Every year, some students need extra help with the writing process, and it’s hard to know where to start. Some students need more scaffolding than others, but it’s always a great idea to start with the basics. But what are those basics? In this post, I’ll make your life easier by outlining the writing process and how to teach it. Opinion writing will never be easier, and your students’ work will blossom!
How to Start the Opinion Writing Process
If you aren’t sure where to start when teaching your students to write opinion pieces, these tips will help. Follow these steps, and your writing block will follow a nice rhythm.
- Let students choose a writing topic where they decide their opinion.
- Have students fill out an Opinion Writing Graphic Organizer with teacher assistance.
- After organizing their thoughts, allow students to use an Opinion Writing Paragraph Organizer to turn their thoughts into sentences and paragraphs.
My Opinion Writing Paragraph Organizers are color-coded to make them even simpler to use! Plus, they have step-by-step photo directions to walk you, the teacher, through the writing process.
Opinion Writing Lesson Ideas
Still not sure where to start? Writing is such a tricky topic to teach, especially when you have students who need extra support with their writing or students who don’t prefer writing. Here are some simple ideas for lesson plans to break everything down.
Familiarize Your Students:
Start your writing unit by using a writing process activity to familiarize students with the writing process. Use posters and flipbooks to remind students of the steps of writing. The posters and flipbooks are a great way to help students visualize the steps of the writing process. The flipbook defines the prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing stages. Students will enjoy having their own references for these steps!
Brainstorm and Create a Hook
Help students brainstorm opinion writing topics or provide them with options to choose from. Remind them to use topics that people will be interested in. This is where a hook sentence comes into play. Place a mini-lesson about hook sentences here or at some point in your writing unit.
Use Graphic Organizers
Use a graphic organizer to jot down thoughts. Many teachers like to use a format where students have to provide three different reasons for their opinion and supporting evidence where applicable. Grab a FREE graphic organizer at the bottom of this post.
Turn Thoughts into Paragraphs
Give students a paragraph organizer to turn their thoughts into sentences and paragraphs. Use the color-coded version in my Opinion Writing Unit to make things easy to see and record. This is a great place to insert a “hook the reader” mini-lesson.
Emphasize the Importance of a Hook, Transition Words, and a Conclusion
Remind students of the parts of a good essay. Explain a hook sentence and different ways to hook a reader. Tell them to use transition words to make their piece flow. Show them how a strong conclusion is important to convey their point.
Edit and Revise
Have students revise and edit their opinion writing pieces. Use a checklist to go through their writing with a fine-toothed comb. Students love working with partners to edit their work. Let them use a red pen for even more fun.
Publish the Work
After revising and editing, it’s time to complete the final draft. Make it fun with a blogging experience, or pretend it’s being published in the newspaper. Let students share their completed work with the class! Designate a day for every student to read or share their work.
Grading and Rubric
Use a rubric or scoring sheet to make your grading life easier. There is one included in my Opinion Writing Unit. It’s simple to use and takes the planning out of this day’s portion.
Use Graphic Organizers When Completing Opinion Writing
As students begin writing their opinion pieces, it will help to organize their thoughts before putting them into sentence format. Use an Opinion Writing Graphic Organizer to help students outline their ideas before starting.
A great graphic organizer will include at least three reasons to support their stated opinion. If you are turning these writing pieces into persuasive pieces, use an organizer with supporting evidence or proof as well.
Allow students a couple of days to gather their thoughts. Sometimes they think of new ideas overnight, so give them more than a day to reflect and record.
More Ideas for a Successful Writing Experience
Here are a few more great ideas to incorporate into ANY of your writing lessons this school year.
- With any writing, read mentor texts that illustrate the type of writing. Many kids’ books represent opinions, persuasion, narratives, informational text, and more.
- Model your own opinion writing before students get started. Students will thrive from seeing you perform the task first.
- Use anchor charts and posters to give students something to reference throughout the entire process.
- Allow time to edit their writing alone or with peers. Kids love sharing their writing, so peer editing is a fabulous idea to get their wheels turning.
- Write daily! Whether it’s completing steps of the opinion writing process, another unit, or simply journaling, let students write every day in the classroom.
Grab these Opinion Writing Graphic Organizers for FREE in my Freebie Vault. Just enter your email address below to gain access.
Using graphic organizers and walking students through each step of the writing process will ensure their success with their pieces. Take each day slow and assist them through any difficulties they have. As you use the organizers and steps more, they will become more confident in their writing. Test out the FREE graphic organizer for yourself and see how simple it makes your writing experience.
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