Activities to Teach Students to Complete the Opinion-Reason-Example Table
As educators, one of our primary goals is to equip our students with the necessary skills to express their thoughts and opinions persuasively. This requires the development of a clear and logical argument, supported by evidence and examples. One effective way to scaffold this process is by teaching students how to complete the Opinion-Reason-Example (ORE) table. Here are a few tried and tested activities to help students master this technique.
1. “A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words”
Start by showing your students an image, video or short clip on a topic of your choice. This could be anything from a current social issue to a controversial scientific theory. Then, ask students to complete an ORE table in pairs or small groups. Their task is to first state their opinion on the topic, followed by at least three reasons why they hold this view, and finally, an example or evidence to support each reason.
For instance, you could show your students an image of a crowded city street and ask them to share their views on the impact of urbanization. Students might say that they believe rapid urbanization has two negative effects on society; the first reason could be increased traffic congestion, while the second reason could be the challenge of providing adequate housing for a growing population. Then, to support each reason, they could provide examples such as traffic jams during rush hour or the rise of slums in overcrowded cities.
2. A Class Debate
Debating is a fantastic way for students to sharpen their critical thinking skills and develop their ability to construct a persuasive argument. To practice using an ORE structure in a debate, start by dividing the class into two teams. Assign each team a different viewpoint on a controversial topic, such as animal rights or social media. As students prepare for the debate, they should complete an ORE table to support their argument. During the debate, each team should present their opinion, followed by their reasons and examples. Encourage students to use factual evidence such as statistics or reputable sources to support their viewpoint.
3. Real-World Applications
Finally, to reinforce the importance of completing an ORE table, encourage your students to find articles or opinion pieces in the media and analyze them using this technique. Ask them to identify the author’s opinion, the reasons used to support the argument, and the examples or evidence presented. This will help students to better understand how to use an ORE table to construct coherent arguments, as well as helping them to become critical consumers of information.
In conclusion, the Opinion-Reason-Example table is an essential tool for students to develop critical thinking and persuasive writing skills. By practicing completing ORE tables through activities such as picture analysis, debate, or real-world applications, students will have a better understanding of how to form coherent arguments and support them with evidence. These skills will serve them well in their academic and professional lives.