efforts and assignments:

  • Prepare for research by reviewing and referring back to the following chart to help guide and organize your research experience:


Category of the research that must be covered


What are the key statistics/terms/people associated with your topic?


Why is your topic a relevant social issue? What is the background and historical basis for your issue?

Compare and Contrast

What are the multiple perspectives surrounding your topic? Rarely there is a “right” or “wrong” way to view things…

Cause and Effect

What other issues contribute to your topic? How does your topic affect other issues/people/ nations, etc.

Problem and Solution

It is clear your topic is an issue. Now what? What does the future look like? What happens now?

Narrative Embedding

How does the topic relate to you personally? Your community? The world as a global community?


Why are you interested in this topic? What potential challenges do you think might arise in your research of this topic? What do you think you will learn by researching this topic?

  • Find multiple sources (6+) and evaluate each source using the “CRAAP test.” (See link below.)

  • Write a summary of their findings: what is the value and the validity of each source?

  • Formulate 1-3 preliminary research questions for their chosen topic.

Focus Standard(s):

  • Conduct research to begin the process of answering a question or solving a problem; narrow or broaden inquiry as needed to find sufficient and relevant sources of information.

  • Gather relevant information from multiple, authoritative print and digital resources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the strengths and limitations of each source in terms of the task, purpose, and audience.


Information on the CRAAP Test:

CRAAP Test Evaluation Worksheet:


  • Originally conceived as a method for dissecting work of professional writers, SOAPSTone provides a concrete strategy to help students identify and understand the main components of writing.

  • SOAPSTone (Speaker, Occasion, Audience, Purpose, Subject, Tone) is an acronym for a series of questions that students must first ask themselves, and then answer, as they begin to analyze texts and/or plan for their own writing assignments.

Who is the Speaker?
The voice that tells the story. Whose voice is going to be heard. Whether this voice belongs to a fictional character or to the writers themselves, students should determine how a writer develops the personality/character/credibility of the speaker or narrator that will influence the overall meaning of the text. Think about: What assumptions can you make about the speaker? (e.g. age, gender, emotional state, etc.) What is the speaker’s point of view?
What is the Occasion?
The context and circumstances of the piece that prompted the writing. Writing does not occur in a vacuum. All writers are influenced by the larger occasion: an environment of ideas, attitudes, and emotions that swirl around a broad issue. Then there is the immediate occasion: an event or situation that catches the writer's attention and triggers a response.
what is the rhetorical occasion of the text (to relate a memory, a description, an observation, an argument, a critique?) Think about: What is the setting? What is the intended emotional effect? What else was going on in the world when the author was writing? What is the rhetorical occasion of the text (to relate a memory, a description, an observation, an argument, etc.)
Who is the Audience?
The group of readers to whom this piece is directed. Successful writers must determine who the audience is that they intend to address. It may be one person or a specific group. This choice of audience will affect how and why writers write a particular text. Think about: Who does the author want to be affected by the text?

What is the Purpose?

The reason behind the text. Writers need to clearly consider the purpose of their text in order to develop the thesis or the argument and its logic, or in the case of fiction, to develop a theme. Writers should ask themselves, "What do I want my audience to think or do as a result of reading my text?" What is the writer’s message and how does he convey it?
What is the Subject?
Students should be able to state the subject in a few words or phrases. This step helps them to focus on the intended task throughout the writing process. Subjects, or topics, are then developed into full ideas, arguments, or themes. What is the speaker literally saying?
What is the Tone?
The attitude of the author toward his/her subject. The spoken word can convey the speaker's attitude and thus help to impart meaning through tone of voice. With the written word, tone is created by conscious choices in diction, syntax, figurative language, imagery and selection of details to extend meaning beyond the literal. The ability to manage tone is one of the best indicators of a sophisticated writer. Think about: Diction – is the writing tight and efficient (economical) or elaborate and long-winded (expansive)? Does the writer use proper and formal language? Tone – What is the speaker’s attitudes about the subject? About the audience? Does the speaker seem sarcastic, aggressive, wistful, pessimistic, hopeful, bitter, reflective, skeptical, etc.?

  • Persuade

  • Motivate

  • Inform

  • Excite

  • Scare

  • Warn

Expanding: Audience Assessment: How do you determine the knowledge, opinions, needs, and wants of your target audience?

What are you trying to get your audience to know, feel/do?

