After spending time immersing kids in figuring just what opinions are and how kids can voice them, we have some pieces that have evolved over the past month here in first grade. To look back, I think the following ideas helped kids find their choice and voice for their pieces along the way...
-We spent time reading and understand characters with opinions.
-Students jotted down some ideas for opinion topics that they care about like toys, family, friends, sports and reading.
-We decided to investigate toy reviews a bit more deeply as a class. Then, we used interactive writing as a place to make a list of toys students love afterwards choosing a toy to write a review about (Anna's Princess Cadence (my little pony) was the topic for review) together.
-Later, in workshop, we studied how writers begin and end pieces to help get kids thinking about the choices they have as authors.
Here we are after time and choice with some pieces that students have accomplished:
What I take away this year :
1. Time again is so huge. Some kids found their idea and created a meaningful piece two weeks into our study while another student had her piece created day one.
2. Studying what other kids do as writers was the best mentor for opinion writing. Here's the thing, there are not any perfect mentors for first grade writers because each of them needs something different. When the kids in the room next door to us wrote toy reviews, we studied their endings because 3 of them had such natural ways to end their pieces. My kids weren't there yet. Studying other pieces from writers at the same developmental level was most helpful.
3. Using technology alongside opinion writing opens up audience as a choice for writers. This year we voted on who the kids would like to share their pieces with. Next year, I want to help them think about how audience can be a choice as well...is it a piece you want the world, our blogging community or just our class to read? I think it will impact their choice of topic and motivation for creating a meaningful piece.