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Author

The All We Can Save Project

Grades

9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Subject

English Language Arts

Resource Types

  • Lesson Plans
  • Projects

Regional Focus

Global

Format

PDF

Craft a Climate Op-ed

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Synopsis
  • In this rich and well-crafted writing activity, students will learn about op-ed writing and write about a climate topic that is meaningful to them. 
  • Students will learn about the reasons people write op-eds, how to write an op-ed, what makes this writing form unique, and the power of op-eds to create change. 
Teaching Tips

Positives

  • This resource is an excellent introduction to writing op-eds.
  • Students will enjoy the lesson because they get to choose a climate topic they care about. 
  • This activity calls for at least two days or sessions, but can easily be scaled up into a more lengthy writing unit. 
  • The lesson plan provides links to the OpEd Project website and to two excellent video lectures, which will help prepare students for the lesson.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should be familiar with persuasive writing techniques. 

Differentiation

  • Science or social studies classes could use this lesson during units on climate change or creating change in communities. 
  • While some of the components of the lesson are designed for students to do outside of class, teachers could use them in the classroom. This would be especially helpful for students who have had little experience with persuasive writing.
  • As an extension, teachers can provide students with a way to share their op-eds with a larger audience, like the school or local newspaper. 
  • Other related resources include this writing activity on writing to members of Congress, this activity on writing persuasively about climate change, and this video on talking effectively about climate change. 
Scientist Notes
The resource provides a guide to writing op-eds for climate conversations. The lesson will develop students' skills for effective communication and thought leadership and give them a new perspective on raising their voices for climate justice. This is recommended for the classroom.
Standards
  • English Language Arts
    • Reading (K-12)
      • R.11-12.1 Cite relevant textual evidence that strongly supports analysis of what the text says explicitly/implicitly and make logical inferences, including determining where the text is ambiguous; develop questions for deeper understanding and for further exploration. (RI&RL)
      • R.11-12.5 In literary texts, analyze how varied aspects of structure create meaning and affect the reader. (RL) In informational texts, analyze the impact and evaluate the effect structure has on exposition or argument in terms of clarity, persuasive/rhetorical technique, and audience appeal. (RI)
      • R.11-12.6 Analyze how authors employ point of view, perspective, and purpose to shape explicit and implicit messages (e.g., persuasiveness, aesthetic quality, satire, sarcasm, irony, or understatement). Explain how an author’s geographic location, identity, and culture affect perspective. (RI&RL)
    • Writing (K-12)
      • W.11-12.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
      • W.9-10.2 Write text in a variety of modes: a) Write arguments and literary analysis to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning, literary theory, and relevant and sufficient evidence which introduce precise claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that establishes clear relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence. Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly, supplying evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both in a manner that anticipates the audience's knowledge level and concerns; b) Write informative texts that examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content by introducing a topic; organizing complex ideas, concepts, and information to make important connections and distinctions; including formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension; developing the topic with well chosen, relevant, and sufficient facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, and other information and examples appropriate to the audience's knowledge of the topic; c) Write narratives that develop real or imagined experiences or events using relevant descriptive details, and well structured event sequences that organize an event sequence logically. Engages and orients the reader by establishing a context and point of view and introducing a narrator or characters; using techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, description, and reflection, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.
      • W.11-12.2 Write text in a variety of modes: a) Write arguments and literary analysis to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts. Establish the significance of the claim(s) using valid reasoning. literary theory and relevant and sufficient evidence which introduce precise claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that establishes clear relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence. Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly, supplying evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both in a manner that anticipates the audience's knowledge level and concerns; b) Write informative texts that examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content by introducing a topic; organizing complex ideas, concepts, and information to make important connections and distinctions; including formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension; thoroughly developing the topic by selecting the most significant and relevant well-chosen facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, and other information and examples appropriate to the audience's knowledge of the topic; c) Write narratives that develop real or imagined experiences or events using relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences that organize an event sequence logically. Engages and orients the reader by establishing a context and point of view and introducing a narrator or characters; using techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, description, and reflection, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.
      • W.11-12.3 Create writing that utilizes: a) Organization: introduce a topic; organize complex ideas, concepts, analysis, information, and claims so that each new element builds on that which precedes it to create a unified whole. Establish and maintain a structure and conventions consistent with the mode of writing. Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the topic, themes, and experiences presented in the text; b) Transitions: use appropriate and varied transitions and syntax to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships among complex ideas and concepts; c) Word Choice (including domain-specific): use culturally-sustaining language and domain-specific vocabulary to manage the complexity of the topic. Use techniques such as metaphor, simile, and analogy to manage the complexity of the topic.
      • W.11-12.7 Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem that is rhetorically authentic and culturally sustaining; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating an understanding of the subject under investigation.
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