Friday, February 7, 2014

Five for Friday, Opinion Writing & Chocolate!

Hooray! Friday is here! TGIF!  That means I can link up with Doodle Bugs! I am SO ready for this weekend although I had a lazy week! We got hit with TWO more snow storms here in Connecticut and had Monday off, a two hour delay Tuesday, Wednesday off, a two hour delay Thursday, and ended the week with a full day, today, Friday! Believe it or not, we still worked very hard and accomplished quite a bit. I know I was motivated and excited to teach and I could tell my enthusiasm spread over to my students. I can't take credit for all of the awesomeness in this post because THIS POST, from Jivey, inspired my lesson plans for the week. I fell in love with her new Graphic Organizer Bundle and knew I needed to test them out. I also loved her idea of using chocolate for an opinion essay!

We are currently learning opinion writing. I like to start teaching this type of writing by having the students create opinion paragraphs. Once the paragraphs are well written, supported with text evidence and backed up with opinions, we move into five paragraph essays! I started out reading two different articles about dark chocolate. This was Jivey's idea and boy was it a good one. My student's had NO IDEA that there were pros and cons to eating dark chocolate. I also learned that while making photo copies, if I copy at 85%, the copies fit into our composition notebooks we use for Reading Notebooks. This has been an amazing discovery because I like my students' notebooks to be meaningful for the students to use as a way to look back and reference material. Students read the articles in pairs, while I worked with a small group, and then we all discussed and highlighted the three most important ideas from each article.

Next, we worked with a partner rephrasing the highlighted material into our own words. We made it short and to the point so it would fit with three separate bullet points in our graphic organizer.  I wanted the students to be able to understand both sides of the argument before taking a stance so this graphic organizer was  perfect for my lesson. I also LOVE how the adorable organizer had the objective of my lesson right on the paper! The students loved coloring in the hearts when they finished their work.

When each partnership finished, we came back together as a class and discussed what everyone wrote down for their bullet points. We realized that almost everyone had written the same three facts down for both articles. Phew! This meant they were on the right track! We discussed the text evidence and I called on students to explain why the evidence mattered and what it really meant. We then played the stand up game of "two sides" for a debate. Students who thought dark chocolate was healthy went to one side of the room and students who thought dark chocolate was hazardous went to the other side. The students had a good ol' debate and the kids were allowed to transfer sides at any time, but had to explain why. Once the students were ready to commit to a stance, they stayed in the groups and developed a thesis statement together. I was BLOWN AWAY when one of my strugglers came up with, "Eaten in moderation, the flavonoids can certainly have health benefits." The academic vocabulary and precise language from the article in that thesis statement was amazing! I was so thrilled I gave him a PRIDE sticker and he beamed!

I then showed the students what we were going to write our thoughts down on and they freaked out, like I secretly hoped they would. They are used to me being very creative with lessons, but this was something new. The other night I created an Opinion Paragraph Brochure/Pamphlet to go along with my Opinion Unit. It actually took me three hours because I am a perfectionist and really wanted this to be meaningful, fun, and serve a purpose. I copied the file back to front and enlarged it on legal paper. When I handed it out, I heard a ton of "Ohhs and Ahhs" and "We get to write on THIS!" It made me happy! I taught them how to fold the brochure and they got to work. The best part was that EVERYONE was engaged. At the beginning of the year, I had some students that would cry when trying to write. Clearly a lot has changed.

Aren't they adorable!? When the students finished them, they were ready to use this as a plan to write a five paragraph essay! Next week we will continue to use these as a reference (before bringing them home to show parents) and will write a new opinion piece on a different topic. I also can't wait to test out some more of Jivey's Graphic Organizers!

I am also thrilled to announce that I finally finished updating my Revolutionaries packet, just in time for Black History Month. This awesome nonfiction packet features nonfiction articles and activities for: Ruby Bridges, Sojourner Truth, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., Jackie Robinson, and Susan B. Anthony. We are just starting this unit and I know I will be using everything in this packet. I created activities for each article, an end of the unit quiz, a biography template pamphlet, and TONS more!  Make sure you check it out! :)

Have a wonderful weekend! :)

1 comment:

  1. Ah!!! I'm loving the pamphlet! I'm so excited that you could use the chocolate articles and the graphic organizer! :) PS I feel like I have failed as a BBB- everything I run copies of is 85%!!!! I'm sorry I didn't tell you that before!!! ;-) hope you forgive me! xoxo


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