Opinion Writing: Anchor Your Lessons as Easy as 1-2-3

Opinion Writing: Anchor Your Lessons as Easy as 1-2-3 Cathy Collier

Opinion Writing lessons can feel complicated, but they aren’t. I first wrote about this in 3 New Steps to Confidently Teaching Opinion Writing to Early Learners. This blog post centers around teaching early learners, like kindergarten how to write opinion paragraphs.

Recently, Opinion Writing was added to the VLA State Standards for early learners. First Grade students are asked to state an opinion and supply a reason for that opinion. Second Grade students are asked to write opinion pieces on topics or texts that support a point of view with reasons.

While working with a school district in Virginia, I added to my Opinion Writing Set. I needed to take a step back and add an Anchor Chart (or 3). UGH! How could I, Cathy Collier, lover of all things anchor charts, forget to make an anchor chart. Fear not…it has been corrected.

Early Anchor chart opinion writing

Opinion Writing: Anchor Your Lessons as Easy as 1-2-3 Cathy Collier

When we started with opinion writing, we did whole group lessons to create 3 reasons for having our opinions. BUT, when we asked students to write independently, we asked them to use “because.”

“Because” is the magic word. I have always told my students that a teacher’s favorite word was “because.” If they were talking about a book and added “because”, the teacher would swoon.

Likewise, if they were writing about something and added “because” to a sentence, the teacher would cheer. It’s all about expressing an opinion.

AND I LOVE IT when students had opposing views and they could share it with each other, respectfully. What an important lesson!

Opening Stems in opinion writing

When talking about adding the next step of Opinion writing, let’s add Opening Stems. It’s important they know there are different ways to express their opinions. Providing students with opening stem options also give them ideas of what to write about.

“I think” is the perfect stem for talking about something they love. “I think pink is the best color because it’s the color of bunnies and girl-stuff.”

Opinion Writing: Anchor Your Lessons as Easy as 1-2-3 Cathy Collier

“The best thing about” is the perfect stem for digging deeper into an opinion. “The best best thing about pizza is the crust because it’s chewy.” “The best thing about pizza is the pepperoni because it’s spicy.” Students think about one aspect of a particular thing.

“Everyone should” is a great way to persuade the reader. “Everyone should know the beach is so much better than the lake.” I could personally give 10 reasons why everyone should know this.

closing stems in opinion writing

Opinion Writing: Anchor Your Lessons as Easy as 1-2-3 Cathy Collier

The next step is adding closing stems. Students need to be able to wrap up their writing by restating their opinion with a closing stem.

4 Ideas for closing stems are “that is why,” “as you can see,” “like I said,” and “now you know why.” Each of the stems has a little bit of a different take on the close.

After 3 reasons, students circle back around to their opinion and why they want to change your mind.

Opinion writing doesn’t have to be complicated and neither do the topics. What is your favorite cereal? What is your favorite ice cream? What is your favorite thing to do at recess? Make them write about what they know about…you’ll get better responses.

Templates for writing opinions

When creating my templates for opinion writing, I wanted to make sure it was step-by-step and easily independent. I fully believe in creating a process in whole group and then in cooperative groups BEFORE we make it independent.

Creating this process allows students to understand exactly what is expected BEFORE they are asked to replicate it.

I also fully believe in a tiered approach. When working with schools or districts I want to create a lesson at each early level, that is reflective of the earlier level but also moves forward.

Opinion Writing: Anchor Your Lessons as Easy as 1-2-3 Cathy Collier

The templates depend on the level. Kindergarten students might just be independent in composing a “because” sentence. First grade, adds to the “because” with more evidence, while also writing an opening and closing sentence. In first grade, the opening and closing can be similar.

Opinion Writing: Anchor Your Lessons as Easy as 1-2-3 Cathy Collier

Then, in second grade, as the students listens to an Opinion Writing Lesson for the third time, they refine their paragraphs with opening and closing stems that are unique to their writing.

The anchor charts directly mirror the template.

I hope I was able to show you exactly how Opinion Writing is as easy as 1-2-3.

If you previously purchased my Opinion Writing Set, make sure to go to “My Purchases” and redownload the file. The anchor charts and templates are now included in the set.

Let me know if you have any ideas for teaching Opinion Writing.

Cathy Collier
Opinion Writing: Anchor Your Lessons as Easy as 1-2-3 Cathy Collier https://bit.ly/3xILuGX

Leave a Reply