You need to consider the following questions:

  1. Who:

    1. Who is your audience?

  2. Understanding:

    1. What does the audience already know about the topic?

    2. What background does the audience need to have in order to have a better understanding of your topic?

  3. Demographics:

    1. What is the age, gender, and educational background of your audience?

  4. Interest:

    1. Why in the world is your audience going to be reading/listening/partaking in your topic?

    2. Will the audience be interested by your topic? Why?

    3. Why should your audience care about your topic?

  5. Environment:

    1. Where will this information be received?

  6. Needs:

    1. What are the needs of the audience? Do they need to be informed, entertained, and amused? Should they be motivated to action?

  7. Customize:

    1. What specific needs should you address?

    2. What values to you share with the audience?

    3. What values of yours are different?

      1. Will the audience object to your values?

      2. How to you address any objections within your topic? (Remember: you may not change everybody’s mind, but you can sway them to consider reasonably sound arguments).

  8. Expectation:

    1. What does the audience expect to learn from your topic?

Multi Genre (MG) Project Possible Topics

  • Elements of the perfect urban space.

  • Social Media accessibility and use and its impact on American politics/international politics

  • Healthcare quality, cost and access: private vs. government based systems

  • Access to clean water in 3rd world countries

  • Racism and Intolerance in American history

  • News Media accessibility, accuracy, and impact

  • Transition to democratic governments in dictatorship countries

  • Affect/Impact/Process of bidding for and hosting Olympic Games

  • Is college worth it?

  • Music and its reflection of and influence on Societal Change in American History

  • Doping and professional sports; consequences-what should they be? Influence on young athletes

  • Demise of print journalism and the future of journalism today; media integrity

  • Health foods, vitamins and supplements: legit or bogus? Health effects, cost, quality control, etc.

  • Alternative fuels: solar, electric, wind, nuclear, methane, etc.

  • Removal of God/religion from American life

  • American K-12 education: public, private charter, voucher, successes, failures, and the future

  • Immigration: hot topics, concerns, laws, proposed solutions for border protection, amnesty, etc.

  • Reality TV: viewership demographics, sponsors, costs to produce, real or “fake,” money made by show, best and worst, appeal, etc.

Unit 3: OPTIONAL Task: To experience the dynamic of a small collaborative team assignment, students will read an outside-of-class dystopian novel and work together in a trio to promote/present the book in a multimedia format. Project description and Dystopian book list follows.
Project: “MADMEN”- Promote your novel to book consumers

Step One- Choose teams and select dystopian novel. Review SOAPSTone before you begin your project to be sure you are creating the most effect promotional vehicle for your novel.

S=speaker: your group-you may choose one or more spokespersons to help present

O=occasion: a multimedia society competing for consumer dollars spent on books

A=audience: book consumers who are looking for a good book to purchase or download

P=purpose: to promote the book

S=subject: your selected book

Tone: persuasive and enthusiastic and knowledgeable
Step 2- Choose your format: Prezi, Web, Gallery, iMovie

  • Prezi (multimedia)


    • Using the Prezi program, create a multimedia Prezi (

    • 15-20 elements required on this presentation; variety of text, video, and photos

  • Website/Blogsite/Tumblr (multimedia)




    • Using a website creation tool/program of your choice, (such as or or create a multimedia website to promote your novel. Minimum of 10 elements on the site; combination of photos, videos, and text

  • iMovie (multimedia)


    • Make one original movie trailer OR book trailer for your novel-about 3 minutes long

    • Preface your trailer with additional promotion information/persuasion to create interest in your book-at least a 3-5 minute promotional presentation to gain interest in the book

    • Make a movie poster (digital, not physical product) that includes a dominant visual element, information on actors, director, producer, and 3 quotes from book critics who have praised and recommended the book, and any other element to improve the impact of the poster

  • Gallery (original art and text)

    • Using a minimum of 10 original art pieces and/or photos, create a “gallery walk” that promotes the book. Each piece should have a placard with information typed and mounted or framed in a professional-looking way to accompany each art piece. The information will fulfill the required elements listed above; the art/photos should be displayed in an attractive manner in the classroom before class begins, using lighting, music, tablecloths, easels, or whatever manner of display the group decides

Step 3- Delegate required elements and set your deadlines for work and progress checks
Step 4- Practice as a group for quality and timing. Presentation lengths should not exceed 10-12 minutes.
Step 5- Present to Class and submit self and peer grade sheets

