In My Opinion...
Lesson 1 of 9
Objective: Students will be able to compose an opinion piece in which they tell a reader the topic and state a preference.
Gather students on the rug using a preferred classroom management technique. I like to use my “Stop, look, listen.” The students stop what they are doing, look at me and listen for the direction. I usually preface the direction with, “When I say go…” This reminds the students to listen to the whole direction before moving to follow the directive.
In this case I would say, “When I say go I would like you to clear your space, push in your chair and go take a spot on your dot. Walking feet go.” By saying walking feet I am reminding the students to use walking feet in the classroom to ensure safe movement between areas.
When all of the students are seated on their dot in the rug area I open up the screen on the SMARTBoard.
On the SMARTBoard I have already loaded the PebbleGo website. This website has many resources on numerous topics but it is a paid subscription site. Our school subscribes to the site so we have access to many research opportunities for our students. The site can be used either to introduce students to a topic, which is what I am doing today, or used to support instruction.
“Boys and girls, today we are going to look at some of the different kinds of transportation you can find around the world. We will listen to the narrator as she tells us about different modes of transportation.”
“You will need to use your listening ears and observing eyes to pick up on all the facts we are about to see and hear.”
Once we have listened to each of the little informative sections I turn off the SMARTBoard and ask the students, “Who can tell me one of the modes of transportation we just heard about?”
I will select a student who is following the correct protocol of raising their hand to answer the question.
“Yes Finnley, I saw the bus too. Who can tell me another mode of transportation we saw?”
I will continue on this line of questioning until I have covered the main forms of transportation we saw on the informative Pebble Go page.
“Great observing and listening team. Now I would like you all to stand up stretch as high as you can go, bend down low and touch your toes, now touch your left elbow to your right knee, touch your right elbow to your left knee, turn around three times and sit back down on your spot.”
I use the PebbleGo website to give my students some insight to different forms of transportation that they may not be familiar with. In our county we do not have a great deal of public transportation so I want them to start thinking about how exciting it might be to go on a train, or a rickshaw, or a moped. This insight to different modes of transportation should help broaden their ideas when choosing a transportation mode to write about in their opinion piece.
“The book for today is called Bunnies on the Go. This book is written by Rick Walton and illustrated by Paige Miglio. Looking at the cover of this book do you think my book is fiction or non-fiction?”
I will select a student who is following the correct protocol of raising their hand to answer the question.
“Emily says this book is fiction. Emily why do you think this book is fiction?”
“I agree with Emily. I do not think rabbits wear clothes and go on vacations either, so those are great clues we can see which tell us the book is most likely fictional.”
“Now, who can tell me what they think the book is going to be about?”
Once again I will choose a student who is following the correct protocol.
“Owen thinks the book is going to be about transportation; why do you think that Owen?”
“Owen thinks the book will be about transportation because we saw some on the SMARTBoard and because there are lots of transportation books around the classroom. I think Owen is right.”
“Let’s go ahead and read our book.”
As we read the book I ask the students questions relating to the text.
“Hey I notice something about the text in this story. Can anyone tell me what they think I notice?”
“You are right Adam; the text does rhyme. There is something else I notice.”
“That’s right Justin; the words from the first page give you a clue what is coming up because it rhymes.”
I reread, “Vacation time is here, and so
Pack your bags. It’s time to go.
Bunnies, we’ll be travelling far,
Every bunny into the…”
I allow the students to complete the sentence for me as I turn the page and we see the transportation mode presented there.
This introduces the students to the guessing game in the book. As we continue reading on, I have the students try to predict the mode of transportation we will see on the next page.
Once the story is over I ask the students to recall the different modes of transportation they saw in the book.
“Who can tell me one of the modes of transportation we saw in this story?”
I select a student who is following the correct classroom procedure to respond to the question.
I will repeat this process until all of the modes of transportation has been named. If the students cannot recall some of the transportation I will use the rhyming clue from the previous page to prompt them.
“Now that we have named all of the different types of transportation we saw in the story, I want you to take a minute to think which one is your favorite. You do not have to tell me right now, but I am going to ask you your opinion on which mode of transportation you think is the best over at station one.”
“Can anyone remember what an opinion is?”
