18 January 2016

How to Kick Off Your Opinion Writing Unit

Last week we started opinion writing! It's my FAVORITE genre to teach, and typically, the one my sweet seconds like best too!

I thought I'd share how I launch opinion writing! I spend an entire week launching this particular writing genre - I want my kids to feel comfortable sharing their opinion, as well as being as to give reasons why, and I think spending a week launching helps us do just that!

Day 1 - Introduce Opinion Writing Standard + What is a fact? What is an opinion?
  • Introduce the Standard
    • When launching a new unit or concept, I show students the standard. I've found that showing them what they're expected to know, and referring to it throughout the unit helps keep students focused. Plus, they realize I'm not just making up random things to "make them do." Haha!
    • The standards are certainly NOT written in kid-friendly language, so we talk about what the "fancy adult words" actually mean!
  • Next, we watch the BrainPop video "Fact and Opinion" - normally, we use BrainPop, Jr. but it doesn't have any videos for fact and opinion, so regular ol' BrainPop does just fine! 
  • Finally, we play Fact/Opinion Showdown...And SNAP - IT'S A GAME {bonus points if you can name the movie and/or character}
    • Each student receives 1 fact card, and 1 opinion card. I display statements on the SmartBoard, and students show me whether they think it's a fact or opinion. 
Day 2 - Fact or Opinion Sort + Would You Rather
  • Fact and Opinion Mini-Anchor Chart - we glue these into our writer's notebooks.
  • Fact and Opinion Sort - who doesn't love reading about PIZZA?!?!
  • Would You Rather? {this is a game too!}
    • I read random statements {super random}, and students move to one side of the room or the other depending on which statement students would prefer.
    • I'll call on students from both sides of the room to give a REASON for which statement they would prefer. 
Day 3 - Taste Test
  • What better way to end a Wednesday than with a candy taste test?
  • We take this super S L O W! Like one piece of candy at a time, and we use our senses to describe everything - how it looks, feels, tastes, smells...and few students even heard noises :) 
  • After we taste all 3 types of candy - I have students SECRETLY (you know, so they don't just choose what their BFF chooses) circle the candy they liked best. 
  • Then I group students based on their favorite candy and they share the reasons for liking that candy better than the others.
  • Then, I pair students up with someone who had a different opinion, and they share their reasons and try to convince their partner why their preference was better. 
Day 4 - Duck! Rabbit!
  • We read Duck! Rabbit! on Thursday! {Here are some other opinion writing mentor texts!}
  • After reading the book, I separate students into two groups based on whether or not they think the animal in the book is a duck or a rabbit.
  • The two groups then discuss the reasons for their opinion.
  • Then we create a class anchor chart detailing the reasons that support why it could be a duck, and why it could be a rabbit.
Day 5 - Opinion Writing Graphic Organizer
  • We use the reasons from the Duck! Rabbit! anchor chart to complete our first opinion graphic organizer. We do this together as a class, and students keep it in their writer's notebooks to refer to throughout the unit.
You can find the activities I used throughout this post here, or by clicking the image below.
You may also be interested in these writing posts:
Narrative Mentor Texts | What do writers do? | Writing from the heart | Opinion Mentor Texts

For more great ideas, tips, and tricks from True Life I’m a Teacher, be sure to follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Bloglovin’ and Teachers Pay Teachers.


  1. What a cute product! We are working on fact and opinion this week, too. I think my kids are pretty good at telling the difference between fact and opinion. Writing an opinion paper is a whole different story, haha.

    1. We'll see how well they do transferring what they learned to actually writing an opinion piece!! Fingers crossed! :)


    2. First...this is such a great resource!! Thank you for sharing your ideas. I was curious if you have a student sample of the Duck! Rabbit! opinion writing plan filled out. Many Thanks!

  2. What great ideas! I would love to do the Taste Test and Would You Rather activities in my ESL class! - e -

  3. Thank you SO MUCH for this resource! I'm so excited to use it next week with my 2nd graders. They're super reluctant about writing but hopefully this will get them going! LOVE IT.


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