Dystopian Novels: a short list

The Road-Cormac McCarthy

Brave New World-Alduos Huxley
1984-George Orwell
Farenheit 451-Ray Bradbury
Divergent-Veronica Roth
Maze Runner-James Dashner
Snow Crash-Neal Stephenson
Oryx and Crake-Margaret Atwood
Uglies-Scott Westerfield
Ready Player One-Ernest Cline
World War Z-Max Brooks
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy-Douglas Adams
Things We Didn't See Coming-Steven Amsterdam
The Host-Stephenie Meyer
The Sphere-Michael Creighton

The Hunger Games-Suzanne Collins

UNIT 3 CFA Task: CFA Writing Focus- Informational/Explanatory Writing (Full Rhetorical Essay)

Analyze the rhetorical strategies used by Clarence Darrow to address a jury in a notorious 1st degree murder case. Brief background to frontload students: “On May 21, 1924, two brilliant, wealthy, Chicago teenagers attempted to commit the perfect crime just for the thrill of it. Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb kidnapped 14-year-old Bobby Franks, bludgeoned him to death in a rented car, and then dumped Franks' body in a distant culvert. Although they thought their plan was foolproof, Leopold and Loeb made a number of mistakes that led police right to them. The subsequent trial, featuring famous attorney Clarence Darrow, made headlines and was often referred to as ‘the trial of the century.’” -

Identify the three strongest arguments in his closing speech to the jury. Acting as a prosecuting attorney, how would you counter and refute Darrow’s arguments? Write a paragraph for each argument you intend to refute, using effective rhetorical strategies such as ethos, logos, pathos, etc. to support your position and procure a guilty verdict!

  • Read and annotate the text together as a class. You may utilize a number of “during-reading” strategies such as “Charting the Text” and/or “Writing in the Margins.”

  • The teacher will lead the class to collectively develop argument #1 using the graphic organizer below. Teacher and students will fill in the components of the graphic organizer and then compose the paragraph for argument 1 together, modeling a strong analytical paragraph (topic sentence, evidence/examples, analysis, well-chosen transitions, and a concluding and/or transitional sentence).

  • Next, students will work in pairs to brainstorm (filling in the graphic organizer) and then compose a paragraph for argument #2. Teacher will facilitate and provide feedback on partner work to refine ideas and writing.

  • For the final step, each student will work independently to brainstorm (completing the graphic organizer) and then produce a paragraph for argument #3.

  • To finish the essay, teacher will review and model “Opening and Closing Strategies” following the graphic organizer below and assign students to individually compose their own opening and closing paragraphs.


  • Reading standard 5- Analyze and evaluate the effectiveness of the structure an author uses in his or her exposition or argument, including whether the structure makes points clear, convincing, and engaging.

  • Reading standard 6- Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text in which the rhetoric is particularly effective, analyzing how style and content contribute to the power, persuasiveness, or beauty of the text.

Transcription by Stephanie Worley. Property of ©2010. All rights reserved. Page 1

Clarence Darrow

A Plea for Mercy

Delivered 24 September 1924

Now, your Honor, I have spoken about the war. I believed in it. I don’t know whether I was crazy or not. Sometimes I think perhaps I was. I approved of it; I joined in the general cry of madness and despair. I urged men to fight. I was safe because I was too old to go. I was like the rest. What did they do? Right or wrong, justifiable or unjustifiable which I need not discuss today it changed the world.
For four long years the civilized world was engaged in killing men. Christian against Christian, barbarian uniting with Christians to kill Christians; anything to kill. It was taught in every school, aye in the Sunday schools. The little children played at war. The toddling children on the street. Do you suppose this world has ever been the same since? How long, your Honor, will it take for the world to get back the humane emotions that were slowly growing before the war? How long will it take the calloused hearts of men before the scars of hatred and cruelty shall be removed?
We read of killing one hundred thousand men in a day. We read about it and we rejoiced in it if it was the other fellows who were killed. We were fed on flesh and drank blood. Even down to the prattling babe. I need not tell you how many upright, honorable young boys have come into this court charged with murder, some saved and some sent to their death, boys who fought in this war and learned to place a cheap value on human life. You know it and I know it. These boys were brought up in it. The tales of death were in their homes, their playgrounds, their schools; they were in the newspapers that they read; it was a part of the common frenzy what was a life? It was nothing. It was the least sacred thing in existence and these boys were trained to this cruelty.
It will take fifty years to wipe it out of the human heart, if ever. I know this, that after the Civil War in 1865, crimes of this sort increased, marvelously. No one needs to tell me that crime has no cause. It has as definite a cause as any other disease, and I know that out of the hatred and bitterness of the Civil War crime increased as America had never seen before. I know that Europe is going through the same experience today; I know it has followed every war; and I know it has influenced these boys so that life was not the same to them as it would have been if the world had not made red with blood. I protest against the crimes and mistakes of society being visited upon them. All of us have a share in it. I have mine. I cannot tell and I shall never know how many words of mine might have given birth to cruelty in place of love and kindness and charity.
Your Honor knows that in this very court crimes of violence have increased growing out of the war. Not necessarily by those who fought but by those that learned that blood was cheap, and human life was cheap, and if the State could take it lightly why not the boy? There are causes for this terrible crime. There are causes as I have said for everything that happens in the world. War is a part of it; education is a part of it; birth is a part of it; money is a part of it all these conspired to compass the destruction of these two poor boys.
Has the court any right to consider anything but these two boys? The State says that your

