Inside or Out? Draft the Opinion Essay - (Lesson 2 of 3)

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SWBAT draft an opinion essay with an introductory and concluding paragraph, using linking words to connect the supporting reasons and examples.

Big Idea

Write the rough draft to share your opinion!


  • Vocabulary to put on the whiteboard: opinion, essay, introduction, paragraph, rough draft, linking words, hook, conclusion, hook onomatopoeia
  • completed OREO organizer for each student (finished in the last lesson)
  • Set up the whiteboard
  • rough draft paper (page 1 should have stars)
  • extra rough draft pages (pages 2+ without stars)


I chose the topic of indoor/outdoor recess because my kids have strong opinions about this. They really differ on their preferences - some really prefer to stay in when the weather is bad and others want to go outside, regardless of the temperature.

In Part 1 of this lesson, Inside or Out: Writing an Opinion Essay (lesson 1 of 3), students used an organizer to write an opinion, sharing 3 reasons and supporting examples. This is part 2 of the 3 part lesson about writing opinion essays where students write the draft. In part 3, Inside or Out: Edit and Finalize the Draft, students will edit and complete the final draft of the five-paragraph essay.

Second graders need time to work through these writing steps of the writing process (brainstorm, organize, rough draft, edit, final draft). The district expectation for my students is to create a five-paragraph essay, aligning with the Common Core Standards of composing a variety of types of essays, including opinion essays that state an opinion with supporting examples and details. (W.2.1).

In this lesson, students will create a rough draft with an introduction, linking words to connect ideas, and conclusion. Guiding students through each step and giving them practice will ultimately help them become independent writers.

To give you more background about how to help students write a five paragraph essay, I encourage you to look at some narrative writing lessons that I taught previously in my course: Organize Your Ideas In A Timely Way (Lesson 1 of 3), Draft and Edit a Star Narrative (Lesson 2 of 3), and Finalize and Show What You Know (Lesson 3 of 3). I taught that unit to teach students about writing narrative essays. I used the same ideas of 'main idea' with 'supporting details', writing 2 drafts and editing that the Common Core Standards emphasize to provide evidence for statements that the students make in writing and create strong writing pieces.

Let's Get Excited!

5 minutes

Underlined words should emphasized and put on my Reading & Writing word wall for later reference. I pull off words for each lesson, helping students understand the vocabulary can be generalized across texts and topics.  The focus on acquiring and using these words is part of a shift in the Common Core Standards towards building students’ academic vocabulary.  My words are color coded ‘pink’ for literature/’blue’ for reading strategies/’orange’ for informational text/'yellow' for writing/’green’ for all other words. 


Common starting point

  • "Yesterday we created a great organizer to share your opinion about whether inside recess or outside recess was better."
  • "Today we'll write a rough draft five-paragraph essay that have linking words, an introduction, and conclusion. We'll even add a hook to make it more interesting."


My goal in this short introduction is to refocus the students' attention on the task and bring all to the same place that we left yesterday. They'll all start with their completed organizers and a blank rough draft paper to start writing sentences.

Model how to write the draft

10 minutes

Give the purpose and background of the lesson

  • "Let's review what we wrote on our organizer yesterday. We had an introduction that states your opinion. We need to add a 'hook' to the beginning to draw in the reader. Then we will have an introductory paragraph."
  • "You also have 3 reasons why you prefer indoor and outdoor recess. Those will be the 3 paragraphs that support your opinion.
  • "Finally, you have a conclusion that restates your opinion." 


Demonstrate and have students check their organizers before writing

  • "I'll start my introduction by a hook. A hook brings the readers' attention to what you're writing. It can be an onomatopoeia or a question. What are some onomatopoeia that might describe recess?"  Take ideas - my kids had lots of ideas- wee! wow! whoosh! This was my discussion about hook and onomatopoeia.
  • "What about questions to hook the reader?  What could we use?"  Take ideas. My kids thought of 'When do we get to run and yell?'  'Why do I like the rain?' " 
  • "I'll use a question to hook my reader and write 'What's the best part of my day? My opinion is that indoor recess is the best!'  I'll indent that first paragraph as I write it. Check your organizer - did you use one of our opinion words that we discussed yesterday?"
  • "Now I need to write 3 more paragraphs with my reason and examples. Each paragraph has to have at least 2 sentences and I check to see if you have linking words on your organizer to connect your ideas." I listed those words on the board again so they could verify they had them.
  • MAKE SOME MISTAKES (spelling, repeating words, capitalization, missed words, noun/verb tense) in this draft so you can demonstrate editing later.  This was my mistake that I didn't even notice until the kids pointed it out!
  • "Finally, I'll write my conclusion. I restate my opinion (refer to the opinion ideas) and make sure there are 2 sentences."
  • Here's what the completed whiteboard looked like.

Students Write Their Draft

20 minutes

 Work with students

  • A few reminders as you start:
    • "Don't forget to indent each paragraph." Here's how I quickly reviewed this previously introduced skill of indenting.
    • "You have worked hard on a nice organizer - using the organizer and write sentences based on those." This was my quick reminder about using the organizer to check spelling as well.
    • "Check your linking words - use them to connect ideas." This was how I explained about checking and adding a linking word, if necessary.
  • "Go ahead and write your paragraphs and raise your hand if you need help."  
  • Walk around and help as necessary. One student had a question about forgetting to indent. Should she erase? I reminded her we had discussed a symbol for forgotten paragraphs. Take a look at our discussion about using a symbol on a rough draft.
  • Prompt as necessary to help them write the conclusion. I did say out loud that the conclusion could not be only one sentence. Here were my comments about writing more than one sentence in the conclusion.
  • This was one of my student's completed drafts.


Scaffolding and Special Education

This lesson can be used with students who demonstrate more or less academic ability. Those with greater ability should be challenged to write longer sentences, using more adjectives and description. Those who struggle with writing may need more support. My students were able to write a paragraph, they just needed small group help as they rest of the class wrote independently.