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Lesson: Organizing an Editorial


Organizing an Editorial


A lesson on editorial structure and how to order its parts

Students will look at examples of editorials and examine how they are organized. Then they will use graphic organizers to plan their own editorials.


  • Students will break down examples of editorials into parts.
  • Students will learn about the parts of an editorial.
  • Students will organize their own editorials.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA.RI.11-12.5 Analyze and evaluate the effectiveness of the structure an author uses in his or her exposition or argument, including whether the structure makes points clear, convincing, and engaging.
CCSS.ELA.W.11-12.1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
Introduce precise, knowledgeable claim(s), establish the significance of the claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that logically sequences claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly and thoroughly, supplying the most relevant evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both in a manner that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level, concerns, values, and possible biases.
CCSS.ELA.W.11-12.5 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience.

Partnership for 21st Century Skills — Student Outcomes

Skills P21 outcomes
Think Creatively Implement innovations
Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Make judgments and decisionsSolve problems
Communication and Collaboration Communicate clearly
Media Literacy Create media


50 minutes


Copies of editorials

Handout: Idea Diagram

Lesson step-by-step

1. Building background — 10 minutes

Distribute one type of idea diagram (Suggestion: Start with Idea Diagram 3 but keep in mind that students who like to write more as they plan may prefer the having other options later.) Explain that students will start with their claim (main opinion) at the top, then each subtopic will be reasons for their opinions, or smaller arguments that support their opinions, and then they will use facts to back up their reasons. The circles are for students to add numbers if they decide they want to rearrange the order of their reasons and facts after they start outlining. At the end, students will have a conclusion to restate the claim and then a call to action, what they want their readers to do after reading the editorial.

2. Identify parts of an editorial — 20 minutes

Provide students with copies of an editorial. Have them read the editorials, then create a reverse idea diagram — fill in the claim, reasons and evidence the writer uses in the editorial. After they finish, ask students to share their findings and check to make sure they came up with similar outlines.

3. Outline editorials — 20 minutes

Model how to use idea diagrams. Explain where they can start with their main idea, then break that down into smaller arguments, then list facts to back up those arguments. Although the first idea diagram has room for seven facts per argument, explain that most arguments may need two or three facts; students do not have to fill out the entire idea diagram. The first idea diagram allows students a chance to jot down ideas, but some prefer the second, which allows them to write out their ideas in detail. Check student outlines as they work to make sure they are on track.