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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Opinion Writing

CCSS W.1.1 - Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic they are writing about, state an opinion, supply a reason for the opinion, and provide some sense of closure.

Ok...so that's the goal. I am using the new first grade Units of Study series by Lucy Calkins as my starting point.

At first I thought I would change up the suggested introduction to writing persuasive reviews. The whole idea of everyone bringing in a box with a collection in it seemed overwhelming. I just kept thinking of all the toys. At the last minute I changed my mind and sent home a note about bringing in collections. It was so successful and engaging that I was glad I did it. Everyone judged their collection, made blue ribbons and presented their writing in about 4-5 days total. When we moved to reviews, it took a few small mini-talks to convince everyone that we were no longer having "contests." But it was a fairly smooth transition.

Really the process was the same -- we state our opinion, give reasons for our opinion and have an ending.  Keeping the process the same made it easy for even the most emerging writers. Everyone is now going full speed on writing reviews.  I set the goal of 6 reviews by this Friday for each student.  That gave them 8 days to write 6 reviews. On Friday I plan to have everyone pick their favorite review and we will publish a collection of reviews. This has been a very popular unit with my little ones. Students who struggle to write a personal narrative are thriving in this unit. Kids enter the classroom in the morning asking if we get to write more reviews. I've had reviews about books, movies, hotels, restaurants, math games....but this is my favorite. This little guy decided to write a review of me. Can I count this for my official evaluation?
Translation: Are you looking for a teacher? Mrs. Wayment is so nice. She let's you play on iPads and do games. She is a great reader and she is a first grade teacher. You should do her.
I think this little guy has got it all covered. How is that for a sense of closure?

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