Newspaper Opinions

For this assignment, students will find an article that interests them using TweenTribune as a resource and write an opinion article. 

Use this website to find articles of interest for middle school students.

Example of finished opinion article with formatting.

Brief Description

Students research opinion pages and create documents in newspaper-style column format.



  • research information on assigned topics
  • formulate opinions about current topic
  • type their opinion into a Google word processing document
  • format the text into columns
  • use spell check.
  • insert a header that includes the name of the article
  • insert a graphic into the body of the text.

Lesson Plan

Pre-Lesson Activity

Lesson Activities

  • Assign or have students choose a current news topics on TweenTribune. Give students time to research information and form opinions about the topics.  They should include at least three supporting ideas supporting their opinion.  In other words, it's not good enough to just write, "I like the idea."  They should have three reasons why they like the idea.
  • Hold classroom discussions about one of the news topics.
  • Have students enter their drafts into a word processing document. They should choose the regular format. They will format the header and columns after completing the body of the article.
  • Tell students to use the spelling and grammar check to correct spelling and grammatical errors.
  • Using Google Docs: 
    1. Format the text to include a header. In Google, choose Insert, then Header. Type in the title and the author's name. Format text to center aligned, size 24, Times New Roman font, Bold. (These specifics can be changed; however, it is easier to give specific characteristics for grading the papers.)
    2. To format the text into columns, choose Format, then Columns. Choose two columns. Click OK.  
    3. When the text is formatted and the header is complete, insert graphics; the words will wrap around them.
    4. Choose Insert, then Image for inserting clip art. Have them search for images using the Search link. Choose graphics that correlate with topics. Once the clip art is chosen, click Insert.
    5. To position the clip art in the desired spot, click on the clip art until the image has boxes at each corner. When the boxes appear, move the mouse around so that the mouse pointer turns into a four-edged arrow. Click and hold the picture to drag it to the desired spot in the text. The text should move around the image.
    6. To make changes to the picture, right click on the menu bar and turn the picture toolbar on. The toolbar can now be used to manipulate the image and the text wrapped around it.
    7. Give the document a final check andshare it. Find a partner to revise and peer edit the text.


    Create a rubric or check sheet to assess specific criteria you have established for the documents. For example, a check sheet could consist of yes-no selections to which you assign point values.

    1. Times New Roman font: (1 point)
    2. Size 24: (1 point)
    3. Text formatted into two columns: (1 point)
    4. Spelling errors (1 point)
    5. The research supported the opinion: (20 points)
      (Number 5 would be subjective.)