CC-Basics pages 124 - 131
Understand the purpose and content of editorials
Evaluate the effectiveness of arguments in excerpts
Distinguish between conflicting viewpoints
Editorials express ideas and opinions from the writer’s point of view
Point of View
Compare Different Texts
Distinguish Text Types
Evaluate Support for Conclusions
Write to Learn
Assess an Editorial
Ask students what types of information they might expect to find in informative texts. Explain that these texts can contain facts and details, and some may also contain opinions. Tell students that facts can be proven to be true and that an opinion tells what someone thinks. Say several facts and opinions and have students identify if each statement is a fact or an opinion: A year is about 365 days long. (fact) This book is more interesting than other ones about wolves. (opinion) Abraham Lincoln died in 1865. (fact) Ask students to give their own examples of facts and opinions.
Tell students that editorials present arguments for or against something. Explain that they need to review editorials carefully to uncover the author’s arguments as well as the author’s biases. Biases are prejudices. Supply students with a short newspaper opinion piece and work with them to underline the author’s arguments and identify any biases present.
Evaluate Support for Conclusions: Explain that writers often draw conclusions based on facts. Read the passage on page 126 with students. Ask students to circle the author’s conclusions and underline any facts or reasons given to support the conclusions. Write the conclusions and facts on the board and discuss whether there is enough evidence to support each conclusion. Have students write their paragraphs and read them aloud in small groups.
Compare Different Texts: Before students complete the activity, read aloud two editorials with different viewpoints about the same topic. Have a student write facts from each editorial on the board. Tell students to use the notes on the board to create their Venn diagrams. After they have finished, have students compare their Venn diagrams with others and make adjustments as needed.
Distinguish Text Types: Display an editorial and a news story from a newspaper. Point out key words that identify one piece as an editorial (opinions, biases, arguments for and against) and the other as a news story (facts, information).
Assess an Editorial: Ask students to find an editorial in a local newspaper or an online news source, then find a news article about the editorial’s topic. Explain that students should read both and identify the facts and opinions in each. Ask students to decide whether they think the writer of the editorial has given enough facts to support the opinion expressed. If they say no, ask them what additional facts the writer should have used.
Write to Learn: With students, brainstorm a list of issues that affect them. Have students choose one issue from the list to use for their editorial. After students complete their editorials in their notebooks, have them list the facts and opinions each used using a Venn Diagram.