Tuesday, March 27, 2012

2 Days into Opinion Writing

It has been two days of reading and talking about what opinions are and  how characters we know have opinions.  I have been trying to point out when we use opinions in the classroom and when I have an opinion about something.  Today, as we were voting about which play we enjoyed watching after another first grade in our building performed some fairy tale plays, one of my students shouted out, "We are telling our opinions!"  Yeah, I thought. This conversation about opinions is sticking.

So, the most natural thing happened after watching these plays.  I pulled out some larger (newer sized paper) pulled out the sharpies (for outlining their pictures and words) and let them write their thoughts about which fairy tale play they enjoyed.  With a quick conversation about how we could begin to tell Mrs. Wilkins' Class how we felt, we brainstormed some beginnings.  Then, I let them go to see what they could do.  All of their pieces are giving me ideas about what I need to teach next.  Some kids were excited to dive into this new genre while others wanted to finish writing they have in their folders.  About 1/2 were excited to share their opinions especially after they asked if we could share our writing with Mrs. Wilkins' performers.

I noticed that the kids who tried opinion writing were the risk takers today and have confidence for trying new things. The pieces that they attempted are pretty strong for a first try. I know that I can help build depth in their topic choices and details as our unit progresses for these kiddos.  I think the kids that tried today are also very auditory so talking and listening to each other then writing comes easier.  Some of my more visual learners will need the support of the mentors that come out of this first try at opinion writing as well as some other ideas that might interest them. They will also need the scaffold of shared/ interactive writing which I am sliding into my word study time. Today, we worked on a class letter in which we are writing our group opinion about our favorite play. Writing the beginning of this together was rich in conversation about everything: ideas for what to write, letter etiquette, accessing and adding high frequency words, punctuation, hearing then segmenting words and writing parts we are learning (hearing e sound in dear and identifying it as ea, cl as the blend in class, and the ed in loved).  But, the writing was lacking the discussion of the apostrophe used for ownership (whoops !). Save that for when we come back to this tomorrow.


Carol said...

I love stepping into your classroom in these slices. Amazing to me how quickly the kids are picking up on sharing their opinions. I'll bet more and more will jump onto the opinion bandwagon every day! It's fun, too, to hear you reflecting on what you will need to do tomorrow. I'm always relieved to learn that other people's lessons are not perfect every time!

Jen said...

You can feel the learning unfolding as you tell it! It's also a beautiful example of embedding word study, grammar and craft and authentic assessment. Thanks for sharing your process with us!

Cathy said...

Isn't it always interesting as we begin a new study that one group of students always dives right in to the madness. The other waits, touching their toe to the edge, watching the others for a bit, and waiting on someone to take their hand.

This was such an authentic experience to write about. I love the way you worked on a letter as a class to add support for those watching from the shore.

Thanks for sharing this work from your classroom.

Maria said...

I appreciate the glimpse into your classroom for so many reasons. Typically I take an idea and stretch it to 5th grade and also I send your links on to my first grade teams at school. Thank for sharing your thinking.

josie said...

I love the teaching or focus on opinion writing. I think it gives the kids so much voice and power through their writing. Can't wait to hear how that apostrophe lesson went today! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughtful focus in writing workshop.

Sarah said...

I taught my first opinion writing unit for my second graders this year. It was amazing how motivating the topics were. Children wrote so much when they were picking their favorite super power and explaining why. These were the best writing samples.

Deb Frazier said...

I enjoyed reading your post. I love watching how the kids branch out into new learning. Some dive in and forge a path, others wait and see, eventually in their own time we all get there. The beauty of teaching!

Mary Lee said...

Getting caught up on some blog reading.

Here's one comment to cover several posts:

SOOOooo love your insight into beginning learners. Helps me rethink what my middle learners know and how they got to that point (and how I can plug some holes and gaps for some).

Mrs. Brown's Kindergarten Blog said...

Hello! What books are in the book tub for opinion/persuade writing? Would love to hear!


Claire Brown

Katie Dicesare said...

Duck Rabbit has helped us think about characters with opinions and how often we change our opinion when we talk with others.
REd is Best is another book in the basket which the little girl supports her opinion about why she wants to wear her red boots and red scarf, etc.
Click, clack Moo is in the basket because the cows take action with their opinion and write the farmer. We talk about how sometimes you might have something you feel strongly about and share your opinion about it.
Mercy Watson is in this basket because Eugenia, the next door neighbor to Mercy has strong opinions about people owning pigs as pets.
Who is Melvin Bubble ? and Hey Ant are also good books to begin thinking about opinions.

Danielle :) said...

This is a great way to introduce opinion writing to students! Thank you so much for sharing.
I am looking forward to using these books to start the unit when my students return to school next week after winter break.

Thanks, from New Zealand
Danielle :)