Form 5 English Textbook Topics For Argumentative Essays

The text for this course is The St Martin's Guide to Writing, 9th edition by Axelrod and Cooper


Rubric - 2014


English 151 Syllabus

Core Essay Overview

Academic Inquiry--Core Essay Series

Sample Assignment Explain a Concept Essay

Sample Assignment Presenting Opposing Positions Essay

Tweaked Sample Assignment Presenting Opposing Positions Essay

(this version assignment makes absolutely explicit the expository nature of the essay and is designed to prevent students from lapsing into argumentation. Use it if students are conflating explanation with persuasion.)

Sample Researched Argument Essay with Works Cited Page

Sample Assignment Researched Argument Essay


Syllabus:  151 Assignment Descriptions

Sample Assignment Profile

Sample Assignment Explain a Concept

Sample Assignment Researched Essay

8 Rules for Simple Outlining

Library Research Guide Points of View Reference Center Debatable Issues Topics

SMSU Library Citation Style Guides

Sample Assignment Rubric Presenting Opposing Positions Essay

Sample Assignment Rubric Researched Argument Essay

Text and Readings Supporting Presenting Opposing Positions Essay Instruction Part 1

Text and Readings Supporting Presenting Opposing Positions Essay Instruction Part 2

Text and Readings Supporting Presenting Opposing Positions Essay Instruction Part 3

Sample Student Essays, Expository and Persuasive--From Axelrod and Cooper's Sticks and Stones and Other Student Essays

Sample Student Essays

These essays run the gamut in grades from A to C+

Example Student Essay Explain a Concept

Example Student Essay Argumentative Research Paper

Example Student Essay Opposing Viewpoints Paper

The Essay

Differences between College Writing and High School Writing
Revising Strategies for College Writers-Deep Revision

Modes of Development for Expository and Persuasive Essays

Library Research

Library Research Strategies for Essays 3, 4, and 6 (Points of View Reference Center)

Library Research Handout:  EBSCO Products

MLA Format and Source Documentation

MLA Sample Pattern Document First Page

MLA Sample Pattern Document Lesson and Process

MLA Page Format

MLA Sample Works Cited Page

MLA Formatting Quotations

MLA In-text Citation Style

Attribution/Avoiding Plagiarism

Sample Annotated Bibliography Entry, Print Book

 Sample MLA Annotated Bibliography

Textbook/Instructor Guide Resources

Instructor Guide

Assessing Student Writing

Targeted Grading Sets Up the Writing Conference

Targeted Grading Sample Essay

Handling the Grading Load More Efficiently


Literature 120 Resources

Sample Syllabus LIT 120

Sample LIT 120 Assignments

LIT 120 Textual Database




English Department Rubric

Sample Assignments:  Fiction, Poetry, Drama

Sample Assignments Improved:  Fiction, Poetry Drama (includes standards, MTC competencies)

Sample Syllabus 1

Sample Syllabus 2 Inventing the University Bartholomae

Sample 3



Critical Approaches to Literature Slideshow

Applying Feminist Critical Approaches to Maxine Hong Kingston's 'No Name Woman' Slideshow

Handout Applying Feminist Critical Approaches to Kingston's 'No Name Woman'

 Write Literary Analysis Essays Poetry/Imagery

Hamlet Lecture Notes

Administrative and Professional Development Resources

College Now Handbook: Handbook
Instructor/Mentor Guidelines:  Guidelines


Writing Assessment

Assessing Student Writing Gellis

Assessing Student Writing Haynes

 Composition Theory

Linda Flower and John Hayes on the Writing Process Model (cognitive approach)

English Resources Page for Students

Welcome Students!  This page is designed to give you course syllabi and resources for English 151 and Literature 120.  English 151 is an academic writing course.  You will choose a debatable issues topic, will conduct inquiry driven academic research to write a series of essays that explain the topic, explain two opposing points of view on the topic, and argue one side of the debatable issue.  You will also create an annotated bibliography and a problem statement essay. 


Here is the course syllabus:  English 151 Syllabus 


This quick overview explains the major essay assignments for the course:  Core Essays

An Introduction to Academic Inquiry and Academic Research:  Overview/Core Essays

Academic Inquiry and Introduction to Essay 1: Essay 1

The College Essay:  Essay

Revising Like a College Writer:  Revision


You will use the Points of View Reference Center Database to choose a topic and begin your research.  Use this presentation to learn how to access and use the Reference Center: 

Points of View Reference Center How To

And you will want to evaluate the university credible sources that you use to develop your essays.  Here's how:                Tips for Evaluating Sources

You will also want to do database searches and ebook searches.  These tutorials will help you to widen your academic research skills.  Ebooks               Basic Database Search                Advanced Database Search


You will document your sources.  This resource will help:  Library Citation/Documentation Guides MLA and APA Style

Links to Online Resources:

Purdue Online Writing Lab MLA Guide:

Diana Hacker Online Handbook:

This post is written by NCTE member Kim Zarins. 

