Does greed or generosity define the holiday season? {An Inquiry Synthesis Essay}

Grade Levels
9th - 12th
Formats Included
  • PDF
10 pages
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  1. These are all of the lessons and activities that work well in the winter season.
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  2. Every English teacher needs new ways to teach argument, rhetoric, and analytical writing. The Inquiry-Based Synthesis Essay is here to save the day!This argument essay is designed to help you out in a quick fix OR to teach in-depth rhetorical analysis. The essay can be scaffolded up or down, from
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**This product is also available in a GROWING BUNDLE! Check it out and get tons more inquiry-based synthesis writing!**

From Black Friday MANIA through Christmas magic, the holidays are filled with the most extreme examples of humanity. We see people trampled to death over a flat screen TV, but we also see the most giving side of the biggest Scrooges we know.

If you're looking for an essay writing experience to get you through the last few days before winter break, you've found it!

Writing Argument: The Holiday Season Synthesis Essay

This product is a lesson plan and student handout that you could spend anywhere from two to fourteen days teaching. The essay is built around the Common Core expectations for strong, arguable claims and the ability to synthesize multiple sources.

This particular essay asks the question: Does American culture prove to be more greedy or more generous during the holiday season? The job of the students is to read through the (up to) ten sources provided, track the evidence for each argument, decide which side to argue, outline, and then write an argumentative essay that proves that our culture is either more greedy or more generous when Christmas trees are up and mall parking lots are overflowing.

What's included?

೦ An easy to read Teacher Lesson Plan with an overview of the assignment and a daily implementation plan

೦ A single-page essay prompt sheet for students to use to break down the question and do initial brainstorming. Here is a preview of the prompt:

The narrative of “the holidays” is wide reaching: we see Cheerio commercials remind us of time spend with loved ones, kids screaming at toy stores begging for the latest new trending gadget and among all of this noise, we see real people connecting with one another and traditions bonding families together in genuine ways. You have been given a mission: read, analyze, and annotate the reading packet you’ve been given, then, based on all of the evidence you’ve accumulated and observed, make a decision and answer the question below:

According to the articles and readings provided,

does greed or generosity define the holiday season?

೦ A list of TEN specially curated sources for this particular question. Explore articles, videos, Ted Talks, infographics and more that all offer rich perspectives in answering the question "Is true love fantasy or destiny?" Each source is screened, hand-picked, and valuable for class discussion, homework assignments, and even small group work.

೦ An "evidence tracker" graphic organizer for students to use while reading and examining sources. Students keep track of evidence and which side of the argument is getting stronger as they read deeper and deeper into the ten different sources.

೦ TWO different essay outline options including clear directions and definitions for each part of a strong body paragraph. This product uses common core language (claim, subclaim, evidence, etc.)

೦ ALL sources are provided to you, the teacher, in Google Docs format. This means that you are free to edit, change, and customize each and every handout to meet your own personal teaching style. Also, you can assign this easily on Google Classroom OR simply print the handouts as-is.

Questions? Feel free to ask in the Q&A section!


Are Creativity and Imagination Important? {An Inquiry-Based Synthesis Essay}

Is true love fantasy or destiny? {An Inquiry-Based Synthesis Essay}

What is happiness and is it important? {An Inquiry-Based Synthesis Essay}

About Mud and Ink:

Hi! I'm Amanda, the teacher-author behind the store Mud and Ink. I teach high school English in the Chicago suburbs. It is my mission to create and deliver challenging and creative lessons that allow YOU to get back to the adventurous, delicious, and exciting life of yours!

Subscribe to my YouTube Channel to stay up to date with the latest product reviews and insider peeks into my classroom. Check out my blog here to read about my journey creating a balanced life as a teacher and be sure to visit my FACEBOOK PAGE for updates, inspiration, and giveaways!

Total Pages
10 pages
Answer Key
Rubric only
Teaching Duration
1 Week
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.


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