What's Your Opinion?

I love teaching writing.  It really is one of my favorite parts of the day.  In past years, second graders focused mainly on narrative writing, because that's what was on our spring state testing.  With the shift to Common Core though, we've broadened our horizons and have been writing in many different genres.

I find opinion writing to be the easiest for my kiddos to do.  Seven year olds always feel passionate about whatever topic they are writing about and it's usually easy for them to come up with reasons to support their point of view. 

This writing piece ended up going in a completely different direction than I had originally planned.  We had read the story, Dear Mr. Blueberry, about a young girl who is convinced she has a whale in her pond - and she tries to convince one of her teachers that is the case, as well. 

My original plan was to do some letter writing about whether or not Emily really could have had a whale in her pond.  We read many nonfiction texts about whales and my kiddos were VERY involved in the whole research process.

Then we started talking one day - even IF Emily really did have a whale in her pond, would a whale make a good pet?  Let the conversations begin!  For some reason, this idea hit home and we had a great discussion - almost a debate! - over whether a whale would be a good pet.  Soooo, I went with it!

First we had to talk about qualities of a good pet in general.  I read, I Wanna Iguana - a story about a boy who tries to convince his mother (also in letter format) that an iguana would be a good pet.  Then we brainstormed a list of qualities of a good pet.

After that, we took those ideas and used them to think critically about a whale - what were some reasons for and against having a whale as a pet?  At first, everyone was in the "no" camp, but then as we talked more (and I let them know they could think outside the box!), a few "yes" opinions came up.

Finally, we ended by having everyone choose a side and write down 3 reasons to support their idea.  (Nothing fancy - but it worked!)

The next day, we returned to our sticky note reasons and used them to plan our writing.  We went back to our visual of hamburger writing and talked about adding LOTS of fixin's!  Our plan sheets included an idea for an opening sentence, 3 reasons - each with at least 1 detail, and a closing sentence.
(NOTE:  I created the sheet that morning and used the wrong template so there was no place to put the detail - we just improvised and added it under the reason.)
After some shared writing to model how to turn the ideas on the plan sheet into a spectacular writing piece, I set everyone off to write their opinions!  We wrote a rough draft, then edited with peers, and did a final copy.

I really wanted to show you our final display.  But with a Professional Day on Monday, no school with the blizzard today - and maybe tomorrow, too! - I haven't been able to put up the display yet.  So, if you want to come back later this week, I will post a picture of the finished product.

This turned out to be an easy, but very motivating writing piece for my kiddos.  We focused on two main skills in our writing: adding details to the reasons, and writing an engaging opening sentence.  They all did a great job!

There are so many different ways you can take this activity - letters to Emily (or Mr. Blueberry) explaining your opinion, an informational piece about how to take care of a whale (ooh - that would be fun!), etc. 

I'm off to shovel myself out (20" and counting!) and spend the rest of the day on TpT products and some other blog posts I have in mind.  I'm ready for spring!

post signature


  1. We aren't shoveling or snowblowing a thing right now. It's still snowing! I'm looking forward to seeing photos of our display. The nonfiction "how to take care of a whale" writing is a great idea! :)
    Laughter and Consistency

  2. Super cute idea! I love both of those stories! I like your graphic organizer you created. Are you finished with these? I would love to see their final writings! Thanks for sharing!



Back to Top