So You Think You Can Argue? Myth vs. Reality about Brown vs. Board (Day One)

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SWBAT distinguish claims, logical reasoning, and evidence in a newspaper editorial.

Big Idea

Extra! Extra! Catch up on the latest gossip, claims, & opinions about segregation!

Lesson Introduction

A court case not only involves the dispute of opposing parties but legal processes that determines the fate of individuals. There are so many opinions that derive from the outcomes of any case tried in court. Think back to the Brown vs. Board of Education case. From the decision of the Supreme Court, this case served as the catalyst for the Civil Rights Movement and inspired educational reform everywhere to challenge segregation in all areas of society. In this lesson, students take the events of the case to determine how its effects look like truths and myths in our educational system today.


10 minutes

So what are the myths and realities surrounding Brown vs. Board? Students will start class by answering the following question from the whiteboard:

 From the statement on the board, does it serve as a myth or a reality? Support your response with two opinions about the author's attitude in the example.

Statement: The Civil Rights Movement began in 1955 and is a magnificent example of a spontaneous uprising that freed an oppressed people.

Students will respond to this question on a sheet of paper. To end this portion of the lesson, students will volunteer to share thier myth vs reality responses with the class. 

Building Knowledge: How to Read an Editorial

30 minutes

Students will extend their knowledge on the Brown vs. Board Case by creating an opinion column that talks about the myths and reality that the outcome of this case has in modern-day society.  Prior to students writing their informational columns, notes will be given on how students can effectively read an editorial. As I go over the key questions to reading an editorial notes, students will write them in their notebooks. From here, students will read a sample editorial and highlight where in the informational text these elements are located.

Independent Practice: Read to Me!

20 minutes

I will spend this time reading the editorial aloud to the class. At the end of each paragraph, I will ask students the following questions:

  • What is the author trying to persuade you at this time? Highlight words or phrases that show persuasion.
  • Is there an opinion being expressed?
  • Are the arguments compelling?
  • Are other arguments presented in the editorial?


We will work as a class to highlight these elements in the opinionated piece. From this modeling talk over editorial, students will see what elements are essential in making an editorial effective in logical support and content.

Wrap-Up: Let's make a Plan!

10 minutes

Students will end class by completing the editorial pre-worksheet for drafting an editorial. For homework, students will write their own editorial on the realities of Brown vs. Board in today's schools. A scoring rubric will be used to grade these assignments.