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SHOULD YOUR SCHOOL GET RID OF SPORTS?. Claim: It’s time to scale back sports. If you were to turn this into an essay, you would… First give a claim. (Topic Paragraph) Then you will provide three reasons. (Three body paragraphs)

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should your school get rid of sports
  • Claim: It’s time to scale back sports.

If you were to turn this into an essay, you would…

  • First give a claim. (Topic Paragraph)
  • Then you will provide three reasons. (Three body paragraphs)
  • Provide text evidence to support each reason in your body paragraphs.
  • Acknowledge the other side but do not agree with it.
  • Conclusion should restate your claim and briefly your reasons.
reason 1 sports interfere with learning
Reason 1: Sports interfere with learning.

Possible evidence includes:

  • During football season, in particular, “focus shifts away from learning.” Long football practices, pep rallies, parent meetings, and late-night band practices put the emphasis on football, rather than education.
  • Studies show students perform better when school starts later, but school continues to start early so athletes will be able to practice while it is still light outside.
Reason 2: Prioritizing sports has contributed to American students falling behind their peers in other countries academically.
  • Possible evidence includes:
  • More than 20 nations have better high-school graduation rates than the U.S.
  • Comparing a high school in New Jersey to a school in South Korea reveals that Americans put a lot more emphasis on athletics. At the school in South Korea, kids play informal soccer games. They are celebrated for academic achievements, not athletic ones.
  • Sports are embedded in American schools in a way they aren’t in other countries.
Reason 3: The cost of school sports causesschools to cut back on what they are spending on academics.
  • Possible evidence includes: (This is on the worksheet.)
  • A school in Premont, Texas, was in danger of being closed for “financial problems and academic failures,” but it still funded teams in many sports.
  • Suspending sports at Premont freed up money that was used to repair science labs and get the school out of debt.
  • Schools must spend money on substitute teachers, travel to away games, upkeep of sports facilities, security for games, and more.
  • At the end of the first section, she acknowledges that sports “. . . do have many benefits—providing exercise, lessons in perseverance, school spirit, and just plain fun. . . .” But, she implies, this is not sufficient reason to leave school sports as they are.
  • She writes, “. . . the emphasis on sports has gone too far.” She also implies that if sports were scaled back, kids could play with private leagues instead, when she mentions that Nathan, the would-be quarterback from Premont, had started playing for a club team.
persuasive strategies students should circle the following
Persuasive Strategies: Students should circle the following:
  • She mentions research.
  • She appeals to the reader’s emotions.
  • She uses a tone the makes her seem believable and trustworthy.
  • She gives real-world examples.


  • Ripley argues that sports should be scaled back by telling the story of a school in Premont that had great success after suspending sports. She uses an authoritative tone. She backs up her argument with studies, anecdotes, and statistics, and by comparing American schools to the rest of the world. She ends her essay with a call to action, saying that more schools should follow Premont’s lead.
  • What type of information could Ripley add to make her argument more convincing? More information about the relationship between the size of a sports program and the academic performance of students, especially comparing American schools to schools in other countries that outperform us, would be helpful.
  • Regardless of your personal opinion of the role of sports in American schools, do you find Ripley’s argument convincing? Why or why not? (Discuss)
now you try
Now you try…
  • Read the article “No! Sports Are More Important Than Ever” by Tim O’Shei on page 12-13.
  • Using your packet, complete the 4-6 (Reasons through Evaluation) for this story.
  • Once you have completed this exercise, you should begin “Write an Argument Essay.”
  • Anything not completed in class will be homework and due at the end of class on Wednesday.