Elementary English Language Arts, Media and Communications
Material Type:
Assessment, Lesson Plan
Lower Elementary, Upper Elementary
Lesson Plan, Remix, UEN
Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial
Media Formats:

Education Standards

Cat vs. Dog Opinion Writing Project

Cat vs. Dog Opinion Writing Project


This lesson plan is a 4th grade opinion writing project. This project is planned to take 2-3 weeks to fully complete. Students will complete various assignments online to help guide them towards their opinion of the prompt, "Which makes a better pet: a cat or a dog?" Students will be using Google Docs to write their opinion paper, Lucid Charts to organize their writing in a graphic organizer, and Adobe Spark to create their final product on this opinion project. Througout the lesson students will engage with the whole class, with partners or small group work, and complete individual work. 

Background for Teachers

To teach this lesson you will need an understanding of opinion writing and how to guide students to a finished essay. You will need to know how to use Lucid Charts for the graphic organizers and Adobe Spark for the final product of the project. 

You will also need articles about cats and dogs as pets. You may search Utah's Online Library or use the following articles Cats vs. Dogs Opinion Articles.  

In addition you will need to know digital citizen skills, such as copyright, citation, and responsible posting. (ISTE Standard 3c). 


Education World - The Educator's Guide to Copyright and Fair Use

Copyright Basics for Educators (video)

BrainPOP - Citing Sources

Education World - Who Said that? How to Cite Electronic Resources


This lesson is an opinon writing lesson beginning with articles to read, Lucid Chart graphic organziers, and Adobe Spark final digital photo project. 

  • Core Standards:
    • Writing Grade 4 Standard 1: Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a poing of view with reasons and information. 
    • Writing Grade 4 Standard 6: With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others: demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum one page in a single setting. 
    • Speaking and Listening Grade 4 Standard 1: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 4 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly. 
    • ISTE Standard 3 Knowledge Constuctor: Students critically curate a variety of resources using digital tools to construct knowledge, produce creative artifacts and make meaning learning experiences for themselves and others. 
  • Time frame: 2-3 weeks 
  • Format: synchronous, asynchronous, face-to-face, virtual, etc. This lesson works for all learning modalities. 


Title Photo Credit: "cat-and-dog" by Katlene Niven is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Step 1 - Goals and Outcomes

Goals and Outcomes

Learning Intentions:

  • Students will be able to understand how to form and write an opinion essay using text evidence to support their opinion. Students will use the acronyms of HIT, RACES, and TIE to write an opinion essay. Students will create a video project using their essay and creative common photos. 

Success Criteria:

  • Students are successful when they can write an opinion essay using the writing strategies of HIT, RACES, and TIE using text evidence to support their opinion.  


Step 2 - Planning Instruction

Planning Instruction

Student Background Knowledge

Prior to this lesson, students will need to have an understanding of the acronyms HIT, RACES, and TIE to complete their graphic organizers. They will also need to know how to cite text evidence and its use to suppor their writing. 

Strategies for Diverse Learners

Students will be able to use collaborative groups to help them formulate an opinion and cite text evidence. Students will able to use anchor charts to guide their thinking as they formulate their opinion. 

Step 3 - Instruction


Week 1: 

  • Students will be asked to think about "Which animal do you think is a better pet, cat or dog?" 
  • Students will move to one side of the room if they chose cat and the other side of the room if they chose dog. Students in those groups will discuss why they'd prefer to have that animal as a pet than the other animal.
  • Students will return to their desks and a group disucssion will take place on why one is better than the other. 
  • Students will begin filling out the Venn Diagram with their ideas and thoughts on cats and dogs. 
  • Students will then read the two articles on cats and dogs and add to their Venn Diagram. 
  • Students will begin choosing their top reasons why one animal is better than the other.  
  • Students will use their Venn Diagram and then begin completing their RACES graphic orgranizer. 

Week 2:

  • Students will review their Venn Diagram and their RACES graphic organizer. Students will work on their introductory HIT paragraph. 
  • Students will review their Venn Diagram and their RACES graphic organizer. Students will work on thier conclusion TIE paragraph. 
  • Students will type their essay into their Google Doc in their Google Classroom. 
  • Students will begin looking through the Creative Commons for photos they'd like to use in their video project. 
  • Students will begin their video project in Adobe Spark. 

Week 3: 

  • Students will complete and finalize their Adobe Spark video projects. 
  • Students will edit their Google Doc essay and turn in when complete. 
  • Students will present their Adobe Spark video project to other students during our times video sharing time. 



Step 4 - Assessments


Student learning will be assessed using the attached rubric. The rubic focuses on each part of the opinion writing essay as well as the final video project. Students will alwso be assessed during their learning in the first two weeks through class participation, group collaboration, and individual work time. 

Students who need an extension or finish early can create another animal video project to share with the class.