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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Common Core Opinion Writing

Last week, I moved into opinion writing with my students. The first day, I read Treasures of the Heart by Alice Ann Miller. If you are not familiar with it, it is about a boy who keeps his "treasures" under his bed. His collection of treasures include broken toys, a rubber band, and many other odd things. For each treasure, a story is implied by the boy who is trying to convince his mom not to clean up his treasures. 
After reading, we discussed why the boy would keep such items. Then I led into opinions. We discussed that an opinion is how you feel about something. After modeling an opinion, I had the students turn and talk to their partners, giving their opinions on their favorite ice cream.
Because this was our first go at opinion writing, I modeled each step. I also planned the lesson over the course of the week. My students still need a lot of modeling and practice, in small steps. (I have many ELL students.)
I began with an opinion statement. After my modeling, the students went off to write.
 The next two days, we reviewed what an opinion was. Then we began to discuss reasons. Again, I used the turn and talk partners for the students to state their first opinion, after I modeled mine. Then they wrote their first reason. We repeated this process the next day for the next two reasons. 
This is the writing sheet used for their reasons. 
(I like it because it tastes good. I put sprinkles with the vanilla. I like it because it tastes super good.) I was thrilled with this student because the word order is coming more naturally for her now!
(I think it is good for me. I like it because it is wonderful. I like it because a freezing ice cream.)
I got this child in late November and she knew very little. She was still stringing letters. 

The final part was to restate the opinion. The conclusion part is very difficult for my students. They have not yet grasped why they need to restate what has already been said. (Please tell me I'm not the only teacher with this problem!) Again, many used my wording. 
 These are the final drafts the students made.
Can you read his above? (My favorite ice cream is vanilla with M & Ms. It gave me brain freeze. It was my favorite. The best ice cream is vanilla with M & Ms.) This student was also only stringing letters back in August. He has come such a long way! 
(My favorite ice cream is chocolate. I think it is good for me, for my mouth. I like it because the sugar is good. The very best ice cream is chocolate.) 
(I think mint ice cream is good. Yummy! I like it because it has a flavor. It gives me finger freeze. The very best ice cream is mint.) 
Here is the final bulletin board. 
 I was really pleased with their work, for their first try. 
You can check out the writing packet here
This week we are working on why someone should be your Valentine.
You can check this one out here.


  1. I absolutely love this! We have to do an opinion, narrative and informational piece every quarter and the kids are having a rough go at it. I think lots of modeling will be a lot better...thanks for explaining how you do it! :)


    1. I have no idea if I am doing it right or not, but it is working! lol...I am attending a Lucy Calkins Workshop on Monday and I'll blog about it. Maybe then I'll know if I am headed in the right direction!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Replies
    1. I am honored you are here!!! Thanks for stopping by!


  3. LOVE this! Our district uses Lucy Calkins as our key writing resource so am anxious to hear about your workshop!

    1. Hi Laureen,

      I will post a blog about it when I get back. It is a Common Core overview on how to tie in reading/writing. I am excited to go!


  4. Cute activity. I like the sequential-ness of it. And no, you're not the only one whose kids are having trouble with the conclusion. I tell and show mine all the time that the conclusion is restating the introduction! One boy this week at least finally got that he needs to end his writing, so he wrote "This is the end of my story." Sigh. Baby steps.

  5. Love that..."sigh. Baby steps." I ask my kids all the time, "When do I ever read a story that ends with this is the end?" lol.....


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