Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Honesty Is the Best Policy?

Claim, Evidence, Reasoning

Shelby Blackwood | Published: May 25th, 2022 by K20 Center

  • Grade Level Grade Level 9th, 10th, 11th
  • Subject Subject English/Language Arts
  • Course Course
  • Time Frame Time Frame 120 - 180 minutes
  • Duration More 2-3 class periods


Truth is a powerful thing. Sometimes it hurts, and sometimes it is hard to deliver. In this multi-genre lesson, students will analyze and compare three texts written on the subject of honesty. Students will determine the claim a text is arguing and the evidence and reasoning that is used to support that claim. Finally, students will use evidence from the three texts to write and support their own claim. This is a multimodality lesson, which means it includes face-to-face, online, and hybrid versions of the lesson. The attachments also include a downloadable Common Cartridge file, which can be imported into a Learning Management System (LMS) such as Canvas or eKadence. The cartridge includes interactive student activities and teacher's notes.

Essential Question(s)

How important is telling the truth? Can you be honest and still be kind?



Using the Four Corners strategy, students take and argue a position on a stated claim.


Students analyze and compare the three texts using an It Says, I Say, And So strategy.


Students watch and summarize a video explaining what it means to make a claim.


Students state the claim in one of the three texts along with the supporting evidence and reasoning.


Using evidence from the three texts, students state and support their own claim.

Instructional Formats

The term "Multimodality" refers to the ability of a lesson to be offered in more than one modality (i.e. face-to-face, online, blended). This lesson has been designed to be offered in multiple formats, while still meeting the same standards and learning objectives. Though fundamentally the same lesson, you will notice that the different modalities may require the lesson to be approached differently. Select the modality that you are interested in to be taken to the section of the course designed for that form of instruction.



  • Why Be Honest? (copy for each student; attached)

  • "Like the Sun" (copy for each student; attached)

  • "Tell All the Truth but Tell it Slant" (copy for each student; attached)

  • It Says, I Say, And So handout (copy for each student; attached)

  • Word Splash Summary Rubric handout (copy for each student; attached)

  • Claim, Evidence, Reasoning Rubric handout (copy for each student; attached)

  • Argument Sentence Stems handout (copy for each student; attached)

  • Four Corners cards (Agree, Strongly Agree, Disagree, Strongly Disagree)

  • Claim, Evidence, Reasoning Video

  • Writing Paper

  • Pencils



30 Minute(s)

Use the attached Lesson Slides to follow along with this lesson. Begin with slide 3. Read aloud the essential questions: How important is telling the truth? Can you be honest and still be kind? Ask students to consider these questions and volunteer their answers. Then, move to slide 4 and briefly read aloud the lesson objectives. Explain to students they will be analyzing and comparing three different pieces of writing on the subject of telling the truth. They will identify the claims the author makes in the pieces of writing and will write their own claim supported with evidence and reasoning.

Display slide 5. Ask students to consider the statement, "It is important to always tell the truth." Using the Four Corners strategy, students move to the sign that designates their feelings about that statement. Allow students time to discuss with others in their group why they made that choice. Students should select a spokesperson to share their thoughts with the other groups. When all groups have shared out, ask students if they have changed their minds after hearing the other groups’ reasons. If they have changed their minds, they should move to that sign. Go through the process of discussion one more time.



60 Minute(s)

Display slide 6. Pass out copies of Like the Sun, Tell all the Truth, but tell it slant, and Why Be Honest? Review the example on the It Says, I Say, And So handout with students. Ask students to read each text and complete the chart as they read. Explain to students they should be reading each text with this question in mind, "Should you always tell the truth?"

Display slide 7. When students have completed their charts, ask them to answer this question, "Have you changed your mind about the statement in the last activity? Why or why not?" Ask students to discuss their answers with an elbow partner.



30 Minute(s)

Display slide 8. Students view the Claim, Evidence, and Reasoning video. Ask students to take notes as they watch the video.

Display slide 9. Students use the Word Splash strategy to write a summary of what they learned about claims, evidence, and reasoning. Give students these words to include in their summary:

  • Claim

  • Evidence

  • Reasoning

  • Support

  • Reliable

  • Sources

  • Arguable



20 Minute(s)

Display slide 10. Ask students to choose one of the three texts they read earlier. They should identify the claim the author made, the evidence the author used to support that claim, and the reasoning the author used to connect the evidence to their claim. They could refer back to their It Says, I Say, And So chart if they need help remembering the texts. When students have the claim, evidence, and reasoning written down, ask them to discuss what they have written with an elbow partner. When they have been given sufficient time to discuss their thoughts, ask for volunteers to share out with the class.



30 Minute(s)

Display slide 11. Pass out copies of the attached Argument Sentence Stems handout. Ask students to consider this question, "Should you always tell the truth?" Explain to students they will now write an argument paragraph stating their position on telling the truth. Revisit the CER strategy if needed. Students should include a strong, arguable claim, supporting evidence (from the three texts and/or their own lives), and reasoning to connect their evidence to their claim. Direct students’ attention to the Argument Sentence Stems handout. Explain these sentence stems could help structure their argument.