Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Voice Your Opinion!

Kim Forgione


Students participate in small group discussions of a current event or topic.


The student participates as a contributor and occasionally acts as a leader in a group discussion.


-Index cards and glue or glue stick
-Copies of current or past issues of Weekly Reader, Scholastic News, or local newspaper or magazine articles
-Chart paper and markers
-Copies of Cooperative Group Evaluation form and Job Title/Description cards from file


1) Choose one or more current events or topics relevant to your grade level and gather newspapers and magazines that are relevant to the event/topic.
2) Gather chart paper and markers for each group.
3) Make multiple copies of the Job Title and description cards, cut apart, and glue to index cards. Laminate for future use.
4) Make student copies of the Cooperative Group Evaluation form.


1) Gain students' attention by sharing news on a current event or topic appropriate to your grade level; for example, school uniforms.
2) Discuss evidence that could be used to support a position on this issue; for example, studies that have been done, surveys about others' opinions, charts/graphs, etc. Remind students that -just because- is not an example of evidence to support an idea or opinion.
3) Tell students they will work in small groups of 3-5 to discuss other current events or you may wish to continue discussing the one you started with. Each member will have a particular job.
4) Assign groups or allow students to choose a group. Pass out Job Title cards and clarify the roles of groups members.
5) Briefly review or establish rules for cooperative groups: Everyone must contribute, and each must listen and respond respectfully to others' ideas.
6) Tell each group the current event or topic you want them to discuss and provide relevant newspapers, magazines, Weekly Readers, and/or Scholastic News issues for students to peruse for evidence to support their own ideas or opinions about the issue.
7) Provide chart paper and markers for each group and allow groups about 20 minutes to discuss their topic.
8) Circulate among the groups as they work and serve as mediator or guide as needed.
9) Issue a 5 minute warning when time is nearly up. Allow each group leader to share with the rest of the class what opinions and ideas were generated in his/her group. Be sure they include supporting evidence.
10) Collect chart paper and markers and have students return to their own seats.
11) Give each student a copy of the Cooperative Group Evaluation form to complete and turn in.
12) Save the Evaluation forms to help you rotate group jobs and to help remind students to meet their own goals for group participation.


Use the Cooperative Group Evaluation form to assess student participation. Keep these forms to refer back to when assigning roles for the next group activity. Rotate the job of -leader- so that each student is a leader at least once. Also, allow students to refer back to these forms to see if they meet their goals in the next group activity.


Some students have a very difficult time working in a group situation. Try sitting in with that group where an individual is experiencing difficulty or you may have to remove the individual for a short period. Stress the importance of learning to respect others and their ideas.

Attached Files

Cooperative Group Evaluation form and Job Titles with descriptions.     File Extension: pdf

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