July 27, 2017
by Maggie Knutson

Lesson plan

Opinion Essay Essentials

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Grade Subject View aligned standards

Students will be able to identify the parts of an essay and generate ideas in their own graphic organizer.

(10 minutes)
  • Ask students to work with a partner or with a table group and consider how they would respond if the principal said they were going to take recess away. Change this issue out with a different one if it doesn’t apply.
  • They will have strong feelings, but direct them to generate a list of reasons for their position.
  • Share responses and decide on three main reasons as a class. Write them on the board.
  • Tell students that they just created an outline for an opinion/persuasive essay.
  • Discuss possible titles for the essay. Examples might include: "Recess: A Key to Learning," "Recess is Good for Kids," and "Why Recess Shouldn’t Be Disposable."
(15 minutes)
  • Distribute the worksheet Opinion Essay: Anchor Paper.
  • Go over the instructions and read the essay together.
  • As a class, follow the steps on the bottom. Students will mark up the essay, identifying each of the parts.
  • Add additional explanation about each of the parts as needed.
(20 minutes)
  • Distribute scissors, construction paper, and glue.
  • Distribute the worksheet Opinion Essay: Mixed Up Essay.
  • Go over the instructions together and then support students as they assemble the essay outline.
  • Students will arrange the strips in a variety of ways. Having the freedom to do this will help them think about how the ideas are related and organized.
  • Review the correct arrangement using the answer key, discussing discrepancies if needed. The order of topics or details is not important — only that they are grouped correctly.
(10 minutes)
  • Distribute the worksheet Opinion Essay: Idea Map.
  • Students will practice generating a hierarchical structure of information by creating a web of their own.
  • You may choose to have students actually write an essay based on this idea web.


  • Give clues for the Mixed Up Essay activity by providing one or more of the topics or getting them started with the title.


  • Instruct students to write an opinion/persuasive essay based on their idea web.
  • Instruct students to examine the structure of other nonfiction texts. How is it similar? How is it different?
(5 minutes)
  • Provide three details and have students write a reasonable topic that they would support if arranged in a paragraph.
(5 minutes)
  • Discuss: How is the structure of an opinion/persuasive essay different from the structure of a narrative/story?

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