Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Uniforms vs. Fashion: Want to Take a Side?

Constance Light
Collier County Schools


Students write a draft of a persuasive essay to the principal addressing the issue of whether or not Three Oaks Middle School should adopt uniforms.


The student selects and uses a format for writing which addresses the audience, purpose, and occasion (including but not limited to narrative, persuasive, expository).


-Poster with picture(s)of uniformed student(s) vs. fashionable student(s) with caption below: Which side are you on?
-Overhead projector
-Vis-à-vis pens, three colors
-3 Blank transparencies
-Transparency of sample letter
-Writing packet for each student (See Preparations)
-Copy of prompt (See Associated File)
-Transparency of prompt (See Associated File)
-Lined notebook paper
-Pens, pencils
-Large, handwritten Checklist of Criteria to post (See Associated File)
-Checklist of Criteria, one per student (See Associated File)


1. Locate a picture of a student or students attired in uniforms or suggested dress code considering being adopted by your school. Also, locate some of the latest fashionable looks that students consider to be in style. Make a poster and use a caption underneath: Which side are you on?
2. Have a large, handwritten Checklist of Criteria on display, but also print the Checklist of Criteria page (See Associated File) to reproduce and cut out for students.
3. Locate an overhead projector to be used for labeling parts of the prompt. Make sure the overhead is in working order, i.e., the bulb works.
4. Download the prompt from the associated file and make a transparency. (The prompt for the transparency is typed in a large font.)
5. Locate three different Vis-à-vis colors for labeling.
6. Prepare a writing packet for each student which includes a top sheet labeled “planning,” a second lined page with a copy of the prompt on the top (See Associated File), and a third blank lined sheet. (The prompt for the writing packet is typed in a normal font.)
7. Have a sample letter on a transparency to review letter format.
8. Have a blank transparency to write ideas on ways to plan.
9. Have a transparency to remind the students about beginnings (FADQQ). (See Procedures, step #1)
10. (Optional) You may also have a transparency to record some student examples of clichés and slang when you remind students they are inappropriate.
11. Have some pens and pencils available just in case they are needed.


Note: This lesson assumes that the student has had practice with narrative and expository essays and has been introduced to persuasive writing. Students should also have been taught how to begin an essay with an attention grabber (FADQQ –facts, anecdote, description, questions, quotes). Previous lessons have covered clichés, slang, and complete sentences.

1. Have on display a poster of a uniformed student vs. a fashionably attired student with caption: Which side are you on? Spend a few minutes discussing pros and cons for each side of the issue with the students or use the Think-Pair-Share strategy and allow them to discuss. (Note: See for information on how to use the Think-Pair-Share strategy.)

2. Next, tell the students that they are going to have some input into an important decision the school must make, and that they need to express their sides of the issue in writing.

3. Pass out the packet with the prompt and analyze it with the students. Mark on the transparency as they do the same on their papers: Identify the topic and label with a “T” (uniforms), put a box around the cue word (convince), label “P” to indicate persuasive, and underline and label with “WA” the specific task to write about (to convince your principal to agree with your side).

4. Remind the students the writing may be in letter format, which requires a proper salutation and closing, or essay format as long as there is a clear beginning, middle, and end for each.

5. Remind students good writing always requires some planning ahead of time. To quickly review, ask for examples of appropriate planning strategies (i.e., brainstorming, listing and categorizing, webbing, free writing, outlining). Encourage students to choose one as they begin working.

6. Review criteria
- begin with an attention grabber (FADQQ)
- take a point of view
- give at least two reasons and evidence to support their opinion.
Remind students to counter any major arguments against their position when appropriate, and show how those arguments do not hold up against their position.

7. Review other criteria on checklist (no clichés, no slang, and complete sentences).

8. Suggest students use at least five to ten minutes for planning.

9. Let the students know that you will warn them five minutes prior to the end of the period so that they will be certain to properly end the writing.

10. Give the students the rest of the period to write.

11. Collect the papers to be used for formative assessment. (See Checklist of Criteria in Associated File)

12. Write feedback on each letter/essay, being sure to include affirmative and corrective feedback.

13. Distribute assessed letters/essays to students and answer any questions. (This will probably be accomplished in the next class session.)


Evidence: Students produce a draft of a persuasive essay or letter that addresses the prompt.

Criteria: Checklist (See Associated File)
___ Uses appropriate letter or essay format
___ Uses an attention grabber (FADQQ)
___ Has a clear beginning, middle, and end
___ Takes a position
___ Uses adult language (no slang, no clichés)
___ Uses complete sentences


1. This lesson could be extended using various prompts.
2. The criteria could be changed for assessing different aspects (i.e., checking for voice, word choice).
3. If the students need more practice before writing their own essays, this could be done as a class with the opening and closing written together on the overhead and each group (or pair) writing one (or a different) paragraph that could be used to argue a particular side of the issue.
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