Grade 9: Making Evidence-Based Claims – Plato’s Apology


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Reading Informational Text

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.

RI.9-10.2 Determine a central idea of a text and analyze 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.

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.


W.9-10.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

W.9-10.9(b) Apply grades 9-10 Reading standards to literary nonfiction (e.g., “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”).

Speaking and Listening

SL.9-10.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9-10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.


This Grade 9 unit titled “Making Evidence-Based Claims – Plato’s Apology” from is part of a developing core proficiencies program that is intended to be completed in 6 to 14 sessions of direct ELA/Literacy instruction. This unit develops students’ abilities to make evidence-based claims through activities based on a close reading of an excerpted text from Plato’s Apology. Activities are scaffolded to build the skill from the ground up. Students first learn the importance and elements of making evidence-based claims through close readings of the text. Instruction leads to students writing evidence-based claims that are clear and compelling, well-supported by textual evidence, coherent and organized, and that show control of language and grammar. In addition to reading and writing, the unit incorporates many structured collaborative activities to develop key speaking and listening proficiencies. The culminating assessment is broken into two parts. First, students individually make a new evidence-based claim based on an independent re-reading of the entire text, followed by writing a final evidence-based writing piece using their new claims.


Connecticut teachers should be aware that due to the rigor required for student success, additional supports for students who are ELL, have disabilities, or read well below the grade level text band may be required. Instruction in language and grammar assessed on the rubric is not directly observable in the unit and may need additional instructional time.


The design of this unit is exemplary; files, including detailed daily lesson plans, are organized so that teachers can easily browse through the materials. It includes a clear and explicit purpose for daily rigorous instruction that integrates reading, writing, speaking and listening so that students apply and synthesize advancing literacy skills. In addition to reading and writing, the plan incorporates many structured collaborative activities to develop key speaking and listening proficiencies. The unit includes a progression of learning where concepts and skills advance and deepen over time; it gradually removes supports and requires students to demonstrate their independent capacities. Several strategies for teaching academic and disciplinary vocabulary are embedded in instruction. Varied modes of assessment with an aligned rubric provide guidance for interpreting student performance.