This ELA opinion essay unit is taught within writing workshop. Students will understand the meaning of an opinion and write opinions that are clearly supported by at least three points followed by a conclusion. Use social studies learning as a springboard for topic selection. Skills and content are taught as mini-lessons within the writing workshop structure. Students take what they learn in each mini-lesson and try it in their own essay writing. The classroom teacher confers with students about their writing process.
Collaboration & Communication
Creativity & Innovation
Critical Thinking & Problem Solving
Research & Information Fluency
Social & Emotional Intelligence
|W.2.1 -||Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply reasons that support the opinion, use linking words (e.g., because, and, also) to connect opinion and reasons, and provide a concluding statement or section.|
Answer the following questions:
• How is opinion writing different from other forms of writing?
• What are some techniques authors use to state and support their opinions?
Student Self-Assessment and Reflection:
• What did you learn as a writer in this unit?
• How have I changed as a writer?
• How do writers express their opinions?
Students should score a 3 or 4 using the PCSD District Writing Rubric.
Suggested Sequence of Instructional Strategies/ Learning Experiences
Pre-Assessment. Students read and examine several opinion texts and discuss what successful authors do when they write opinion essays. A discussion of the attributes of opinion essays should follow.
Understanding Personal Opinion and Point of View
Using a variety of mentor texts, help students define what it means to state an opinion.
Students should come to the understanding that to state an opinion involves expressing a personal point of view.
Brainstorm with students the real world reasons a second grader might want to state an opinion.
Using Opinion Writing for Real World Purposes and Audiences
In order to understand opinion, students need an awareness of their own point of view.
Students need to know that any opinion topic is personal and can be seen through different lenses.
When writers write opinions, they also need to understand that their readers may disagree with their opinions.
Show this through the use of mentor texts; especially fiction titles or non-fiction titles on realworld issues.
• Choosing a Topic
Teach students how to brainstorm a possible list of topics and then choose one that is important to them.
Model this by constructing a class list of things they might want for their classroom or school.
Model how as a writer you would read through the list and choose a topic that you had sound reasons for and felt strongly about.
Students write lists in their writer’s notebooks of topics of personal relevance for them.
Then have students choose one idea to develop in this unit of study.
Explain to students the importance of having sound reasons to support their opinions.
Together with your class, make an opinion chart on a class topic of your choice.
Encourage students to develop personal opinions and compelling supporting statements.
Using a Graphic Organizer to Plan for Persuasive Writing
Students have had practice developing a personal opinion and reasons to support that opinion for a class topic. Now students will develop a personal opinion and reasons to support that position for a topic they have chosen from their list.
While writing their reasons, students should keep their audience in mind.
Use the mentor text to model this type of thinking.
• Writing Introductions
Share a variety of introductions from several mentor texts and talk about the techniques that published authors use that will make students’ writing strong.
Post some of these strategies.
Have students write three different introductions for their opinion piece and choose the one they feel is the strongest.
• Using Transition Words and Phrases
Study mentor texts for the ways that authors make transitions between the reasonsto support their personal opinion.
Provide students with a list of possible transition words to use in their writing(first, second, third, for example, another example, one reason, another reason,most importantly,in conclusion, etc.).
Model how to link ideas in an opinion using transitions.
Have students identify places in their own writing where they could insert transitions.
• Drafting with an Audience in Mind
Students refer to their graphic organizers and develop their reasons incomplete sentences, always keeping in mind their audience.
Writers should keep in mind that it’s important to recognize the different way people will view things.
• Writing a Closure
Share a variety of closures from several mentor texts and talk about the techniques that published authors use that will make students’ writing strong.
Post some of these strategies.
Have students write three different closures for their opinion pieces and choose the one they feel is the strongest.
Opinion pieces are written using topics that the student knows about and understands.
Students return to their written pieces and using a checklist, check and revise for the following criteria:
o The author’s opinion is clear.
o There are logical reasons given to support the writer’s personal opinion,
o There are statements that show the author has thought about his/her opinion topic and understands that the reader may not share that opinion.
o The writer’s personal opinion is believable and written in an honest way.
o The author has stayed on topic.
Students edit their work for capitals, punctuation and spelling.
Opportunities for Differentiation:
Teach students different ways/techniques writers use to state their opinions. (See optional resource
Teaching Writing: Balancing Process and Product by Gail E. Tompkins.)
Teaching Writing: Balancing Process and Product by Gail E. Tompkins pages 276-277
Teaching Writing: Balancing Process and Product by Gail E. Tompkins pages 264-267
Teaching Writing: Balancing Process and Product by Gail E. Tompkins pages 268-270
Teaching Writing: Balancing Process and Product by Gail E. Tompkins pages 278-282
Units of Study for Primary Writing: Nonfiction Writing – Procedures and Reports by Lucy Calkins Session 6
Units of Study for Primary Writing:Authors as Mentors by Lucy Calkins Sessions 5, 6, & 7
Units of Study for Primary Writing: ThemCraft of Revision by Lucy Calkins Session 11
Units of Study for Primary Writing: The Craft of Revision by Lucy Calkins Session 10
Units of Study for Primary Writing: The Craft of Revision by Lucy Calkins Sessions 4, 5, 8, & 9
Units of Study for Primary Writing: Nonfiction Writing – Procedures and Reports by Lucy Calkins Session 12
Units of Study for Primary Writing: Authors as Mentors by Lucy Calkins Session 15
Units of Study for Primary Writing:Nonfiction Writing – Procedures and Reports by Lucy Calkins Sessions 6 & 14
Vocabulary – Specialized and High Frequency
Writer’s Notebook – a safe, personal place where students can write on a regular basis until they are ready to craft longer pieces for an identified audience.
Point of View – any topic can be seen in different ways, or points of view. Young writers should become mini-experts on their topics so that they can support their point of view, or opinion, about a topic.
Topic – the topics chosen for opinion writing are often debatable, offering writers more than one point of view.
Audience – who will be reading the piece of writing.
Purpose – the reason for writing, why the author wishes to state an opinion.
Opinion – opinion writing does more than just present information. In opinion writing, writers must make a statement and support it with valid reasons.
Reasons – meaningful facts, examples, and details as evidence to support the author’s opinion.
Introduction – beginning a piece of opinion writing where the author states a topic and his/her personal opinion.
Conclusion – ending of a piece of opinion writing that provides a sense of closure in which the position is restated.