Tag Archive: Persuasive

Opinion Books

IMG_0425My first graders spent the last 2 months working on persuasive/opinion writing in their classroom.  I thought it would be a great partnership between my classroom and their classroom to merge our writing to reflect what they’ve been doing.

I strategically selected books from Reading A to Z that had similar stories, but different enough to form opinions on which book they preferred.  Some books we read to write about were:

  • Shoes Men Wear and Shoes Women Wear
  • Going To The Dentist and Going To The Doctor
  • Bonk’s Camping Trip and Bonk’s Big Splash
  • All About Farms and All About Factories
  • City Animals and Country Animals
  • Rude Robot and Penny the Rude Penguin

IMG_0428We read more than just those books above, but that gives you a general idea of some of the ways we partnered books up to be roughly the same topic but different enough for students to form opinions.  We started by reading both books and then following the OREO format (Opinion, Reasons, Examples, Opinion restated) students picked their favorite book and then had to write about why it was their favorite book.  Each week we would read a new set of books and then write an opinion on one of the books.   We started with their favorite book and then moved to favorite part, then favorite IMG_0431character, then student choice.  Students could also choose to write about their least favorite book, part, or character as well for student choice.

Once we finished our 6 opinion papers, students compiled them into a book order, made a table of contents, and cover page, then we sent the books out to be spiral bound into real books.

The 1st graders then were able to share their books with all the other kids in the classroom before being able to take their books home.  They were so proud of the finished product after 7 weeks of hard work.

IMG_0210Last week my 3rd graders read Please Pass the Maple Syrup by Susan Ring.  They loved learning about the process of making maple syrup.  I’ve never seen them discuss a book more than they did with this one.  They were asking great questions and absorbing every morsel of information they could get from the book.  Everything was fabulous until we got to the very end of the book where it told the students that not all syrup was pure maple syrup and that you would need to check the label to make sure what you were eating was in fact pure maple syrup.

oreo posterIt was as if in that moment the students pulled out their pitch forks and were ready to riot.  Some of the comments were, “I feel ripped off!” and “They lied to us??  I thought adults weren’t supposed to lie to us?” and “This isn’t OK!  We need to write to the stores and tell them they can’t sell fake maple syrup!!”

This is a dream come true for a teacher; when her students feel passion for what they read and want to take it to the next step.  I thought, “Great!  How real world is this?  Next week we can write letters to the stores telling them it’s not ok.  This will be a great persuasive writing lesson.”  So I ask them, “Would you want to write letters to the stores on Monday?”  They all unanimously shouted yes.

I had found something online that I really liked called OREO Persuasive Writing and thought it was a great way for the kids to remember the steps they needed.  I also have the graphic organizer similar to the poster that if anyone would like a copy of can just let me know.

We started Monday with some OREO cookies.  Why not, right?  Since I knew they were all so upset about the fake maple syrup I wrote an example of why it was OK to sell non-pure maple syrup along with the students.  They helped me edit for more descriptive words.  When it came time for them to fill out their graphic IMG_0211IMG_0212organizer, I was surprised that 3 of the 5 of them switched sides and decided they were OK with non-pure maple syrup as well.

Once they had filled out their graphic organizers they began to put their ideas into sentences in their writing journals after I modeled how to do so.  From there I was able to have a writing conference with each student on how they could make it better, add more descriptive words, or extend their sentences.  They even had a conference with a peer partner who offered suggestions as well while I was working individually with students.

After all the editing had been completed students wrote their final copy.  They really enjoyed sharing their ideas with each other and I was super impressed with how they backed up their opinions.  I had to giggle because some went as far as to say they were worried someone might have an allergic reaction and puff up.  Another said she didn’t want to eat any chemicals that would be put into non-pure syrup.  It was neat to see the range of ideas they have.  Please enjoy photos of their writing!