We know how tricky it can be to keep your students on task this week amid the flurry of Halloween parades, parties and festivities. So here’s a standards-based lesson plan that strikes a perfect balance between serious writing instruction and fun holiday celebration. This lesson may be used to introduce argumentative writing, support your continuing argumentative writing instruction, or review/assess previous argumentative writing in your classroom. All you’ll need is a large bag of assorted candy, and you’re ready to go!

Watch: “Halloween Round-Up”

Original Air Date: October 31, 2014

Whole-Class Discussion

Ask students, what are some different ways, as shown in the story, that people celebrate Halloween? Which way do you think is the most fun? Why? Class poll: How many students plan to trick or treat this Halloween?

Student Activity: Candy Judging

Randomly present each student with one piece of candy; use 4-5 different types of candy throughout the class. Be sure to keep in mind any allergies in your classroom. Ask students to brainstorm, creating a list of all the attributes of their particular candy. Then, ask students to brainstorm a list of reason why the other candy bars in the class are less desirable than their own. Next, tell students they will work together to create an argument proving their particular candy is the best.

Group Work

Place students in small groups with students who received the same candy. Ask students to share their brainstorming responses. Students then work collaboratively to choose the three best reasons why their candy is the best one, and the strongest reasons against the other candies. Remind students that all good arguments require the following elements:

  1. A Claim (Which candy is the best?)
  2. Supporting Evidence (Why is this candy the best? What makes it superior?)
  3. Counterclaims (What are the drawbacks to the other candies?)
  4. Concluding Statement (Summarize argument and make a lasting impression on audience.)

Argumentative Writing Prompt

Students work collaboratively to write one argumentative paragraph explaining the reasons why their candy is the best one in the class. Remind students that responses must include all of the required elements of argumentative writing.

Groups Present Case for Their Candy

Students select a spokesperson from each group to present arguments to the class. Ask students to decide which group’s argument was most persuasive, and why.

Lesson Extension

Encourage students to create an advertising campaign designed to “sell” their candy. Campaigns may be print, video, or presented live to class. Have fun and be creative!

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Tipping off an NBA season isn’t new to Frank Vogel, yet this year is different.

The always optimistic coach is starting over with the Orlando Magic after being dismissed by the Indiana Pacers. He is intent on getting the Magic back in the playoffs for the first time since Dwight Howard was with the team.

“I want to see our guys succeed,” Vogel said in an interview with The Associated Press. “I want to see smiles on their faces when they get over this hump and they achieve what we all know they are capable of achieving. I want to see our fans embrace it and enjoy it. They deserve it.”

The Pacers let Vogel go after five seasons and he became one of the most sought coaches this offseason. He wasn’t unemployed long. Two weeks after his firing, Vogel was introduced as coach of the Magic, who had been stunned when Scott Skiles quit in May after one playoff-less season in Orlando.

Vogel is the ideal fit of the defensive-first profile Magic general manager Rob Hennigan was looking for in coach. While in Indiana, the Pacers were one of the top defensive teams in the league.

“He’s very genuine,” Hennigan said. “I think he believes in coaching but at the same time connecting with players. His general approach is to really treat guys not just with respect, but it’s really a collaboration in his eyes. I think our guys really respond to that approach.”

A one-time video coordinator for the Boston Celtics, Vogel rose through ranks as an assistant coach where building a connection with players is must. That approach never left Vogel as he went from fourth assistant to interim coach to head coach of the then-underachieving Pacers.

Vogel proved the anti-Jim O’Brien, who Vogel replaced in Indiana. Vogel attempted to reach his players and connect with them. Paul George, a rookie first-round pick coming off the bench during Vogel’s interim season, was one of the players Vogel connected with best.

“Jim O’Brien is one of the hardest coaches to play for,” George said. “He was old school, hard-nosed. But Frank was the exact opposite of what he was — real positive, open minded.”

Under Vogel, George became a perennial All-Star.

“We had a great six years together,” George said. “He’s kind of just been there throughout my whole growing up in this league. From my rookie year to fatherhood to the All-Star Games, he’s been there.”

Despite his relationship with George and the playoff berths, Larry Bird felt it was time for a change.

Bird, the Pacers president of basketball operations, didn’t renew Vogel’s contract though the coach had a winning record in four of his five full seasons.

“I sensed some things over the last few years and took a lot of notes like I do every year,” Bird said in a telephone interview with AP. “When his contract was up, I just thought maybe it was time right then.”

Vogel had a 250-181 regular-season record and guided the Pacers to back-to-back Eastern Conference finals still has accepted the move, even if he still doesn’t completely understand it.

“Part of the business,” said Vogel, who also 31-30 in the playoffs after taking over for fired Jim O’Brien with 38 games to go in 2011. “I still have a lot of friends there, including Larry, who was the one who chose to make the change. I will always be grateful for him.

