scaffolding the process for argumentative essays


UX, Education, Curriculum Design





Project Packet

In-depth page on process and methods



By the time many American students reach 11th grade, they are often struggling in writing. This scaffolded format makes the essay process visual and segmented, calling attention to certain standardized “moves” and structure.


Create a scaffolded essay writing process for students reading and writing between a 2nd and 12th grade level that makes research, structure, and organization accessible to students. The goal is for students to learn these moves in order to focus on argument.


Borrowing sentence scaffolds from “They Say/I Say,” design a tactile and visual process for understanding and organizing argumentative essays. Prototype and modify lessons in-class.

Outcomes and Takeaways

Using this method, students typically jumped two TN argumentative writing rubric levels and wrote up to five times as much. This format has been adopted in several schools across the country and abroad.

Link to a more in-depth description, including teacher and student testimonials


Role: Teacher, Curriculum Designer


Attributions: Deborah Collier Penney for the original notecard format and process.

Team Size: 1


Project Length: 2 months