Thursday, November 29, 2012

Opinion Writing: Reviews in Third Grade

In December, many classrooms of third graders will be starting the unit of study for opinion writing and writing reviews. This is similar to the persuasive writing, but different in that it is strongly focusing on the opinion. Towards the end of the month, this unit will turn to writing letters and speeches. The goal of this unit is to teach students the skills of writing to share their opinion and persuade others to believe what they believe.

Students will  need to read lots of material written in this genre to be able to then write these opinion pieces. Focusing on their opinions of : TV shows, books, movies or restaurants, will give them familiar material. To find some opinion pieces written by students you might want to go here for restaurant reviews or to find book reviews by kids, go here. As they read these pieces, the class can make a chart of things they notice in reviews. This will become the anchor chart for this unit of writing.

The children will have opinions about many things. They know what TV shows they like and why. They know what movies they enjoy and why. They probably even have favorite restaurants and opinions about those. Your classroom may become a place of rich discussion on these topics. It is then time for them to pick a topic they feel passionate about and begin their writing.

Some things for them to keep in mind as they write and for the teacher to keep in mind for possible focus lessons are:
  • Reasons to back up their opinions
  • Elaborate on the  important parts of their opinions
  • Give specific information...don't be general
  • Think about who will read the review. Who is the audience?
Another place to find support is the All Write website. On the main page there is listed Persuasive Writing: Letter/Essay/Editorial. This 25-page document has lessons that can be used in third grade. Look them over and see what fits for your students.

Students will be writing many of these pieces this month. They will also pick a few to revise and edit. You may even want to submit some to or the websites you used for the mentor texts. The students will learn the skills they need to persuade others and give their opinion in the proper way. Remember, later in the month they will be writing letters and speeches to persuade.


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