Opinion Writing Lesson – Day One

Prepared by: Jami Williams, Mexico High School, Mexico, Missouri

Students will learn the basic elements of editorial content and how it is produced.


  1. PowerPoint presentation
  2. Group Collaboration through small group work
  3. Merging small group into overarching topic
  4. Individual writing assignments


  1. Level 1 (Basic) understanding of editorials and the editorial writing process
  2. Level 2  (Proficient) development of editorial policy for letters to the editor
  3. Level 1 (Basic) selection, discussion and consensus on stance of local issue or school issue
  4. Level 2 (Proficient) creation of an editorial that represents the consensus on stance of the editorial board (classroom)


  1. Feature Writing PowerPoint Day 1
  2. Editorial Rules Builder
  3. Editorial Writing Guide
  4. Two (teacher’s choice) policies of larger newspapers for Letters to the Editor


Steps to check for student understanding

  1. Teacher will do frequent comprehension checks in the form of Classroom Assessment Techniques (thumbs up, thumbs down; exit slip in the form of post-it note summary)
  2. Students will submit both an editorial and a letter to the editor during the next classroom period.


  1. Suggested bell ringer: What is the most controversial topic at your school right now and how do you feel about it?
  2. Teacher will present PowerPoint.
  3. After the Power Point, the teacher should let the class know that they will be developing a policy for letters to the editor. Have your two examples ready to show the students or print it out and give each student a copy.
  4. Separate the students into groups of three and let them know, they are acting as an editorial board as they develop this policy so the majority always rules.
  5. They should be able to quickly move through answering the questions.
  6. Each group should select a speaker
  7. The teacher should walk through the editorial policy questions and remember that majority always rules. Remind students that they are working as an editorial board at this point.
  8. Once the policies are in place, each student should refer to their bell work – the most controversial topic locally.
  9. At this point, the teacher will guide the students in selecting a topic that the class can take a stance on as an editorial board.
  10. Once the topic is selected, the students should return to their groups of three and each group of three should come to a consensus within their group on the stance.
  11. The teacher will then allow the students to share their stance.
  12. The majority stance becomes the editorial topic.
  13. Each student should be assigned both the editorial writing assignment and the letter to editor assignment.   


  1. Exit slip: If you had to write an editorial representing a stance that you didn’t necessarily agree with, how do you think you could accomplish that assignment?