Honor has a right to consider the welfare of the community, as you have. If the welfare of the community would be benefited by taking these lives, well and good. I think it would work evil that no one could measure. Has your Honor a right to consider the families of these defendants? I have been sorry, and I am sorry for the bereavement of Mr. And Mrs. Frank, for those broken ties that cannot be healed. All I can hope and wish is that some good may come from it all. But as compared with the families of Leopold and Loeb, the Franks are to be envied and everyone knows it.

I do not know how much salvage there is in these two boys. I hate to say it in their presence, but what is there to look forward to? I do not know but what your Honor would be merciful to them, but not merciful to civilization, and not merciful if you tied a rope around their necks and let them die; merciful to them, but not merciful to civilization, and not merciful to those who would be left behind. To spend the balance of their days in prison is mighty little to look forward to, if anything. Is it anything? They may have the hope that as the years roll around they might be released. I do not know. I do not know. I will be honest with this court as I have tried to be from the beginning. I know that these boys are not fit to be at large. I believe they will not be until they pass through the next stage of life, at forty-five or fifty. Whether they will then, I cannot tell. I am sure of this; that I will not be here to help them. So far as I am concerned, it is over.
I would not tell this court that I do not hope that some time, when life and age have changed their bodies, as they do, and have changed their emotions, as they do that they may once more return to life. I would be the last person on earth to close the door of hope to any human being that lives, and least of all to my clients. But what have they to look forward to? Nothing.
And I think here of the stanza of Housman:

Now hollow fires burn out to black,

And lights are fluttering low:

Square your shoulders, lift your pack

And leave your friends and go.

O never fear, lads, naught’s to dread,

Look not left nor right:

In all the endless road you tread

There’s nothing but the night.
I care not, your Honor, whether the march begins at the gallows or when the gates of Joilet close upon them, there is nothing but the night, and that is little for any human being to expect.

But there are others to consider. Here are these two families, who have led honest lives, who will bear the name that they bear, and future generations must carry it on.

Here is Leopold’s father and this boy was the pride of his life. He watched him, he cared for him, he worked for him; the boy was brilliant and accomplished, he educated him, and he thought that fame and position awaited him, as it should have awaited. It is a hard thing for a father to see his life’s hopes crumble into dust.
Should he be considered? Should his brothers be considered? Will it do society any good or make your life safer, or any human being’s life safer, if it should be handled down from generation to generation, that this boy, their kin, died upon the scaffold?
And Loeb’s the same. Here are the faithful uncle and brother, who have watched here day by day, while Dickie’s father and his mother are too ill to stand this terrific strain, and shall be waiting for a message which means more to them than it can mean to you or me. Shall these be taken into account in this general bereavement?

Have they any rights? Is there any reason, your Honor, why their proud names and all the future generations that bear them shall have this bar sinister written across them? How many boys and girls, how many unborn children will feel it? It is bad enough as it is, God knows.