[Disclaimer: I don’t have a PhD in composition studies. My PhD is in English with a focus on medieval literature. Besides teaching college literature courses, I write creatively, and my debut young adult novel comes out in September. I am joining the debate on the five-paragraph essay in response to Kathleen Rowlands’ smart “Slay the Monster” journal article, because I think high school and college teachers can work together and set up our students for success—and the five-paragraph essay is setting them up for a really tough time in college. Students don’t find their voices this way and come to college hating how they sound in writing, particularly in the essay form.

As a high-school survivor of this form and now a teacher occasionally receiving it from students trying their best, I have to say I hate this abomination. I hate it so much, I decided to be naughty and condemn the five-paragraph essay in a five-paragraph essay. Here you go. Enjoy. Or not.]

From the dawn of time, or at least the dawn of the modern high school, the five-paragraph essay has been utilized in high school classrooms. Despite this long tradition, the five-paragraph essay is fatally flawed. It cheapens a student’s thesis, essay flow and structure, and voice.

First, the five-paragraph essay constricts an argument beyond usefulness or interest. In principle it reminds one of a three-partitioned dinner plate. The primary virtue of such dinner plates is that they are conveniently discarded after only one use, much like the essays themselves. The secondary virtue is to keep different foods from touching each other, like the three-body paragraphs. However, when eating from a partitioned plate, a diner might have a bite of burger, then a spoonful of baked beans, then back to the burger, and then the macaroni salad. The palate satisfies its complex needs for texture, taste, choice, and proportion. Not so for the consumers of the five-paragraph essay, who must move through Point 1, then Point 2, and then Point 3. No exceptions. It is arbitrary force-feeding to the point of indigestion. After the body paragraphs, and if readers have not already expired, they may read the Conclusion, which is actually a summary of the Introduction. There is no sense of building one’s argument or of proportion.

Second, critical thinking skills and the organization of the essay’s flow are impaired when a form must be plugged and filled with rows of stunted seeds that will never germinate. If we return to the partitioned-plate analogy, foods are separated, but in food, there is a play in blending flavors, pairing them so that the sum is greater than the individual parts. Also, there is typically dessert. Most people like dessert and anticipate it eagerly. In the five-paragraph essay there is no anticipation, only homogeneity, tedium, and death. Each bite is not food for thought but another dose of the same. It is like Miss Trunchbull in the Roald Dahl novel,  forcing the little boy to eat chocolate cake until he bursts—with the exception that no one on this planet would mistake the five-paragraph essay for chocolate cake. I only reference the scene’s reluctant, miserable consumption past all joy or desire.

Third, the five-paragraph form flattens a writer’s voice more than a bully’s fist flattens an otherwise perky, loveable face. Even the most gifted writer cannot sound witty in a five-paragraph essay, which makes one wonder why experts assign novice writers this task. High school students suffer to learn this form, only to be sternly reprimanded by college professors who insist that writers actually say something. Confidence is shattered, and students can’t articulate a position, having only the training of the five-paragraph essay dulling their critical reasoning skills. Moreover, unlike Midas whose touch turns everything to gold, everything the five-paragraph essay touches turns to lead. A five-paragraph essay is like a string of beads with no differentiation, such as a factory, rather than an individual, might produce.  No matter how wondrous the material, the writer of a five-paragraph essay will sound reductive, dry, and unimaginative. Reading over their own work, these writers will wonder why they ever bothered with the written word to begin with, when they sound so inhuman. A human’s voice is not slotted into bins of seven to eleven sentences apiece. A human voice meanders—but meaning guides the meandering. Voice leans and wends and backtracks. It does not scoop blobs of foodstuff in endless rows. If Oliver Twist were confronted with such blobs of written porridge, he would not ask for more.

In conclusion, the five-paragraph essay is an effective way to remove all color and joy from this earth. It would be better to eat a flavorless dinner from a partitioned plate than to read or write a five-paragraph essay. It would be better to cut one’s toenails, because at least the repetitive task of clipping toenails results in feet more comfortably suited to sneakers, allowing for greater movement in this world. The five-paragraph essay, by contrast, cuts all mirth and merit and motion from ideas until there is nothing to stand upon at all, leaving reader and writer alike flat on their faces. Such an essay form is the very three-partitioned tombstone of human reason and imagination.

Kim Zarins is a medievalist and an Associate Professor of English at the California State University at Sacramento. Her debut young adult novel, Sometimes We Tell the Truth (Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse, pub date Sept 6), retells Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales with modern American teens traveling to Washington D.C. Find her on Twitter @KimZarins.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *