Lesson plan

Opinion Essay Essentials

Opinion essays have a structure that is fairly easy to dissect. This lesson includes an anchor essay which students will mark up, a mixed-up essay outline for them to sort, and a web for them to organize ideas for their own essay.
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.

Support

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

Enrichment

  • 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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