It is bad enough, however it is. But it’s not yet death on the scaffold. It’s not that. And I ask your Honor, in addition to all that I have said to save two honorable families from a disgrace that never ends, and which could be of no avail to help any human being that lives.
Now, I must say a word more and then I will leave this with you where I should have left it long ago. None of us are unmindful of the public; courts are not, and juries are not. We placed our fate in the hands of a trained court, thinking that he would be more mindful and considerate than a jury. I cannot say how people feel. I have stood here for three months as one might stand at the ocean trying to sweep back the tide. I hope the seas are subsiding and the wind is falling, and I believe they are, but I wish to make no false pretense to this court.
The easy thing and the popular thing to do is to hang my clients. I know it. Men and women who do not think will applaud. The cruel and thoughtless will approve. It will be easy today; but in Chicago, and reaching out over the length and breadth of the land, more and more fathers and mothers, the humane, the kind and the hopeful, who are gaining an understanding and asking questions not only about these poor boys, but about their own these will join in no acclaim at the death of my clients.
These would ask that the shedding of blood be stopped, and that the normal feelings of man resume their sway. And as the days and the months and the years go on, they will ask it more and more. But, your Honor, what they shall ask may not count. I know the easy way. I know the future is with me, and what I stand for here; not merely for the lives of these two unfortunate lads, but for all boys and all girls; for all of the young, and as far as possible, for all of the old. I am pleading for life, understanding, charity, kindness, and the infinite mercy that considers all. I am pleading that we overcome cruelty with kindness and hatred with love.
I know the future is on my side. Your Honor stands between the past and the future. You may hang these boys; you may hang them by the neck until they are dead. But in doing it you will turn your face toward the past. In doing it you are making it harder for every other boy who in ignorance and darkness must grope his way through the mazes which only childhood knows. In doing it you will make it harder for unborn children. You may save them and make it easier for every child that sometime may stand where these boys stand. You will make it easier for every human being with an aspiration and a vision and a hope and a fate. I am pleading for the future; I am pleading for a time when hatred and cruelty will not control the hearts of men. When we can learn by reason and judgment and understanding and faith that all life is worth saving, and that mercy is the highest attribute of man.
I feel that I should apologize for the length of time I have taken. This case may not be as important as I think it is, and I am sure I do not need to tell this court, or to tell my friends that I would fight just as hard for the poor as for the rich. If I should succeed, my greatest reward and my greatest hope will be that for the countless unfortunates who must tread the same road in blind childhood that these poor boys have trod, that I have done something to help human understanding, to temper justice with mercy, to overcome hate with love.

I was reading last night of the aspiration of the old Persian poet, Omar Khayyam. It appealed to me as the highest that I can vision. I wish it was in my heart, and I wish it was in the hearts of all:

So I be written in the Book of Love,

I do not care about that Book above.

Erase my name or write it as you will,

So I be written in the Book of Love.

Clarence Darrow, “A Plea for Mercy”

Argument 1,2,3

Task: Paraphrase/quote the best three arguments

Rhetorical Device(s)

(Ethos, pathos, logos, etc.)

What makes the argument strong? (How does style and content contribute to the power, persuasiveness and beauty of the text?)

Brainstorming on rhetorical devices to counter and refute the argument

#1 (“We do”- teacher with the class)


#2 (“Ya’ll do”- student pairs)


#3 (“You do”- student works alone)


Wrap-up: Students write their own introduction and concluding paragraphs using effective Opening and Closing strategies reviewed in class
Claim-a claim is your reasonable, defendable position or assertion; grab the reader’s attention with one of the following opening strategies that best “fits” your claim, purpose, and audience.

  1. Quotation, smoothly integrated

  2. Acknowledgment of an opinion opposite to the one you will defend

  3. Short anecdote or narrative

  4. Analogy

  5. Specific example or description

  6. Personal experience

  7. Startling statement (could be a paradoxical or ironic)

  8. Interesting fact (NOT dictionary definition)

  9. Pose a question that relates to your claim


  1. Confirm your main point-finish argument by drawing your best thoughts together into a logical conclusion; make a final appeal to your audience as a clear and compelling reiteration of your claim.

  2. Summarize/synthesize using different diction than what you used in the introduction, and add additional insight arrived at as a result of your close examination of your topic. SYNTHESIZE—don’t just summarize. Show how the points you made and the evidence you used fit together to add up to something more expansive than each individual item.

  3. Show the importance of the implications your argument and evidence reveals; i.e. why should we care?

  4. Make a proposal of the logical and next step given the current understanding of your topic; a “CALL TO ACTION”

  5. End with a powerful quotation that sums up and encapsulates the claim.

  6. Echo the beginning, tying your conclusion back to your introduction by repeating key words, phrases and ideas.

  7. Envision the future given acceptance of your argument or findings.

  8. Suggest how the conclusion might impact or apply to a larger audience or setting, a “universal” application of your findings.

