Grade 11: Copyright Infringement or Not? The Debate over Downloading Music


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Reading Informational Text

RI.11-12.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

RI.11-12.2 Determine two or more central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to provide a complex analysis; provide an objective summary of the text.

RI.11-12.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze how an author uses and refines the meaning of a key term or terms over the course of a text (e.g., how Madison defines faction in Federalist No. 10).

RI.11-12.6 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.

RI.11-12.7 Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a question or solve a problem.


W.11-12.1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.

W.11-12.1(a) Introduce precise, knowledgeable claim(s), establish the significance of the claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that logically sequences claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.

W.11-12.1(b) Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly and thoroughly, supplying the most relevant evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both in a manner that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level, concerns, values, and possible biases.

W.11-12.1(c) Use words, phrases, and clauses as well as varied syntax to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships between claim(s) and reasons, between reasons and evidence, and between claim(s) and counterclaims.

W.11-12.1(d) Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.

W.11-12.1(e) Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.

W.11-12.7 Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

W.11-12.8 Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the strengths and limitations of each source in terms of the task, purpose, and audience; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and overreliance on any one source and following a standard format for citation.

Speaking and Listening

SL.11-12.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence, conveying a clear and distinct perspective, such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning, alternative or opposing perspectives are addressed, and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and a range of formal and informal tasks.


L.11-12.6 Acquire and use accurately general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.


This Grade 11 ELA/Literacy unit titled “Copyright Infringement or Not? The Debate over Downloading Music” from has an estimated instructional time of ten 50-minute lessons.   The emphasis of these lessons is for students to: evaluate websites and online information, extract main ideas and supporting details from online resources, analyze arguments for and against a position (paying particular attention to the role of point of view), and take a stance on a controversial issue based on research. The summative assessment asks students to defend their positions in classroom debate, providing supporting facts and details for their arguments.


Connecticut teachers should be cautioned that teacher notes and preparation materials will require familiarity to be used effectively.  Handouts and templates are included, but many of the links to websites and interactive materials are not working and/or are out-of-date; however, it is easy to replace these links using a quick Internet search. It is unclear if there is explicit instruction with student practice for word use (RI.11-12.4) or the vocabulary acquisition standard listed (L.11-12.6). Teachers should also 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.  Teachers using this unit will need to create a more comprehensive assessment with a Common Core aligned rubric that provides sufficient guidance for interpreting student performance in all unit standards. Student access to computers is necessary to complete this unit as intended.  Before this unit is used in a history/social studies course, some modifications will be necessary including: the replacement of the ELA CCSS listed above with the English Language Arts Standards in History/Social Studies that are targeted in this unit, additional history/social studies content to meet grade-specific content standards, and possible assessment and/or rubric revision.


The unit plan is a useful model of how to cultivate interest and engagement in reading, writing, listening and speaking by integrating debate format with a contemporary issue. Templates for structuring debates (found in Session 7) are informative and will provide important guidelines for teachers and students.  Multiple extension activities are included in the plan.