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 text suggestions!
Find a topic that truly motivates kids. Think about what your students like. In the past, I have used favorite kinds of cookies or candies, complete with a taste test. My favorite was taste testing the different kinds of M&M’s. We used dark chocolate, peanut butter, and plain, then, we wrote about our favorite and least favorite! Yum!
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 simpler topics first.
PROS AND CONS
Pros and cons are a great way to allow students to get to know their topics. Invite students to brainstorm the “pros” and “cons” of the selected topic. This will give students a chance to really formulate 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 in differentiating between facts and opinions. This can be a difficult concept for some and students may need multiple exposures to facts and opinions. I love using sorts to identify fact and opinion.
I know that formats 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 participate in the simpler format of a topic sentence, details, closing sentence, and THEN relating this format to the OREO method. OREO only works for one writing purpose while 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 Kindergarten- 4th grades in both the general education and inclusion settings. She is currently a 1st grade Special Education teacher. She is the owner and creator of Mandy’s Tips for Teachers website (www.mandystipsforteachers.com) and has over 13 years of teaching experience. She is married with two beautiful children.