Thursday, October 10, 2013

Freebie: Opinion Writing, SPIDERS, and a FLY....OH MY!

While working our way through opinion writing I've came across some great ideas from my fellow BBBs. One of my favorite ideas came from Jivey, who also got inspired from Joanne. Both of these ladies are amazing. Last week I started an opinion essay on the topic, "What state would be the best to live in?" The students were able to use our new class set of Chrome books for research for one day. Unfortunately, that was not nearly enough time to research, but we had no choice because the Chrome books were taken away for NWEA testing. I was inspired by the season, the blogs mentioned above, and this awesome book, The Spider and the Fly! Have you ever read it? It is perfect for the fall, creepy enough for Halloween, and amazing from the literary perspective. The word choice is fabulous and the illustrations are creative and captivating! It is the perfect length for a quick read aloud that inspires the students to want to know more. This led us to our next opinion piece (Idea totally borrowed from Jivey) Are spiders harmful or helpful? Right off my class took a vote and I was NOT shocked to see that all but one student felt that spiders were more harmful than helpful. After finding some nonfiction text for my students to read, creating a way for the students to organize their notes, and a student/teacher opinion paragraph rubric (we use rubrics for EVERYTHING), I was ready to go. We had been working on opinion writing for a few weeks and I was SO happy to see that students were finally getting the idea. Because of lack of time, we were not writing a five paragraph opinion essay, instead we were using text evidence to write one paragraph with an opinion, reason, text evidence, and concluding sentence. They came out GREAT! I was so proud of my students. I am now excited to go and try Joanne's new idea she just posted about. This will make an awesome hallway bulletin board!

A student's t-chart created from the nonfiction article.

If you'd like to try this out with your class, click here to download your own copy FOR FREE! I included the text (which I did not write), the t-chart, the question and response page, and the rubric. If you decide to try it, let me know how it goes! :)


  1. Another book for me to put on hold at the library!! Thank you for your freebies :-)

  2. We are doing the SAME project right now... with the SAME book! How funny :) My kids loved it too. They were so intrigued by the ghost of flies gone by. If you are looking for another non-fiction resource, look up the October (November?) 2011 National Geographic explorer. There is a fantastic article on spiders! On their website if you look for archived editions of National Geographic Explorer Pioneer Edition they have a projectable version of the article. Love your project!

    Polka Dots & Teaching Tots

  3. Thanks for all the shout outs!!! So sweet! Isn't it awesome when they get so excited about learning??!! I love how your students voted before they read up on spiders. My kids loved this project too! So glad you liked the book!

  4. thank you, thank you, thank you! I was just planning for next week and thought I'd check my blog updates when I came across your activity. Can't wait to do this with the students!

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  6. That sounds like a wonderful activity! I think my students would agree with your students. Many of them are terrified of spiders. I just found your blog and I'm your newest follower. If you have a chance to check out my blog, I'd appreciate it.

    Techie Turtle Teacher


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