Monday, April 6, 2015

Opinion Writing

Opinion writing can be one of the most difficult pieces for students.  They know they like something, but they really struggle with explaining why and trying to persuade someone to feel the same way they do.

I started this unit by having my students write an opinion/persuasive paper about a restaurant or place they enjoy.  They learned how to write opinion pieces in first grade and focused on their favorite place.  So, I thought this would be a great pre-writing assessment.

I used this template/rubric to grade the students' work.  I placed their pre-assessment scores in one color, then went back at the end and wrote their post-assessment scores in another color.

Once they complete their pre-writing assessment, I started off the unit discussing what is an opinion and what it means to persuade someone.  The students helped me answer these questions through discussion.  We decided that an opinion is what you think and when you persuade someone you are trying to convince them to feel the same way you do.  The writing unit is based off of Lucy Calkin's Writing units.

For our opinion writing unit, we started by writing a letter to a classmate sharing our opinion about a book we love.  When writing a letter, it is important to know who is reading the letter.  This is also important when writing any paper.  The writer must think of the audience.  This allows the writer to write to the reader to ensure that they will enjoy it.  When trying to persuade someone to do something, you must think of their interests in order to convince them.

Students also learned when to use linking words in their letter.  These are helpful linking words that can be used when trying to persuade someone to agree with your opinion.  These words definitely help develop their writing and make it more full.

The students wrote their letters and provided details from the book to convince the reader that he/she would enjoy it.  Then, they gave their letter to a friend in class to persuade them to read the book.

My kids loved writing letters to their classmates.  They thought it was fun to see who everyone wrote a letter too.  Fortunately, my students all received letters.  That made it easy when they chose a person to write a letter to.

How do you teach persuasive writing?

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