“I’m disappointed, I wanted to be there forever,” said Vogel, a 43-year-old New Jersey native. “I loved living in Indiana. I loved the organization, the Simon family. I loved everything about being the Pacers coach.”

Bird said building relationships with players is one Vogel’s strengths.

“The main thing is he is so positive — positive energy,” Bird said in a telephone interview with AP. “You felt like he could the players to believe in his system, believe in him. I thought that was a great attribute he had.”

Vogel has brought the same approach to Orlando where he and Hennigan have reconfigured the Magic into the mold of his Pacers teams. The two men added power forward Serge Ibaka and free agent center Bismack Biyombo in the summer to bolster the interior defense.

The first-year Orlando coach seems to be quickly winning over the Magic players.

“He’s a good guy,” said third-year forward Aaron Gordon. “We can tell he is genuine.”

The next step is to see if Vogel’s ability to connect with players translates into enough wins to get Orlando back into the playoffs for the first time since 2012. Vogel predicted during his opening news conference that the team would be in the playoffs this season. After months on the job, he hasn’t backed off that promise.

“I believe we are going to have a chance to go deep into the playoffs,” Vogel said. “I believe in this team.”

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (AP) — Authorities say they’ve charged a man with attacking a reporter and a photographer for a Buffalo television station as they covered a public event.

WIVB-TV reports the crew was covering the opening of a public art display in the city of Niagara Falls on Saturday evening when they were accosted by several men in an alley. A producer monitoring the live video feed from the scene heard someone ask the crew for money and the camera before the camera went black.

Police say one of the men punched the reporter and photographer in the face. During the attack, the camera smashed on the ground. The reporter suffered minor injuries while the photographer was taken to a hospital for treatment of facial injuries.

Police later arrested a 26-year-old man and charged him with assault and attempted robbery.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Olympic figure skating champion and commentator Scott Hamilton has been diagnosed with a third brain tumor.

People magazine reports Hamilton has been diagnosed with a benign pituitary tumor.

In a video for People magazine, the 58-year-old Hamilton joked that he has “a unique hobby of collecting life-threatening illness.” Hamilton has survived two previous brain tumors and also a bout with testicular cancer. He says the current tumor was discovered during a routine checkup.

Hamilton won gold at the 1984 Winter Games and has served as a skating commentator for several networks.

He says on Twitter that he has “been blessed beyond my wildest imagination.”

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Getting into the Las Vegas spirit, President Barack Obama told Nevadans late Sunday they have a winning hand in Democrats Hillary Clinton and Senate candidate Catherine Cortez Masto.

Obama was campaigning to boost Clinton’s prospects and help Democrats to retake Senate control, scheduling a stop in tightly contested Nevada before headlining party fundraisers in California.

“You’ve got black jack,” Obama told a crowd of 3,000 boisterous supporters packed into a local high school, while another 2,100 were in an exterior courtyard.

Obama was unsparing in his criticism of Trump, describing the billionaire businessman as unfit to serve as president. Obama said that for years, Republican politicians and far right media outlets have trumped up “all kinds of crazy stuff” about him, Clinton and Reid. He cited as an example those who questioned whether he was born in the U.S. or alleged that he would take everybody’s guns away.

“Is it any wonder that they ended up nominating somebody like Donald Trump,” Obama said, claiming that Republican lawmakers stood by and said nothing because it gave them a political advantage.

“So Donald Trump did not start this,” Obama said. “He just did what he always did, which is slap his name on it, take credit for it and promote it.”

But Obama also tried to make life difficult for Republican candidates who have recently sought to distance themselves from the GOP nominee, and on Sunday, it was Rep. Joe Heck’s turn.

Heck and Cortez Masto are vying to replace Sen. Harry Reid, the leading Democrat in the Senate who is retiring after serving out his fifth term. Obama said Cortez Masto would be the first Latina to serve in the U.S. Senate and believes that every family should have the chance to pursue the American dream. He said that Trump had once referred to some immigrants from Mexico, where Cortez Masto’s grandfather was from, as criminals or rapists.

After a 2005 video emerged of Trump making vulgar remarks about women, Heck said he couldn’t support Trump. But Obama said GOP candidates were simply reacting to Trump’s slipping poll numbers.

“Too late. You don’t get credit for that,” Obama said.

Polls indicate that the presidential and Senate races in Nevada are extremely tight. Reid’s seat is considered the only one Republicans could reasonably flip to their side this election. Outside groups have spent tens of millions of dollars trying to influence the outcome.

Obama’s standing in the polls has made him a popular surrogate for congressional candidates hoping that a decisive Clinton victory will benefit them as well. The White House has said that Obama’s primary mission in the next two weeks will be helping Clinton, but he will also use his appearances at campaign events and in television ads to support Democratic candidates up and down the ballot, even in some state legislative races.

Heck was one of the first GOP candidates to withdraw his backing from Trump. Heck’s decision could help him appeal to moderate voters, but he risks alienating some of Trump’s ardent supporters.

Democrats need to pick up five seats to gain the majority in the Senate, or four if they hang onto control of the White House. The vice president casts tie-breaking votes in the Senate.

Obama flew to San Diego after his speech, telling some 60 donors paying $10,000 a person that some of the greatest progress during his tenure took place during his first two years when Democrats controlled both chambers. He said he had a congressional majority that delivered and was willing to take tough votes. He said he was prepared to veto many bills when Republicans took over, but “they are not even organized enough to get their own stuff done.”

Obama said the strongest message that could be sent in the upcoming election was if Nancy Pelosi was once again the House speaker. He took particular aim at Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, who is in the fight of his congressional career against political newcomer Doug Applegate. Issa represents a congressional district in the San Diego area.

Obama recalled that Issa had called his administration perhaps the most corrupt in history. Now, Obama said he was using the president’s photo on one of his brochures about how they had worked together on some issues.

“That is the definition of chutzpah,” Obama said.

He added that Issa spent his time trying to obstruct and feed the same sentiments that resulted in Donald Trump. “Darrell Issa was Trump before Trump,” Obama said.

Obama will participate in another fundraiser for Clinton on Monday in San Diego. He will then fly to Los Angeles for a fundraiser on Monday and to participate in a taping of Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Secrecy in the voting booth has become a thing of the past for those ready to share their views and daily lives on social media, but laws nationwide are mixed on whether voters are allowed to take pictures of themselves voting and their ballots. How states handle the question :



CONNECTICUT: No law bans ballot selfies, according to Patrick Gallahue, a spokesman for Secretary of State Denise Merrill. But election moderators have discretion to prohibit activity “that threatens the orderly process of voting or the privacy of another voter’s ballot.”

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: There’s no ban. Election officials discourage people from taking pictures but won’t do anything to stop them, said Tamara Robinson, a spokeswoman for the D.C. Board of Elections.

HAWAII: A law passed this year allows voters to share a digital image of one’s own marked ballot.

IDAHO: There’s no law banning them, the secretary of state’s office said.

INDIANA: A federal judge last year barred the state from enforcing a new law prohibiting ballot selfies.

KENTUCKY: Secretary of state spokesman Bradford Queen says state law does not allow people to record the likeness of a voter, but the law does not say whether voters can record their own likeness. Therefore, the secretary of state’s office routinely tells county clerks the law does not prohibit ballot selfies.

LOUISIANA: Secretary of State Tom Schedler says ballot selfies are allowed in the state, though he’s not a fan of them.

MAINE: The secretary of state discourages ballot selfies because there’s a ban on making unauthorized ballot copies, but there’s no law against voters posting photos of their marked ballot.

MINNESOTA: Allowed as long as they’re not shown to fellow voters at the polling place or capture another person in the photo.

MONTANA: Law does not specifically prohibit the use of cameras at polling places, but election administrators and judges have broad authority to limit disruptive activity, according to Emily Dean, spokeswoman for the secretary of state. Sharing photos of absentee ballots is also not banned.

NEBRASKA: Gov. Pete Ricketts signed a bill in April that allows someone to show their marked ballots to others without risking a $100 fine.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: The 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston last month upheld a decision that a ban was unconstitutional, saying it suppresses a large swath of political speech and there was no evidence to support the state’s concerns.

NORTH DAKOTA: Photos inside polling places are allowed.

OREGON: All voting is done through mail-in ballots, which voters are free to photograph. A state law prohibiting showing a marked ballot to another person was repealed in 2014, according to Molly Woon, a spokeswoman for Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins.

RHODE ISLAND: The Board of Elections adopted new rules in time for November’s election that allow for selfie-taking inside polling places. The updated regulations allow voters to take photos as long as they don’t show another person’s ballot.

UTAH: Gov. Gary Herbert signed a bill last year that makes it legal for people to snap pictures of themselves with their ballots. The law makes it a misdemeanor to photograph someone else’s ballot.

VERMONT: No rules regarding photos in polling places. Clerks are encouraged to adopt specific rules for their polling places to maintain order, according to Jim Condos, a spokesman for the secretary of state.

VIRGINIA: Attorney General Mark Herring issued a formal opinion last month that says ballot selfies are legal in Virginia. Nothing in Virginia law prohibits voters from taking pictures of themselves, fellow voters or their ballot within the polling place, he said.

WASHINGTON STATE: It’s not against the law in Washington, but a spokesman for Washington state Secretary of State Kim Wyman said the office doesn’t recommend it.

WYOMING: No laws against ballot selfies. Law does allow judges of elections to “preserve order at the polls by any necessary and suitable means.”



