Friday, December 14, 2012

Looking Toward January: Opinion Writing

You just have to admit that even six or seven year olds have an opinion.
Ask them:
  • Do you want to stay up late at night?
  • Would you like ice cream or spinach for dessert?
  • Do you want a longer recess?
Yes, they have opinions! The difficult part is defending those opinions or even persuading someone else to agree with their opinion or change their mind in favor of their opinion.  That is why next month's unit of study for many first and second graders is going to be hard.

Since we are looking toward January, there are a few things teachers can do to get ready for that unit. One thing is to expose children to that type of writing now! Here are a few books you might want to use as read alouds to introduce and discuss what these authors are doing:
  • Can I Have a Stegosaurus, Mom? Can I? Please!? by Lois G Grambling
  • I Wanna Iguana by Karen Kaugman Orloff
  • Earrings! by Judith Viorst
  • Dear Bear by Joanna Harrison
  • Should There Be Zoos? A Persuasive Text by Tony Stead
  • Dear Fish by Chris Gall
  • Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by mo willems
  • Click, Clack, Moo! Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin
  • Dear Mrs. LaRue: Letters from Obedience School by Mark Teague
Doing read alouds to expose children to opinion writing, will help them have a vision for what it looks like. Making an anchor chart of their noticings now, will be helpful when they begin to write later.

For first graders, this unit is made up of writing letters and speeches. You will begin with letters so it is important that your writing area has stationary and envelopes in it. The stationary can be made with simple lines appropriate for letters. It can even have decorations or clip art on it. This is something you will want to have ready at the beginning of the month.
A great support for this unit is the book by Sarah Picard Taylor: A Quick Guide to Teaching Persuasive Writing-K-2. This is a small $8.00 book with loads of information including samples of kids' work. Check your professional library. You might just have one in your building! More to come next week for second grade persuasive writing!

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