  9. Don’t end with a question or introduce a new comment that does not further your main claim…it’s your job to ANSWER the questions and PROVE the assertions you present in your paper, not introduce new ones at the end.

Closing strategies: SAMPLES for fiction and nonfiction essays

  1. Confirm your claim: So, based on the nauseating evidence of how oil, money, and power were the true motives behind the Iraqi war, in spite of individuals’ honest patriotism, Americans cannot afford to not be more discriminating in the future when politicians, liberal or conservative, “cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war.”

  1. Summarize: So, whereas politicians’ perceptions of spreading freedom in Iraq are tarred and feathered with oil and money, and while they starve for power, hopefully Americans begin to fear, rather than worship, war.

  1. Emphasize importance of implications: Thus, Romantic idealism, manifested in Angel’s seemingly harmless idealization of Tess as “Artemis,” can ironically and monstrously smother the subtler, more down-to-earth, but nonetheless breathtaking beauties and wonders of the real life, or, in this case, the real girl.

  1. A proposal: So, I gave some money to the beggar, realizing that my conscience is all I own; material possessions will dissolve in time and space. And I urge conscientious people everywhere to not, by withholding their money, compromise their sole possession.

  1. End with quotation that encapsulates claim: So while, “amid the grey half-tones of the morning,” Angel mistakes Tess Durbeyfield for Artemis, flattering as that may be, his idealization of her blinds him to the complex, “gray,” layered depths of Tess’ womanhood. The beautifully tangible.

  1. Different Scenario/same implications: Therefore, while inky, innate darkness, according to Golding, blackens humanity’s every cell—to acknowledge and confront it face to face may redeem both the human condition and the human soul.

  1. Circle back to opening strategy: So, while I don’t actually hate puppies, sunshine, and symmetry—ugly, broken things/people have a shine and a symmetry that perhaps more strongly evokes our deeper emotional responses.

  1. Envision the future: War is not inherently bad. But I envision a future where the reasons for waging war will be presented objectively, and with illuminating clarity, to the general populous—before, not after, the war.

  1. Conclusion applied to larger audience: Oedipus is mauled by bear-like Fate—eyeless. Songless. But the fear of fate’s arbitrary will is relevant today and still affects peoples’ choices. Humanity, as a whole, broods on like one, big self-fulfilling prophecy.

  1. Answer your question: Therefore, Angel did not truly love Tess, at least at the time of their marriage. Yet, with time and profound reflection, he felt his loss of Love in the end.

Opening strategies: SAMPLES for fiction and nonfiction essays

  1. Quote: “Fair is foul and foul is fair, hover through the fog and filthy air…” Indeed, into the air, Shakespeare’s Macbeth suspends the possibility that Macbeth’s vision of himself as king—while being a prophetic and juicy idea—may, in reality, be a self-destructive delusion.

  1. Opposite opinion: Many Americans believe that going to war with Iraq in 2003 was a moral obligation to free the Iraqis from oppression; however, this essay will explore how oil, money, and power, more than altruistic duty, incentivized the declaration of war.

  1. Analogy/Anecdotal: Like moonlight filtering through ocean waves— like brooding prisms, Golding’s Lord of the Flies gives transparency to the frightening, organic evil swimming in the human psyche.

  1. Specific example: As sweet as it may seem when Angel Clare calls Tess his “Artemis,” these flatteries forecast what Hardy later reveals as the terrible consequences of Romantic Idealism.

  1. Personal experience: Stumbling towards me in the darkness, the homeless man begged through twisted, toothless lips for money. Uncomfortably, I reached for my wallet, realizing that more unnerving than his artless, groveling petition, would be for me to think I am better than he and that I somehow deserve the possessions I own.

  1. Startling statement: I hate puppies. I shrug off sunshine. I loathe symmetry. To me, beautiful things, while pleasing to the senses, do not emotionally move me the way broken, ugly, heart-breaking things do.

  1. Interesting fact: In Latin, the word “Philosophy” actually denotes the Love of Wisdom, which leads one to believe that philosophers are more than just know-it-alls, but passionate learners.

  1. Rhetorical Question: Did Angel truly Love Tess, or does Hardy’s novel reveal the tragic tendency of people to pursue an illusion of perfection rather than embrace the imperfect but sweet realities.

Unit 4 CFA 12th Grade

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