Introduce the idea of opinions
- "What is an opinion? How can you share-by describing and writing-what you think is best?" (slide 2)
- "Opinions must have reasons and examples. You have to support your opinion with good reasons and examples. Otherwise it's just a statement that's unconvincing." (slide 3-4) Talk with the kids about giving reasons and opinions.
- "I'm writing one paragraph today so I'll share an opinion, give a reason and 2 examples."
- "A good writer needs 'transitions' These are words such as 'because', 'also', and 'too'. They help the writing sounds smooth and they link up the reasons and examples." I put these linking words on the whiteboard.
Share how to write about opinions
- "Today we'll write about the kind of desserts we like. We'll be using an organizer called 'the OREO organizer'."
- I explained the acronym 'OREO' and showed the examples to the kids on the powerpoint.
- Go through slides 5-11. Here's a peek of my explanation of the acronym.
- Focus on the sample opinions in the powerpoint. I did tailor these to my kids because I know the girls like pink and 'IronMan' is a popular movie. You could change these on the powerpoint to what is popular for your students.
- Focus on distinguishing reasons from examples. We spent several minutes talking about how reasons support the opinion. There has to be a direct line of support. We also talked about how examples have to be linked to the reason.
Model how to write a paragraph
- "If I'm going to write my opinion, I need to get organized. Here's an organizer - I'll keep my phrases short and then write longer sentences in my draft." Take a look at my discussion of the organizer.
- "I'm going to pick 'oreos' as my favorite dessert."
- "I'll write an opinion in the organizer - 'the best dessert - oreos'. That's the introduction."
- "Now I need reasons and an example. 'Taste wonderful' is my reason, and 'chocolatey' is an example of how they taste."
- "Let me add a second example - 'good to dip in milk'. Could an example be that they're brown? - no because brown is not example that supports that reason."
- "Now I'll restate my opinion at the end. 'favorite dessert - oreos'. That's the conclusion.
- "Next, I need to transfer my ideas to the lined paper and make sentences. I'll add linking words to connect the opinion, reasons and examples. Watch as I do this.
- Oreos are the best dessert. They taste wonderful because they are so chocolatey. In addition, this cookie is good to dip in milk and gets soft. Oreos are definitely my favorite dessert.
- "That's my opinion paragraph about oreos. I have an opinion at the beginning, a reason with 2 examples, and then an opinion restated at the end." Take a look at the completed whiteboard that we created.
I'm purposefully keeping this task straightforward because there are a lot of underlying skills to be practiced. The kids need to be able to state and restate a clear opinion, so I've limited the topics and given a clear model. They need to have a clear reason with supporting examples. I chose food because it's more concrete and the reasons can be similar across whichever dessert they choose. Then they also need to have good examples, which, again, have to be relevant to the reason. There was a lot of discussion while I modeled and I want to keep the task simple so that we have plenty of time. My students are using transition words, writing a paragraph, indenting-all skills introduced in previous lessons.
I love using the OREO method for writing opinions with my 5th grade students, but I wanted a PowerPoint to help me teach it. I couldn't find exactly what I wanted, so I just created one! This is a quick and easy method to teach how to write an opinion paragraph, which fits beautifully with the Common Core standards.
The PowerPoint takes the students through each step of the OREO process, including a sample opinion topic with an example sentence for each part of the process.
After showing a complete example opinion paragraph step-by-step, the PowerPoint includes a link to an article from Tween Tribune that is highly relevant to students and also somewhat controversial, making it a great topic for an OREO writing piece. This would be a formative assessment to see how the students are able to write an opinion paragraph after seeing the example. (I had my students do it on an index card.)
The last part of the PowerPoint includes an official writing prompt along with lesson plans with writing outlines for turning the paragraph into an essay, depending on the grade level you teach. This would be intended to be used after students had feedback on their formative assessment.