Writing Claims: Three Crucial Components - EB Academics

Grab Your Free Writing Guide

Become an EB Insider Today

Writing Claims: Three Crucial Components

July 27, 2016 3 min read

In our experience there are THREE crucial components students must master to gain confidence and skills in writing claims (also known as a thesis statement).

  1. Understand and explain what a claim actually is. 
  2. Differentiate between claims and statements. 
  3. Find appropriate evidence to support their claims. 
Before we started using Evidence-Based Writing in our classrooms, “claims” was not in our students’ vocabulary. So we had to help them understand this new word and concept (which is interchangeable with the term “thesis”). At the very basic level, a claim is a sentence that can be argued. In other words, you can back up what you’re saying with evidence and explain why that evidence proves you are, in fact, right. On the flip side, someone else might completely disagree with you, but as long as they have evidence to support their reasoning, they can be right, too!
Here are some examples (you can even use these with your students in your classroom!):
CLAIM: In-N-Out makes the best hamburger out of all of the fast food chains.
What makes this a claim? a) It’s arguable. Not everyone would agree that In-N-Out burgers are the best (Five Guys, anyone?!), b) It can be supported with evidence. Theoretically, you could poll thousands of people and see which hamburger is the best. You could track sales and see which restaurant sells the most burgers, etc. 
NOT A CLAIM: In-N-Out makes hamburgers.
Why isn’t this a claim? It simply CANNOT be argued. One quick check of the In-N-Out menu proves that they make hamburgers. End of story. Yet, some students might not see the difference between “In-N-Out makes the best hamburgers” and “In-N-Out makes hamburgers,” which leads us to point number two …

We’ve used this great Claims vs. Statements Sorting Activity with our students to make learning this concept more interactive and fun. You can grab your own by CLICKING HERE.

This is a critical step before students can write quality claims. If they can’t identify claims, how can they create their own? Baby steps, people! They need to be reminded that claims must 1) be arguable, and 2) can be supported with evidence.
Once students feel confident identifying and writing claims, it’s time to practice finding evidence to support their claims. And not just any old evidence will do, it needs to meet certain criteria! Which brings us to our last point …
Students may know that a quote from the text is necessary to back-up their claim, but they may struggle with finding the right quote. The right quote must 1) be relevant to the topic they are writing about, and 2) must support their claim/reasoning. If it doesn’t meet the above criteria, it’s probably not the right piece of evidence to use.
In our classrooms, we use our Evidence Tracker to help students organize their evidence. And if you use this resource and are modeling how to find “just right” evidence as you read a piece of literature, then students will be gathering excellent quotes to support their claims. But, let’s face it, you aren’t going to be following your students to college. At some point, students need to become completely self-sufficient in identifying both quality and ineffective evidence. We use our Finding the Right Evidence Activity to help students practice this skill, which is a part of this resource in our Teachers Pay Teachers store.
**If all of this seems SUPER overwhelming, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. We created an entire unit filled with tips, step-by-step instructions, graphic organizer, rubrics, and so much more to help you teach writing effectively in your classroom! We call it the “How to Teach Writing” Unit, and you can learn more about it by CLICKING HERE. (FYI: This mega unit includes all of the resources we’ve mentioned in this blog post.)
What are some ways that you help your students practice writing claims and finding solid evidence? Let us know in the comments below!

Pin this post for later …

Do you struggle with teaching claims and/or thesis statements in your middle school classroom? This blog post is the answer to all of your problems! This post gives you three essential steps to helping your students learn and understand claims!

All posts

No Comments

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.



Hi there! We're two middle school ELA teachers with a mission to share ideas, tips, and tricks for effectively teaching reading and writing in the secondary classroom. We're so happy you stopped by!

Caitlin + Jessica

Your 15 Free Resources Are Waiting!

Immediately receive access to our
Free Resource Library

We promise we won't spam you.