“That’s right Shelby, an opinion is how somebody thinks or feels. It usually starts by someone saying, “I think…” or “I feel…” or “I like…””
“At station one you will be able to express your opinion by writing about which form of transportation you like best. It can be a form of transportation you have been on or one that you would like to go on. Here is the deal though, once you give an opinion you have to be able to back it up with a reason. You can’t just say, “Because I like it.” You have to be able to explain why you like it.”
“For example, I might say, “I think the rickshaw is the best transportation because it does not use any fuel to make it go,” or “I like the train best because I can get up and move around while it is going.”
“It is important to give a reason when you are expressing your opinion because you are trying to explain your personal point of view.”
It is important for students to be able to formulate opinions as this is a skill they will need to use in later life. We use opinions to make many different choices – like the foods we eat, the clothes we wear, and the person we elect to become a public official.
While it is important to formulate an opinion, it is even more important to be able to rationalize why you hold that opinion. Later on students will become aware of the difference between popular opinion and having your own opinion. If they are going to choose to go against popular opinion they need the skills to be able to explain their opinion clearly for the opposing point of view and rationalize their stand with facts or physical evidence.
“There will be four types of resources available for you to use to help you write your opinion piece. There will be a Word Bank, books, your friends and me. This will be the first time that you will not have a beginning prompt. You will be responsible for your own sentence which expresses your own opinion.” (A transportation word bank is available from the SparkleBox website)
“When I am writing what should I remember to do?”
“Yes Ryan; I should use spacing between my words. What else?”
“Punctuation is a good thing to remember, Ava.”
“Later on this afternoon I will give you a chance to use the Students writing checklist to go over your work so you can see if you remembered all the important writing skills. There will be a copy of the checklist at the station for you to refer to if you need it.”
“Does anyone have any questions?”
Once I feel the group has a good grasp of the instructions I send the students over one table group at a time to maintain a safe and orderly classroom. It usually sounds like this;
“Table number one let’s go have some opinion fun.
Table number two, you know BINGO game to do.
Table number three, hope you were listening to me, and
Table number four, you shouldn’t be here anymore.”
Allow the students 15 minutes to work on this activity. Set a visual timer and remind the students to look at the timer so they will use their time wisely.
When the time is up I blow two short blasts on my whistle and use the “Stop, look listen” technique mentioned above. “When I say go, I would like you to clean up your space remembering to take care of our things, push in your chair, and use walking feet to go and take a spot on your dot.”
Students know to put completed work in the finished work bin. Any work that is not completed goes into the under construction bin and can be completed throughout the day whenever the student finds he/she has spare time or it will be completed during free choice center time.
Once the students are seated I tell them that their exit slip for today is to read their opinion to the rest of the class.
“Boys and girls, your exit ticket today to get your snack is to read your opinion to the rest of the class. Can anyone tell me something I should remember when I am reading to the rest of the class?”
“Great idea Jonathan; I should read with a clear voice.”
“Who can tell me what is something I should do as an audience?”
“Well done Rhys; I should have my eyes on the speaker and be listening to what they say.”
“Now that we know what we should be doing, I am going to use the fair sticks to choose who is going to read first. Here we go.”
I use the fair sticks to select the order of the students.
Once a student has read their opinion to the rest of the class they are able to use the hand sanitizer and go to get their snack. If a student is unable to give me an answer, they know they can do one of two things.
- They can ask a friend to help, or
- They can wait until everyone else has gone and then we will work together on coming up with a mode of transportation together.
By having the students read their work out loud I can quickly tell which students are confident about stating their opinion and supporting it with a reason. I can also pick up on the students who watched the video and would like to try a different form of transportation than they usually take.
Once the students have used the Writing Checklist to go over their own work, I follow up by reviewing what they have checked and making comments about whether I think their self-assessment was accurate or not.
Of course with most of the students I have to read my comments with them and I can do this very briefly during free choice center time. This brief conference helps the students to see that I still go over their work and they understand exactly what they should be looking for in their own work; which makes them more honest in their next self-assessment.
Students play transportation bingo match picture to the word - the game boards can be found on the SparkleBox website.
Match the correct sight word sentence to the correct mode of transportation page in an emergent sight word reader.
Play the race car game. In this game the students roll a dice and move their car around a road. There are certain squares on the road which have directions for the students to follow. An example would be, "Flat tire. Miss a turn." First student to reach the end of the road is the winner.