- First Grade
- 50 minutes
- Standards: W.1.1
Students will learn to structure their written arguments as they create their own class paper full of opinion editorial pieces in this fun, real-world driven lesson. Step right up and write all about it!
Students will be able to write opinion pieces that introduce the topic, state an opinion, supply a reason for the opinion, and provide closure.
Introduction (5 minutes)
- Call students together. Pass out copies of newspapers for students to look through.
- Ask students about the different types of articles they see. Potential guiding questions include: What are some of the topics? Are they based on facts (things that can be proven) or opinions (personal beliefs)?
- Once students have spent a few minutes looking, point out the editorial section.
- Inform students that today they will be writing opinion pieces like an editorial for a class newspaper.
Explicit Instruction/Teacher Modeling (10 minutes)
- Explain to students that they first need to choose a topic to write about.
- Have students work together as a class to brainstorm a list of possible topics. Sample ideas might include: recess, cafeteria food, homework, etc.
- After students have come up with some possible topics, choose one as a class to write about.
- Explain to students that the first thing they need to do is inform the reader what topic they are writing about. Thus, their first sentence should introduce the topic.
- Demonstrate a topic sentence by writing one for the class chosen topic. For example: Recess is an important part of the school day.
- Explain to students that after introducing their topic, they need to supply an opinion about it.
- Remind students that an opinion is a personal belief. Opinions can differ between individuals; however, it is important to let the reader know where they stand.
- Demonstrate an opinion sentence for students. For example: I believe that recess should last for 3 hours a day.
- Next, tell students that it is great to have opinions, but they should have reasons, or supporting statements, to believe the way they do.
- Explain to students that it is the job of a writer in an opinion piece to sway the reader to think the same way as the writer. Tell your students that it is important to give reasons why they feel their opinions are correct.
- Demonstrate a few supporting reason sentences for students. For example: Students are still young and need to play. It is important to be physically active, so students can be in shape. Longer recess helps students to burn off extra energy, so they can focus better in class.
- Finally, explain to students that it is important to conclude their writing. One way to do this is to remind readers of their opinions.
- Demonstrate to students a concluding sentence. For example: Because of its many benefits, recess should be extended to last at least 3 hours a day instead of 1.
Guided Practice/Interactive Modeling (15 minutes)
- After walking students through the first sample, have student volunteers help to write a second opinion piece following the same format.
- After doing this as a class, have students try writing one with a partner.
- Remind students to stick to the same format.
- Once students have done it with a partner, have a few groups share their opinion pieces.
- Point out to the class how the writing does or does not follow the format of introducing the topic, stating an opinion on the topic, providing reasons for the opinion, and concluding.
Independent Working Time (10 minutes)
- Ask students if there are any questions. Send students back to their seats to try writing opinion pieces on their own.
- Enrichment: For students who need a greater challenge, consider making the activity even more true to life by asking students to include quotes from friends or books that support their opinions.
- Support: For students who need a little extra assistance, working with partners during the independent work time to determine topics and write portions of the articles can help to scaffold this activity. Providing a simple graphic organizer with a line to write the topic at the top and blanks to write a topic sentence, 3-5 opinion sentences about the topic, and a conclusion sentence can also aid students.
- Students can publish their work on the computer to make a more elegant looking newspaper.
Assessment (5 minutes)
- Students can be evaluated based on their involvement in class discussions and/or any group work.
- Any writing piece produced by students during the lesson can be used to determine whether or not students used the desired writing structure.
- As an additional form of assessment, assign another opinion piece for homework. Compare these to the students' first pieces to determine whether or not students have improved their writing and understand the structure for opinion pieces.
Review and Closing (5 minutes)
- Call students together.
- Have student volunteers read their articles aloud for the class.
- Remind students that writing an opinion piece means they should introduce the topic, state an opinion, supply a reason for the opinion, and provide closure.