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lesson 9
1 hour

A Shift in the Argument


In this lesson, students read and analyze paragraphs 19–21 of “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” in which King claims that the white moderate is the main reason injustice against African Americans has not yet ended. Students explore how King develops this claim by criticizing the white moderate. Students also analyze how this section of the text initiates a shift in King’s argument. The class culminates with a Quick Write on the following prompt: How does King’s new claim in paragraphs 19–21 refine his central claim in paragraphs 1–18?


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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 9. Available from; accessed 2015-05-29.
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