Sunday, January 13, 2013

Mentors for Opinion Writing

This week we started to look at some mentors for opinion writing.  It helped my kids most to be reminded of what exactly it means to have an opinion and to have opportunities to write their opinion.
On Monday we read What Makes You Smile, a book I read last year to provide kids an opportunity to just share an opinion on an easy topic.

Tuesday, I read Red is Best by Kathy Stinson.  Like last year, this book helps kids see that characters can have different opinions and explains the reason for the opinion.  I also shared a few of the books last year's group made: Emma is Best by Alyssa about all the reasons her little cousin is her friend. White is best by Sumendha about all the reasons she loves white.  After all these titles were shared, I had a few kids begin books about their opinions.  Molly began writing Me a book about her favorites and why (she starts off with great voice and a beginning that will be a great mentor for us later too.)

Wednesday I showed the students a toy review online for the Straws and Connectors they love to play with in the classroom.  Before going to the site, I asked them to think with a neighbor about why they like playing with this toy.  I showed them how their same ideas were written in a review.  I used an amazon reviewer and showed the kids the pop up box that happens when you click the reviewers thoughts on the screen.  Enlarged on our whiteboard, I pointed and read what a couple reviewers wrote. I knew they were just beginning to digest the what a toy review even was. This idea for the toy review came from Katie W Ray at the AllWrite conference last summer.  Though I did not have a chance to hear her, I heard about this idea and decided to go for it. What kid doesn't have an opinion about their toy?! 

Thursday, I shared with my class a blogpost an old student of mine wrote about her favorite character Bossy Bear and her opinion about the book:
 After this class, I had many kids hop on the blog to write.


You'll notice that Anna H wrote about a toy she was excited about. Not quite with an opinion but with ideas that have been laid out during the week so that she can build her opinion. Revision and editing here we come!  And, 4 comments to fuel her excitement for the topic.

On Friday, I wanted to help some of my young passionate kids to realize how an opinion about something can help change the world. I showed them this video of Katie.  Afterwards, I asked the kids to help retell and explain what they watched. Many of my students began to figure out that this little third grader donated her cabbage plant to a local food pantry (Jack deemed a free food store) and decided to plant more and donate more because helping others was important to her.  Lots of conversation began as a few students started thinking about what what our class could do to help change the world.  Feeding the animals, planting trees, and a few other ideas surfaced.  One student is writing a book about how to Help the World.

Using the idea of the toy review, I have built in practice for brainstorming a list (during interactive writing) of toys kids would like to review. We started this Friday, not only thinking about sounds and patterns in words as we composed but also visiting sites featuring toys like blingles and skylanders after kids shared their opinions about their favorite toys.  The excitement is building!


Patrick A. Allen said...

Love this post! Thanks for sharing.

Maria said...

Thank you for posting on all your thinking. Your link about amazing kids will be perfect for persuasive writing in 5th grade. I'm thrilled that you are blogging again-thanks!!

Miss Foote said...

We did Toy Reviews last year for opinion writing as well. My class loved it!

Chickadee Jubilee

katied said...

Thanks for the comments Patrick and Maria. I am glad to be back too.

Your blog is so much fun. I wondered if you had a piece from last year you'd be willing to share? My kids would love to know other kids have tried this.

Mary Lee said...

There's a reason your level is called primary. You are laying such an important foundation.

Sarah said...

Thanks for sharing your mentor texts. We have been talking about our opinions for about a month now. The next step is reading and writing.