Help your Students Research, Write, and Stay Informed.

Here is the scenario: You want your students to write a persuasive or argumentative essay about a current topic.  Typical assignment, right? Except you have some concerns.

  • How do students pick a topic?
  • How does the student get relevant, accurate and balanced sources in a timely manner?
  • How do they cite and share their sources?
  • Your students do not have very strong organization, writing or research skills and you DON’T have time to devote a lesson to all three skill sets.

We have a helpful tool  it’s called Opposing Viewpoints in Context.  It is a free database for students and teachers available through MeL,  (Michigan e-Library)  Opposing Viewpoints in Context is the premier online resource covering today’s contested social issues, from Offshore Drilling to Climate Change, Health Care to Immigration. Opposing Viewpoints in Context helps students research, analyze and organize a broad variety of data for conducting research, completing writing assignments.  This is an extremely rich resource and will definitely be one of your most powerful teaching tools.

Highlights include:

  • More than 14,000 pro/con viewpoint essays
  • 5,000+ topic overviews
  • More than 300 primary source documents
  • 300 biographies of social activists and reformers
  • More than 775 court-case overviews
  • 5 million periodical articles
  • Nearly 6,000 statistical tables, charts and graphs
  • Nearly 70,000 images and a link to Google Image Search
  • Thousands of podcasts, including weekly presidential addresses and premier NPR programs

Benefits: Students can browse for topics using keywords or by subject. The topic page includes multimedia sources that the students can then use to craft their argument or learn about the controversy.  By giving your students some structure and more specific sources you will prevent them from drowning in a sea of information.  Using this model can reinforce of concepts from lecture in a real-world context, while also stressing organization and proper citation.

Here is how you get there:

Go to mel.org Click on MeL databases.  Scroll down to Opposing View points…they are in alphabetical order.  You may have to go through  authentication which may include typing in your driver’s license. 

Try This:   Send your students to Opposing View Points topic page  for homework have them study the various articles.  Instead of lecturing stage a debate style discussion OR create a jigsaw discussion group.  Then give a quiz on the basic information.  After this you will have accomplished:

  1. An engaging lesson,check.
  2. Student self-directed study, check.
  3. Real word application,check.
  4. One less class comprised of straight lecture, double-check.

With all those checks you can write one payable to the CTL…or just tell us how it went 🙂

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