Sunday, February 23

3 Tips to Teach Opinion Writing

opinion-writing-graphic-organizers

Should kids go to school on the weekend?  Boy oh boy! If you want to get your students talking, this is the question to ask! This is the question that I write on the board at the start of each opinion writing unit I teach. I lead the students in a passionate debate about school vs. sleeping in and video games. My kiddos love to share their opinions and always have a lot to share! This is why opinion writing is one of my favorite writing units to teach. Read more to learn my top three tips for teaching opinion writing in your classroom.

Opinion Writing Mentor Texts

opinion-writing-mentor-texts

One reason I love teaching opinion writing is all the fun books I get to read! There are countless engaging stories you can use as opinion writing mentor texts. I know when I pull out I Wanna Iguana or Earrings, I can hook my kiddos in the opinion writing process. Then, I share personal stories after each book. I will tell about times when I would share my own opinion with my parents just like the characters in the books. Along with experiencing great stories, my students love the real life examples I share that tie in to opinion writing. I’m sure you can think of a few examples when you fought tirelessly to change your parents opinion on something. Crack open an opinion writing mentor text and start sharing all of those opinionated stories with your students.
 Here are links to some of my favorite opinion writing mentor texts.


Opinion Writing Anchor Charts

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Opinion writing is engaging and can create passionate writing. However, be sure you ground your students in the opinion writing process at the beginning. Teach them the difference between having an opinion and just sharing facts. Teach them that they need both, yes both  reasons and examples to support their opinion. Otherwise you will be handed papers saying, “I think double stuffed oreos are the best because they taste the best”. This will be followed by, “I have nothing else to say.” Ugh nothing is more frustrating to a writing teacher than hearing a student say that phrase. Talk about wanting to do a face palm right then and there. Let’s avoid all that shall we? When you teach your epic lessons throughout the opinion writing process, be sure to hang tools on the walls for students to use and refer to. We know anchor charts can be so powerful! Use them and refer to them constantly in your lessons. Here are some examples of opinion writing anchor charts that I love.





Opinion Writing Graphic Organizers

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Y’all know I love me some graphic organizers. Simply put, graphic organizers are the bomb dot com and opinion writing graphic organizers are no exception. I have so many students each year who go from reluctant writers to crushing it writers, just because I give them this visual tool.
graphic-organizers-for-opinion-writing
I use opinion writing graphic organizers all the way through the writing process. These tools help my students create strong introductions, compelling body paragraphs, and confident conclusions. I give my students the option of using graphic organizers and they always blow me away! Your kiddos have strong opinions they want to share, trust me, sometimes they just need the right tools to do it. If you want to check out these graphic organizers for opinion writing, click HERE.
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I hope you enjoyed reading my 3 Tips to Teach Opinion Writing. Will you be teaching opinion writing this year?



Wednesday, February 5

How to Teach Informational Writing


informational-writing

Do you teach informational writing? I do and I used to hate it. I would gladly teach narrative writing all day long, but informational writing? No thanks. Last year things changed, now I love teaching informational writing! Read this post to learn about how I use informational writing graphic organizers, anchor charts, hook activities, and more to teach informational writing in my class.

How to Teach Informational Writing 

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Right now my students are in the midst of our informational writing unit, and we are loving it! My students have researched animals of their choice and are now writing papers to share their new learning. We started this unit with discovering animals around the world. I printed out these free animal pictures HERE to hook them on the unit. For this hook activity I placed a random pile of animals on each table. 
informational-writing

Next, I had my students discuss different ways they could group the animals in front of them. Paws, habitats, predators, and more were just a few of the groupings they created. Then, I had them switch to a new table and start the process over again with the animal pictures at that table. It was such a fun activity and a great way to hook my students into their upcoming animal research writing.

 Informational Writing Anchor Charts

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Next, I introduce my students to the Informational writing anchor chart. I love anchor charts (although truth be told, I am always self-conscious about my hand writing on them). This anchor chart is simple, visual, and just what my students need to understand the informational writing process. This anchor chart describes the components in an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a closing. I keep this informational writing anchor chart posted on my wall throughout the entire writing unit as a visual tool for my students to refer to.

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Informational Writing Graphic Organizers

informational-writing-graphic-organizers

The next step I take when teaching informational writing is to introduce writing tools. By writing tools I mean graphic organizers, informational writing graphic organizers to be exact. Guys, I love graphic organizers! It always amazes me how such a simple tool can make enormous differences for my writers! I designed these informational writing graphic organizers for my students last year and have loved teaching informational writing ever since. I break down each part of the writing process for my kids and they feel so successful! I love giving them the tools and watching them take off running, it’s such a proud teacher moment. You can check out the informational writing graphic organizers I use by clicking HERE.

informational-writing-graphic-organizers 
informational-writing-graphic-organizers

Now that my students know the process and have the tools, it's time to get rocking! I allow them to pick a research topic of their choice. Then we work through the pages in the informational writing graphic organizer pack together. I do A LOT of active modeling when I project the sheets onto my board and we fill them out together for my research topic.

informational-writing-graphic-organizers

Informational Writing Research


I love teaching informational writing because it allows my kiddos to take charge of their own learning. They pick a research topic of their choice, I coach them through the informational writing process, and the information searching and discovery is led by them. I take time to teach proper research skills so they don’t accidentally end up on a website that will get me called into the principal's office. Once they know keywords to type in and sites to trust, it’s game on and they are all about it!
informational-writing

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