This assignment worksheet can be used with any pair of informational text articles. Students will analyze two opposing views on a social issue, review each article for tone, purpose, and rhetorical strategies, and ultimately synthesize all information to complete a single paragraph connecting their own beliefs with the information offered in their article. These paragraphs then serve as the foundation for our weekly discussions connecting fictional text with the thematic issues brought up in the real world, utilizing rhetorical strategies and textual evidence to our classroom literature. (Fancy speak for "it gets them talking.")
In addition to the student worksheet, I've included a list of suggested text and social issue pairings that I use in my high school classroom, as well as a few online references for websites I often scour for reputable, timely opinion pieces. There is also a brief review sheet included for use as a terms refresher.
This weekly assignment typically involves the comparison and contrast of varying viewpoints, but as the year progresses, I like to find articles that offer similar opinions so that students are better able to analyze rhetorical strategies beyond obvious differences.
If nothing else, this assignment is a heckuva bellringer activity and discussion starter that the students - gasp - even look forward to.