The Whipping Boy - Opinion Writing

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SWBAT form an opinion about the use of whipping boys and write a five paragraph essay to support their opinion.

Big Idea

The students will write a five paragraph essay to support their opinions on whether they agree or disagree with the use of shipping boys for royalty.


Forming an Opinion on Whipping Boys

15 minutes

The students have already formed some strong opinions about the use of whipping boys while reading "The Whipping Boy" by Sid Fleischman.  I have found that often when the students have strong opinions, they enjoy writing about their opinions and proving why they feel the way they do.  We will be writing an opinion on whether or not whipping boys should have been used to punish young royalty.

To begin our lesson, we will read the "Note" at the back of "The Whipping Boy." This note explains that the novel is fictitious, but that whipping boys were actually used to punish some royalty.  We will then review the Wikipedia article found HERE that explains what whipping boys were.  We used this same article earlier in this unit to build background knowledge. The article touches on some positive aspects of whipping boys that I will be sure to point out, knowing that most of the students feel strongly that it is cruel that the royal families would use whipping boys.

Fleischman, S. (2003). The Whipping Boy. New York, NY : Greenwillow Books

Planning Our Writing

20 minutes

The students have had a chance to synthesize the information presented on whipping boys with "The Whipping Boy" novel we just read.  I will now ask them to form an opinion on whether or not they feel royal families were justified in their reasoning for using whipping boys. Do they agree or disagree with the practice.   I will make sure the students realize that an opinion is not right or wrong, it is simply and opinion.  I want to hear their opinions.  We will be organizing our thoughts for the opinion writing piece in this lesson and we will turn those thoughts into a five paragraph essay.

We will be using a Four Square graphic organizer to organize our thoughts for this project.  This will be a five paragraph opinion essay.  There will be an introduction paragraph, three paragraphs providing reasons supporting their opinions, and a conclusion paragraph.  I have provided an instructional video on how to fold a piece of paper into a Four Square graphic organizer.  In the past, we have created the graphic organizer one day and  created our five paragraph essay the next day.  We are getting better and faster at our writing, so today we are going to attempt to do both in the same day.  

Writing an Opinion Essay

30 minutes

Once the students have created their graphic organizers, I will have them begin their five paragraph essays.  We will review what a great essay looks like and information it contains.  I still have a few students who think of the essay as more of a bigger outline.  They include bullets, or clump all of the paragraphs into one big chunk.  

I will give the students the remaining time to compose their five paragraph essays.


Mini Writing Conferences

15 minutes

I love to give the students feedback on their essays.  I try to point out two positives for every suggestion for improving their writing.  I am limited on my time at this point in the year, so as the students finish up their writing, I will hold a mini conference and quickly read through each student's essay, give positive feedback,  make suggestions, and send them back to make some revisions.  This usually works pretty well as the students finish at different times.