Planning a Position Paper
- Grades: 9–12
- Unit Plan:
Students consider the debate surrounding music censorship in preparation for writing a position paper.
- Prepare a position paper by listing the 'pros' and 'cons' of the issue
- Copies of the Position Paper Rubric, one per student
- Copies of the Position Paper Assignment, one per student
- Optional: Computer and projector
- Optional: Planning a Position Paper Presentation
Set Up and Prepare
- Optional: Connect the projector to the computer and load the Planning a Position Paper Presentation prior to class.
Step 1: Distribute the Position Paper Assignment package to students and have them complete number one under the procedure section as a warm up activity. Optional: Begin the Planning a Position Paper Presentation and move through the slides as you complete the next few steps.
Step 2: Inform students of their task by explaining the purpose of a position paper along with the topic of the paper they will write and having them select the perspective from which they will write. This is number two under the procedure section of the handout, and asks students to choose between an artist, a music store owner, and a parent.
Step 3: Model for students how to go about selecting a position on the issue. This can be done by first selecting one perspective and creating a T-chart with "Pro" on one side and "Con" on the other. The student would then list all of the reasons that he would choose to be "pro" on the issue and all of the reasons he would choose to be "con." Whichever side has more rationale is the side that he should take for the essay.
Step 4: After modeling, instruct students to go through the same process and then place a checkmark next to the position that they will take for their essay.
Step 5: Distribute and review the Position Paper Rubric with students.
Step 6: Lastly, model for students how to complete the graphic organizer on page 2 of their handout in order to plan their essays. Refer to the model plan on page 3 of the handout.
Supporting All Learners
As students are working on their "pro vs. con" T-chart after choosing their perspectives, you may need to place your struggling students and ELLs in a small group and provide further assistance.
Instruct students to explain their assignment to someone at home. Students should ask family members for suggested points to make in order to argue their position.
Have students complete the graphic organizer on page 2 of the Position Paper Assignment.
Review the "pro vs. con" T-chart to assess whether or not students will be able to write a well-developed essay based on the perspective and position that they have chosen.