The task of teaching opinion writing to 3rd-5th grade students can be daunting. However, with careful planning and preparation, it is easy to develop a strong opinion writing unit that will get your students excited about writing! Plus, there’s a free practice resource included at the end of this post.
I love teaching opinion writing and I have created several engaging opinion writing units that my students have been excited to write about each year. In order to develop a strong opinion writing unit, there are a few things that you’ll want to keep in mind.
1. Choose an Engaging Opinion Unit Topic
Selecting a topic that interests and inspires your students is the most important step for creating an engaging opinion writing unit. For example, if you are teaching a unit on animals, you could choose a topic such as “Which Animal Makes the Best Pet?” This will give your students something to be passionate about and will make their opinion pieces creative and compelling.
Not sure which topic to write about? Here are some fun ideas.
- Which Superhero is the Best?
- Should Video Games be Allowed in Schools?
- What is the Best Fruit to Pack for Lunch?
- Which TV Show is the Most Educational to Watch?
- Are Roller Coasters Better Than Water Slides?
2. Create a Strong Opinion Unit Structure
A good opinion writing unit should be organized into various sections that build on each other. For example, you could create an opinion writing unit about “Which Animal Makes the Best Pet?” which includes sections like researching different animals, brainstorming ideas for opinions, creating an outline of their piece, and finally writing and revising their opinion pieces. This structure will give your students a clear idea of what is expected for each part of the unit.
3. Give Examples & Guidance
It is important to provide examples and guidance throughout the unit so that your students can get an idea of how to write an effective opinion piece. For example, you can model a few introductory and concluding paragraphs for your students to refer to during their own opinion writing process. Additionally, you can provide guidance on how to structure their pieces, use evidence to support their opinions, and incorporate various techniques like rhetorical questions or vivid language into their writing.
Here’s an example of an introductory paragraph that you could use as a model for the topic “Which Animal Makes the Best Pet?”.
“We’ve all had a pet at some point in our lives, whether it’s a dog, cat, hamster, or something more exotic. But the question remains; which animal makes the best pet? It is clear that dogs are the best pet for several reasons. They are loyal, friendly, and intelligent companions that will provide unconditional love and friendship for years to come”.
Here are some sentence frames you can use to support students with this topic.
- One reason why ___________ make the best pet is ___________.
- Another reason why ___________ make the best pet is ___________.
- ___________ make great pets because ___________.
4. Assign & Evaluate
The last step in creating a strong opinion writing unit is to assign and evaluate your students’ work. You can assign topics for each student or allow them to pick their own, depending on your preference. As they work through the unit, provide feedback and evaluation on each part so that they can hone their opinion writing skills.
By following these steps, you will be able to create an opinion writing unit that engages your students, offers clear guidance, and encourages creative thinking. With some careful planning and preparation, your next opinion writing unit will be a hit and provide some incredible final pieces from your students.
Download this free opinion unit to practice and implement the strategies above.