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lesson 3
1 hour

Racial Injustice and the Validity of the Argument


In this lesson, students read and analyze paragraphs 6–9 of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” in which King describes the racial injustice in Birmingham and explains why direct action is necessary. Students analyze one paragraph in pairs and then prepare for a collaborative whole-class discussion with a targeted analysis of different sections of the letter. Students use their targeted analysis to prepare for a collaborative whole-class discussion about the validity of King’s argument. Student learning culminates in a Quick Write that requires students to explain how paragraphs 7–9 develop a claim King makes in paragraph 6.


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Bilingual Language Progressions

These resources, developed by the New York State Education Department, provide standard-level scaffolding suggestions for English Language Learners (ELLs) to help them meet grade-level demands. Each resource contains scaffolds at multiple levels of language acquisition and describes the linguistic demands of the standards to help ELA teachers as well as ESL/bilingual teachers scaffold content for their English learning students.


From of the New York State Education Department. Grade 10 ELA Module 2, Unit 1, Lesson 3. Available from; accessed 2015-05-29.
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