Opinion writing can be so hard for kids, partly because it requires such a strong structure to make sense.
How can you make it easier? Check out these tips, tricks, and mentor texts suggestions!
Find a topic that truly motivates kids. Think about what your students like. We have done favorite kinds of cookies or candies, complete with a taste test. My favorite was taste testing the different kinds of M&M’s such as the dark chocolate, peanut butter, and plain! Then, we wrote about or favorite and least favorite! Yum!
However, students can also tackle opinions on bigger topics such as a 4 day school week. I would suggest these more complex topics after writing about some simpler topics.
PROS AND CONS
Allow students to get to know their topics very well. Invite students to brainstorm the “pros” and “cons” of the topic. That will give students a chance to really cement their opinion, and provide reasoning for their opinion.
FACTS AND OPINIONS
Once students are able to provide reasons, they can back their opinion up with useful facts. In order to do this, students need to feel confident differentiating between fact and opinions. This can be a difficult concept for some and they may need many exposures to fact and opinion. I love using sorts to identify fact and opinion.
I know that format such as OREO (opinion, reason, explanation, opinion) are popular for teaching opinion writing. I have used them myself. However, I would caution against using this as the ONLY format for teaching opinion writing. Students need to realize that expository writing has a format across all purposes (writing to inform, describe, or explain). Before using OREO consider, discuss and participating the simpler format of topic sentence, details, closing sentence and THEN relating this format to the OREO method. OREO only works for one purpose of writing, but the other works across purposes.
Like all these activities? You can snag them in my Exploring the Opinion Paragraph Pack here!
Are you looking for some mentor text suggestions? Check these out! These book suggestions are affiliate links which means that if you clicked on a link and made a purchase I may receive a small commission. THANK YOU!!!
Mandy Gregory is a 2007 and 2012 Teacher of the Year. She has taught 4th, 3rd, and 2nd grade in both the general education and inclusion setting. She is the owner and creator of the Teaching Tips website (www.mandygregory.com) and has over 10 years of experience. She is married with two beautiful children.