Writing Leads

For the past few weeks my 2nd grade students have been working on the text type of opinion writing.  In an effort to break away from the monotony of formulaic writing, I introduced my students to different types of leads using mentor texts.  I used the book, Nonfiction Mentor Texts, by Lynne R. Dorfman and Rose Cappelli to help me.

NF Mentor Text

My students were familiar with the “Setting the Scene” lead because we had used it when we were working on narratives.  So, I had my students write a potential setting the scene lead to go with the article we just read about Mopane Worms.  From there, I introduced my students to the “Share a Secret” lead.  I shared examples from mentor texts and had the students try it out for themselves, again to go with our article.  Finally, I showed my students an example of a “What If” lead.  I had the students try one on themselves.  The great thing is my students can use these different kinds of leads when we look at the text type of informative writing.

It was kind of amazing what they came up with.  My student teacher, who was observing, commented after the lesson.  She was amazed at how the students were able to come up with their own creative leads in the style of the different mentor texts I shared.  All the students were engaged and excited.  I figure I have given them a few more tools to add to their writing toolbox.  Next week, the students will write their rough draft convincing their friend to eat the Mopane Worm.  They are even going to get a chance to write a counterargument in this paragraph.  Although, the counterargument is not a 2nd grade standard, I talked to my kids about it anyway.  I am fairly certain that I will not get 27 papers that sound exactly the same.  Thank goodness!