If I know one thing, it is that everyone has an opinion. Especially first graders.
What better way to use their (sometimes) sweet and strong opinions than to get them writing about them!
I have been focusing helping my students become better authors this year. I am doing a lot of modeling and we are doing a ton of brainstorming on the board together. They are blossoming into the best little writers!
One of our favorite writing pieces recently has been our opinion piece to go along with the story DUCK! RABBIT!
We started out the week reading this funny book. The kiddos love it! At first, they are really confused, but as the story goes on, they understand that the author is showing them how the shape can look like both a rabbit and a duck, depending on the way you are looking it.
Once we read the book, we took a poll to talk about which students saw the different shapes. We then graphed our opinions and answered some questions about the results of the graph.
The next day we reread the story and looked for the reasoning for each shape. We wrote our reasons in a t-chart to help sort out our ideas. The students also circled which of the animals they want to write about.
Day three is a big day. We begin writing our ideas out in paragraph form! We have been using the “Stoplight Paragraph” format this past year and so we went back over the three main parts of a paragraph.
Using the animal we chose the day before, we got to writing! We filled in the template for the topic sentence, three details, and closing sentence. For some kiddos this was a tricky part, but we pushed through. I talked through the sheet with each kid as they read it back to me. We corrected any misspellings and punctuation errors. What an authentic way to practicing editing and reading back over your work! We talked about how this was a rough draft because it wasn’t perfect yet. Several students were worried that this piece would go in the hallway for everyone to see. It was good to talk about the writing process and the fact that we only publish our best work.
The next day we took our template and rewrote our completed paragraph in our best handwriting. We discussed how this would be our final draft that we would put in the hallway for everyone to see. It was great to see them taking their time and trying their best! We don’t teach handwriting, so this was a good time to have them slow down and really work on their letters and spacing.
Day five was our favorite! We each got the silly shape and transformed it into the animal that we wrote our opinion piece about. Oh man, we were PUMPED. My teammate had a genius idea of putting the book under our document camera and having the students trace the body shape onto their construction paper. They went nuts! They loved adding details to the animal.
We put all of our hard work together so everyone could see our process and displayed them proudly in the hallway. Friends, I love them. My students love them. I even hear the students walking to and from the bus stop talking about which animal they see in the shape. :)
If you’d like to check out the resources we used, click here!
IF you want to purchase the book to use in your room, click here!
How do you teach opinion writing in your room? What animal do you see? :)
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Listening: Pandora – Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors. Yall, I’ve always got Pandora playing. We listen to it in my classroom most of the day. I have several stations that I listen to during planning, too. I listen to Pandora while in Starbucks or Panera, working. I listen to it at home while grading/lesson planning/anything school related. I tell myself it makes the activity more bearable. I even got a cool shower speaker for Christmas…so I listen to Pandora in the shower. I just love the variety it plays.
Loving: my happy planner! I recently got a happy planner this past month and I LOVE IT. I love how cute and customizable it is! The inspiring quotes and adorable graphics make me smile. I love that I can move the pages around wherever I like and can purchase so many different add ons. My assistant principal at my school has the notebooks from MAMBI and is obsessed. We had a good planner gab session – it was good for the soul. She even has the hole punch. I am beyond jealous and will probably be purchasing one soon.
Thinking: about all that has to be done this week! You guys know what I’m talking about. These last few weeks are nuts! We have to worry about benchmark testing, wrapping up skills, reviewing skills, musicals, field day, assemblies, tired kids, tired teachers, tired parents, spring carnivals, cleaning your classroom, packing up your classroom…the list goes on and on.
Wanting: a nap. I mean, is there really other explanation than that?
Needing: coffee! How else are we going to get all of our stuff done??? My sweet teacher friend blessed me with a Starbucks giftcard this past week – I think I may need to use it later today. I love my Kureig and all, but I may need some ‘bucks today.
Truth: teacher burn out is real and it makes me super sad. I have several friends who are leaving the profession at the end of the year. I hate to see this happen because they are all fantastic teachers! The stress of all the extra stuff that goes on has just gotten to be too much. Several of them are leaving for other reasons, like family or other business opportunities, but still. It just makes me that that our profession is so hard and that we have a huge turn over rate. I wish we all were appreciated for all that we do. Don’t get me wrong, I know our students appreciate us, but you know what I mean. I hate that we hardly receive recognition for the good that happens in our rooms. Take some time this week and let your coworkers know that you appreciate them!
Well, poo. I didn’t mean for this to end on such a debbie downer note!
Press on, teacher friends. What we do matters in so many ways.
We’ve got this. Only a few more weeks until BREAK. :)
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