Sunday, March 2, 2014

Opinion Writing Follow-Up

A couple weeks ago I posted about opinion writing.  I had several topics I was going to try with the students during our mini-unit on opinion writing. Click here to go back to that post.  Well, I always wonder when people share things that they've made if it always works exactly the way they envision.  Because, at least for me, even my best laid plans need to be adjusted a little bit to accommodate my particular little ones that year.  So, I thought I would revisit this idea and share some insight into what worked and what didn't work.
I began with opinions about food.  I thought my littles would be able to explain why they liked pizza or ice cream.  Wow, was I wrong.  It was a very rough couple of days starting our opinion writing!  They didn't have the vocabulary to describe the foods they liked.  They were all "good" or "yummy".  It was very difficult getting them to think about really why that pizza was so good- what did they like about it.  And, there were too many choices to really concentrate as a class on specific describing words- favorite food, favorite cookie, favorite ice cream- left too many choices to effectively do class mini-lessons that the whole group could benefit from.  So, next year, I will definitely not begin with favorite foods.
I almost gave up and decided to do some different type of writing, but I kept going and decided to try having the students write about the playground.  With these, I gave 2 choices and asked them which one they liked better.  That was much easier for them. I started with this one.

It was so much easier because we could talk about specific reasons why students liked spiral slides or straight slides.  Then the students just had to choose their reasons.  After we did this one, I kept the slide theme going with this one.

My whole range of writers could be successful with these prompts at varying degrees like this little above who needed me to support her by writing the lines for each word she wanted to say in her second sentence.  Then we went on to another playground topic.

After that we began our Dr. Seuss opinion writing.  We're not finished with it yet, but we did write about Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham.  I was pleasantly surprised that they were able to do this successfully after we talked about the story whole group.  They came up with some really good reasons supporting why the cat was "good" or why the cat was "bad".  Here are some samples.  I think it's funny that one said he was bad because he made the mess and the other said he was good because he cleaned up the mess.

Here are some Green Eggs and Ham writing samples.

I love this last one- "they are disgusting because I do not like green."

After completing my opinion writing unit, I have to go back to the proficiency scale that my team and I created.

I wanted them to give an opinion and support it with a detail.  I think that most students were able to do this successfully.  No one was just stating the topic- they all gave opinions and/or details to support.

For next year, I won't begin with food- I will definitely begin with playground topics before moving to more difficult topics like food.  To get the freebie again- here it is: Kindergarten Opinion Writing

Happy Writing!

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