Back when the Common Core was first being implemented in our state, I was diving into opinion writing without a road map telling me where to go. I turned to Pinterest and found this anchor chart. The original source was Live, Love, Laugh, Learn First Grade, which no longer seems to be an active blog:
I also went to TpT to see what was out there. Most of these were created for first grade, but I needed to start somewhere.
Like all of my other writing units, I begin with picture books that model the text features I want my students to include in their own writing. Here are several great choices:
After reading some books, I talk about what second graders are expected to do according to Common Core. This is when I introduce our anchor chart. When first introduced, all that is showing is the title and the CCSS, not the example paragraph.
After talking about what the standards mean, we begin stating our opinions using sentence frames that include the word ‘because’. In order to do this, I also introduce sentence starters (inspired by the original pin above):
I like ____ because ____.
I prefer ___ to ___ because ____.
I believe _____ because ____.
In case you’re wondering, they are not allowed to say “because it’s cool”, “because it’s the best”, “because they’re great” or anything along those lines. It must be a specific reason! To really drive this point home, we use thumbs up or thumbs down in the whole group. A student will state an opinion using a sentence frame. Students will give a thumbs up or thumbs down letting their peers know if the reasons are specific or not.
Once my students have the frames down, it’s time to start building on it. At this point of the year, my students already know and understand topic and conclusion sentences. This is when I go back and write a sample paragraph (the bottom half of the standards poster). Since they are used to 5 sentence paragraphs, this doesn’t really shock them.
Then I introduce a prewrite. I’m sure many of you have seen the OREO idea. It really is catchy! The plan you see on the right is what we use when first starting out (once my kids catch on, they don’t need a formal plan sheet, but can create their own in their writing notebooks). The topic is written on the top line. The first rectangle is for the topic sentence. The three rectangles with cloud bubbles are for the reasons/examples. The bubbles are there to remind students to choose sentence starters. The bottom rectangle is for the conclusion sentence.
When we start writing, I choose the topics and prompts for my students. However, later on they can choose their own topics. Here is what my anchor chart tends to look like. FYI – I tend to stick more to the top two tiers, but some second graders can really be motivated by the real-world category!
Since we tend to do this unit in the spring, you can incorporate your writing into Mother’s Day and Father’s Day gifts!
Thanks for sticking with me. Here are your freebies:
I hope this has given you a new idea or two for opinion writing. If you’re interested in reading more about writing in my classroom, you can check out the following posts: