I love days where my students are going to have plenty of time to just sit and write their ideas! I love when they can have a chance to put their ideas on paper and when they are so focused on producing writing that they can be proud of! Today is another one of these days in our classroom, and I start out today’s lesson by telling the students again how excited I am for this workday! I tell the students that today, they’re going to get to work on writing their rough draft opinion paragraphs on the person they’ve selected as someone that would make a good president!
We don’t want to waste a second today and we want to get started writing right away. But, before we start, I want to set my students up for success by showing the students what I’d like them to do today as they write their rough draft opinion paragraphs, so I start by pulling up a Smart Notebook file (just entitled, “Paper”). This is simply just a file that looks like a large piece of paper. I show the students that today, as they work on their rough drafts, I’d like them to be sure they leave room for editing, so on their papers today, I’m going to ask them to skip every other line. In order to do this, we’ll start by putting an “X” on every other line so we remember not to write there and to leave room for notes from editing! Every time we write a rough draft in our class, I use this process! Another third grader teacher taught using the "X" strategy to me and it's SO helpful!
Once I model skipping every other line, I start by showing the students how I’d begin to write my rough draft. I ask the students to tell me what must come first in a paragraph. A student raises their hand and tells me an opening sentence! Yes-that’s right, and in an opinion, we want to open by stating who we would choose as president. I model for students what my first sentence would look like:
“If I could choose someone for president, I would choose my grandfather, Grandpa Carpenter.”
Now it’s time for student to begin writing their opening sentences. As they do, I walk around to answer questions or help anyone that appears “stuck”. Once students have an opening sentence, I open up the floor for anyone that would like to share their first sentence. I really think it’s important for students to hear other students’ writing and language. Often, my modeling helps students conceptualize what the writing piece requires, but I love when students get ideas from each other for creative ways to approach the task I’ve put in front of them!
Now it’s time to move on to stating each of the character traits and the supporting reasons that go with each trait. I model first by looking at my planning sheet. My first trait for my grandfather was “kind”. I write in my rough draft sample:
“First, my grandfather is kind. It’s important for a president to be kind because the president must work with many people from all over the world and being kind will make working together better!"
We continue to follow this pattern all the way through each of our five character traits and reasons from our planning sheet. Lastly, I ask the students what we need at the end of a paragraph. The kids say that we need a closing sentence, and I agree-adding that it should again restate our opinion! I model a closing sentence for my sample on my grandfather and then the students get to create theirs.
After we’ve finished closing sentences today, I ask the students if anyone would like to share their full paragraph with us so far. Many hands shoot up and so we make time to listen to all of them! These opinion paragraphs are great, and their selection of character traits are supported by solid reasons, too! These are going to make great final drafts! I collect students’ work today to provide edits for their final drafts that we will work on tomorrow!