Opinion Writing

This month I have been exploring the opinion/argument text type with my 2nd graders.  For the most part, my students know the difference between fact and opinion.  We have written several different types of opinion pieces.  I started out with writing a product review.  I brought several board games into my classroom for the students to play.  After they played with a particular game, they had to write a review of the game.  We used several reviews I copied off the Internet as mentor texts.

Now, we are concentrating on writing book reviews.  We have written a book review all together, but now I want to see if the students can attempt to write one on their own.  I took a break from book reviews because I was absent for two days the week before last.  And, instead of having the substitute attempt book reviews, I had the students work on something else for writing.  I had the substitute read The Perfect Pet, Margie Palatini.  It is a cute story about a girl who is trying to convince her parents that she needs a pet.  Instead, the parents get her a plant.  She finally ends up getting a pet, but it is pretty unusual.

I had my students write an opinion about the kind of pet they would like to have.  They had to come up with at least three or more reasons as to why their pet would be the perfect pet.  My second graders know the frame for writing an opinion piece.  They know they need an opening statement that includes their opinion.  Following this, they know they have to write their reasons.  And finally, they know they are required to have a closing statement that is related to their first sentence.  All my students understand this, but man, are their pieces boring.  And, they all sound the same.

I received some wonderful ideas from my SDAWP friends last Saturday.  So, I am ready to try something new tomorrow.  I went to TweenTribune for grade appropriate articles and I found one entitled, Would You Eat a Giant Worm?  I am pretty sure the majority of my students would say they would not eat a giant worm.  First, I will show them the picture at the beginning of the article, and then brainstorm ideas why they would NOT want to eat the worm.  I figure these ideas could be used for counterarguments.  Then, I would have students read the short article and highlight all the reasons why someone should eat the worm.  Finally, I will have them write an opinion piece based on the evidence from the text to support their reasons.  I don’t know if any of this will work, but my hope is that the students can see there are other ways to write an opinion piece.  I will let you know how it goes.