ALABAMA: Not allowed because voters have “a right to cast a ballot in secrecy and in private,” said a spokesman for Secretary of State John Merrill.

ALASKA: A state law bans voters from showing their marked ballots, but Division of Elections Director Josie Bahnke says there is no practical way to enforce it.

COLORADO: Ballot selfies or any public dissemination of a marked ballot are considered a misdemeanor. A 2016 bill to repeal the ban failed.

FLORIDA: Photographs are not allowed in polling places or of mailed ballots.

GEORGIA: Law prevents photos of ballots or the screens of electronic voting machines.

ILLINOIS: Banned by a law that considers “knowingly” marking your ballot so that another person can see it is a felony that carries of prison sentence of one to three years.

KANSAS: Secretary of state says a selfie showing a picture of the actual ballot violates state law.

MASSACHUSETTS: Taking a photo of a completed ballot in a polling location is banned in Massachusetts. But the state’s top election official, Secretary William Galvin, says there’s little the state can do to prevent it. Photos of mailed ballots are also banned.

MICHIGAN: Michigan bans photographs of ballots, but a resident is challenging the law as unconstitutional.

MISSISSIPPI: Photos showing how someone marked their ballot after voting are prohibited.

NEVADA: Photos inside polling places are not allowed, except by the media. Photos of mailed ballots are also banned.

NEW JERSEY: Law prohibits voters from showing their ballot to others. A pending legislative measure would allow voters to take photos of their own ballots while in the voting booth and share it on social media.

NEW MEXICO: Law prohibits voters from showing their marked paper ballot “to any person in such a way as to reveal its contents.”

NEW YORK: Photos showing a completed ballot or indicating how a person cast their vote are not allowed.

NORTH CAROLINA: Photographing or otherwise recording a voted official ballot is not allowed.

SOUTH CAROLINA: Law bars voters from allowing their ballots to be seen. A 2012 state attorney general’s opinion says that makes it illegal to reproduce a ballot by cellphone, video camera or iPad.

SOUTH DAKOTA: Secretary of State Shantel Krebs says ballot selfies are not allowed because they can be considered influencing a vote or forcing someone to show proof of voting.

WISCONSIN: State law prohibits sharing photos of ballots.



ARIZONA: Bars photography within 75 feet of polling places. But the Legislature changed the law that barred showing photos of completed ballots in 2015 to allow posting of early ballots on social media.

ARKANSAS: Nothing in state law prohibits taking photos while in a polling place as long as it’s not disruptive or being used for electioneering purposes, but state law on sharing voter choices is unclear.

CALIFORNIA: Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill last month that repeals a 125-year-old law barring voters from showing people their marked ballots. The change will take effect nearly two months after the presidential election, but legislative analysts have found no occasion of the ban being enforced. The author of the bill, in fact, has been sharing constituents’ photos of marked ballots on social media since the law passed.

DELAWARE: Has a policy against cellphones in voting booths, but elections Commissioner Elaine Manlove said: “I don’t know that we can control what happens behind the curtain.”

IOWA: Law prohibits the use of cameras, cellphones or other electronic devices in voting booths, so Secretary of State Paul Pate has asked voters not to take selfies with ballots. Photos of absentee ballots are OK.

MARYLAND: Bans electronic devices in a polling place except for the media. And even media members aren’t allowed to photograph a ballot that shows how someone is voting. But photos of mailed ballots are OK.

MISSOURI: Law prohibits voters from allowing others to see their ballots if the intent is to show how they voted. Secretary of state spokeswoman Stephanie Fleming described ballot selfies as a “gray area” and advises voters to check with local election authorities.

OHIO: Has a longstanding prohibition against voters letting their ballot be seen with the “apparent intention” of letting it be known how they are about to vote. The state elections chief has advised local election boards to consult their own attorneys about how to apply the law.

OKLAHOMA: Officials recommend against it, noting that state law dating back about 40 years suggests it is illegal but outlines no penalties.

PENNSYLVANIA: Law prohibits someone from revealing their ballot “letting it be known how” they’re “about to vote.” But officials recently released guidance on electronic items in polling places that noted the recent court cases that “found a First Amendment right to take ‘ballot selfies.'”

TENNESSEE: Voters are not allowed to take photos or videos while in polling places. Voters are not allowed to take photos or videos while in polling places. They’re only allowed to use electronic devices for informational purposes to assist during voting, according to Adam Ghassemi, a spokesman for Secretary of State Tre Hargett. The state’s law doesn’t address mail-in ballots.

TEXAS: Bars photography within 100 feet of polling stations, so selfies are not allowed. Photos of mail-in ballots are OK.

WEST VIRGINIA: Electronic devices are banned inside voting booths, according to Secretary of State Natalie Tennant. Nothing in the law prohibits photos of mail-in ballots.