This is not to say that I, or even my class, has mastered opinion writing. We are FAR from that! However, by building daily on our craft, I have seen more growth than I saw the entire first semester!
This intentional deviation from our reading series started while we were working on the Common Core Standard:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.1.1 Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or name the book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply a reason for the opinion, and provide some sense of closure.
At that point in time, we were engaged in a Jan Brett author study. Ahhh, this was the perfect time to jump into opinion writing and have the students give their opinion on a Jan Brett book! WRONG!!!! After a few lessons and lots of modeling, I sent them on their way. What I saw was LOTS of story RETELLING.
Wait! Stop! Backup! My first graders couldn't tell me a reason for their opinion. We had worked so hard on narrative stories and retellings, they couldn't quite transition to UNDERSTANDING how to backup their opinion.
So out of necessity, we backed up and worked on giving our opinions about a particular topic. This seemed a little easier and with lots of modeling and this
I promise a new chart is in the making, but my kids just needed to have a visual with a suggested way to get started!
My go to unit was Common Core Aligned: Winter Writing Prompts and Pages. You can check out Lindsay's blog post about it over at A Year of Many Firsts. Our favorite prompt at the writing center included "Do you think children should be able to wear pajamas to school?". Her journal prompt cards are ADORABLE and my kids ate them up!
So now that we understand how to write an opinion about a topic, we are moving back to writing an opinion about our favorite book. I will keep you posted about our progress! Fingers crossed :)