Lesson Plan #15
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for offline reference.
Writing Opinion Pieces About
Meaningful Issues to Kids
Grades 7 to 12
Language Arts, Journalism, Social Studies
OVERVIEW OF LESSON PLAN
In this lesson, students identify controversial topics on which
they have strong opinions and model their own persuasive opinion
pieces after the featured article. SchoolNet News Network's website:
can assist teachers and students with learning more about journalism
skills, see other students' articles and provide a safe, structured
environment for students to publish their writing.
MATERIALS AND PREPARATION
1. WARM-UP/ DO-NOW: On a sheet of looseleaf
paper, students respond to the following prompt (written on the
board prior to class):
- What controversial issue do you have a strong opinion about?
- Is there one that especially "hits home" for you
through some personal experience? (This issue can be something
that is being debated nationally, internationally, or locally)
- How do you feel about the issue and why?
Students write their thoughts anonymousluy. The teacher should
then collect the responses, read them aloud and then list the
topic of each paper on the board.
As students listen, ask them to respond by raising their hands
if they agree with the opinion asserted.
2. Direct students' attention to the list of issues written
on the board. Are there any other issues that they can think
of that they might want to add (curriculum, dress codes, curfews,
gun laws, drug and alcohol policies, standardized testing, etc.)?
3. After any remaining issues are added to the list,
ask students to begin writing an opinion article. Their article
should answer the 5 W's: Who, What, When, Where, Why (and sometimes
How). Tell them about the inverted pyramid. This means that articles
should be written with the most important information first and
the least important last. Encourage them to use the SNN site
information to development journalistic writing skills.
4. To see how this type of article can be written, students
can review the sample article by SNN Reporter attached. Tell
students to use the internet, library, newspapers and magazines
to research their article.
5. Finally, ask them to trade rough drafts with a partner
or read their pieces aloud in small peer revision groups to assess
them using the above criteria.
6. WRAP-UP/ HOMEWORK: Students revise their
opinion pieces based on peer comments and bring a finished draft
to class. Each student identifies his or her intended audience
(school, local community, national or international).
These articles can be shared with the class if desired OR published in
their own school newspaper or in an online youth ezine.
Students will be evaluated based on their participation in class
and peer-group discussions and their creation of both a rough
draft and revised version of an opinion piece.
FURTHER QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
- What extracurricular activities of any kind, including jobs,
have been especially important to you? Why?
- What rules do you think you will make for your own children
about the role of extracurricular activities and work in their
lives while they are still in school?
- Write profile article for SNN about an extracurricular activity
or job that has changed you in some important way. What did you
learn from it?
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