Next week is our school-wide Publishing Night -- and the firsties are so excited to share their Opinion Writing pieces!
But first, a little about what we've been up to so far. This unit is part of the updated Units of Study from the Reading and Writing Project. This is the first year that we have taught this unit; however it has quickly become one of my favorite writing units because my kiddos have grown so much in just a few weeks!
When I initially gave the opinion writing pre-assessment, I got a mix of personal narratives, informational pieces, and odes to favorite family members and pets. It was clear we had a lot of work to do! Fortunately, this unit has includes three "bends," or sections, that have allowed the kiddos to home in on different parts of opinion writing. They have slowly built up their knowledge and skill with this genre by writing reviews of objects, places, and now books. And it's been amazing to watch!
During the first "bend" the kiddos actually brought in small collections to review! It was so cute to see them closely analyze each of their match box cars, snow globes, and bracelets and then select their favorites. They learned that opinion writers have to include reasons (and not just one reason), use words like "because," and consider each feature of an item -- like which seashell is the smoothest and which has the most interesting design. This bend also focused on setting goals based off of our writing rubric. I transferred the rubric to a chart and the kiddos set daily goals by moving sticky notes with their names. (This helped all of us focus during Writing time!)
|Setting Daily Writing Goals|
|A Collection of Trucks|
One thing my writers struggled with was clearly stating their topic. I got a lot of "I like this one because...". The naturally assumed that everyone would know to which "one" they were referring. However, as they read their reviews out loud during our first mini-publishing party, they suddenly realized that it was totally unclear what they'd be writing about! (It was a little funny to watch their surprise.) We knew what we had to work on next!
During the next bend, they got plenty of practice defining their topic as they reviewed their favorite games, restaurants, vacation spots, and movies. In order to publish these reviews, the kiddos put together books of like-reviews. They produced a wonderful anthology of "Places to Travel in the USA" which includes reviews of Seattle, Florida, and Indiana, as well as an anthology of "Things to Do in DC" which suggests the National Portrait Gallery and McDonalds among others. :)
In this last bend, the kiddos are writing book reviews. For our final publishing, we will be recording their reviews: Reading-Rainbow style. More on that to come...
|Working together to create the cover for their review anthology|