Let’s Connect

Popular Posts

Our Latest Posts



  • Let me know in the comments which camp you’re in?⁣
Holiday music right after Halloween!! 🎄 ⁣
Or ... You’re crazy, it’s WAY too early to start listening to holiday music! 😱⁣
Well, I used to be the latter, but the other day “White Christmas” came on, and I just decided to FULLY embrace the holidays early this year 😂 Oh well!⁣
With that being said, this Gingerbread House for Sale Descriptive Writing Activity is an AMAZING resource for your middle schoolers to dive into right before the break!⁣
Things are INSANE this time of year and kids need something that is engaging and fun, yet highly rigorous and academic 🎄 That’s exactly what this resource is! ✅ ⁣
Let me know in the comments if you’d like me to DM you the link! Or you can visit the link in our profile as well 😘⁣
And if you already have and have used this resource in the past, I would LOVE to know that as well!!⁣
Hope you all are having a restful Sunday ♥️
  • One of the biggest mistakes we can make as writing teachers is requiring our students to start their essays with a HOOK. 
With this strategy, students gets STUCK on that first sentence before they can even get a chance to get to the heart of their paper! They end up wasting tons of precious writing time trying to come up with an interesting hook that oftentimes is a stretch. 
Instead, we want to give our students a CLEAR roadmap to begin their essays. One that will give them confidence in their abilities from the get go. One that allows them to quickly move into the meat of their critical analysis, so they can truly show us what they've learned. 
If you've ever taught hook and are ready to try a new, counterintuitive approach that WORKS and gives your students RESULTS, this episode is a MUST listen. 
Head over here to give it a listen --> ebacademics.com/34
  • Double tap if you agree ♥️♥️⁣
And if you need to call in sick to take a mental health day for yourself. DO IT. Take a day off and go get a pedicure, or go shopping, or go workout!⁣
Do whatever you need to do to get to the place of your best self. ⁣
I used to work with a teacher who took a mental health day every month. It was when I first started teaching, and I didn’t get it. Why was she doing that?⁣
Well, fast forward to a decade in the classroom later, and now I truly see the value and importance of doing that! ⁣
I know you hear it all the time, but let it sink in ...⁣
You need to do what’s best for YOU and take care of yourself first. If we aren’t operating from our best selves, then we’re not able to serve anyone the way that we’re capable of. ⁣
On another note, hope you all enjoyed that extra hour of sleep last night! And if you have young children, I can commiserate. My little guy woke up at 6:30 😂😭🤦🏼‍♀️📸 @dumbosteiner
  • Get a quick listen into this week’s podcast episode all about hooking your students into literary analysis writing! We have a free download for you to give you a quick WIN in the classroom. Listen to the rest of the episode and get the free download here -> ebacademics.com/33
  • We get A LOT of questions about classroom management and what to do when your kids are out of control or just not listening. ⁣
This is worth a read. So keep scrolling down!⁣
I’ll briefly share some of my thoughts on this (although I would like to do a whole podcast episode about it) ...⁣
1. You need to clearly communicate your expectations. Always. (Just as this picture shows.)⁣
2. Have a system in place that you use CONSISTENTLY. Consistency is key with anything, but especially when it comes to your rules, policies, and procedures. ⁣
3. Never, ever yell at your students. Ever. Period. ⁣
4. Come from a place of understanding and compassion. ⁣
5. Take a moment to have a conversation with individual students after class. Ask them what’s going on and what you can do to help them. Don’t yell at them or make them feel bad. Come from a place of kindness and compassion. If you haven’t tried this approach before, I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the conversation. ⁣
6. Show your students the same amount of respect you expect from them. ⁣
7. You are the ultimate role model for behavior in your classroom. If you’re yelling or emotionally out of control when handling a situation, think about what that might be saying to your students ...⁣
Now I KNOW this is HARD, and yes, we make mistakes. And yes, not all of this works all of the time. ⁣
But what I can tell you is that these practices have been embedded into everything I’ve always done as a teacher, and I very rarely had behavior issues in any of my classrooms (classrooms in a wide range of ages, places, etc). ⁣
What else would you add? A practice that you’ve used year after year that has created a positive and kind classroom culture. Please feel free to share in the comments. I would love to read them ♥️
  • Jessica and I have a present for you ... coming on December 29th! Lol ... we know it’s quite a ways away, but we are already hard at work getting together another amazing online training for YOU! ⁣
So, first MARK YOUR CALENDAR for December 29th! ⁣
Then, let us know in the comments (or shoot us a DM) what is your biggest frustration when it comes to teaching writing? What do you absolutely HATE about it? The thing that makes your skin crawl. ⁣
Yes, tell us!⁣
I’ll share what mine used to be first ...⁣
The utter and insane frustration of my students making the same mistakes time and time again even though we’d covered that specific skill what seemed like a million times before. That was unbelievably difficult for me! ⁣
Your turn 👇🏼

Follow @ebacademics