Writing a strong opinion essay requires students to clearly support their opinions with specific, valid reasons. With a little planning during the pre-writing stage, students can justify their opinions and make a strong case in defense of their beliefs. Yesterday I shared how we use a graphic organizer to draft an introductory paragraph with a “hook” and a topic sentence. Today’s post features the bulk of the essay – the supporting reasons, bolstered with examples and details.
Pre-Writing Pays Off
If you’ll remember from last week, I shared how the first day of a writing week is devoted to 2 goals –
- activating prior knowledge with a prompt talk
- completing an agree/disagree analysis chart.
Time to go back to the Analysis Chart! Students were asked to choose a side (agree or disagree), and then highlight the three strongest reasons in support of their opinion. Those three reasons are now going to be transferred to the graphic organizer – one reason in each column.
Supportive Approach with the Graphic Organizer
Since they’ve already generated three reasons in support of their opinion the previous day, students don’t feel as overwhelmed with the task of completing the graphic organizer. Remember, they’ve also already planned out their opinion/topic sentence with the analysis chart, too. With the help that comes from the writing hook and conclusions anchor charts, writers get a lot of assistance completing their graphic organizer. Basically they are left to fill in each reason with examples and details. Students often find it easier to list examples from their own life in this section, as opposed to researching facts but you could do it either way. As a teacher in a co-teaching classroom, though, my students need the extra support that comes with this approach., and there’s nothing wrong with getting what you need.
From Here to There
I like to refer back to our model essay while students are working on their graphic organizers to show students how their ideas will eventually become an actual essay. As you can see from the image below, this portion of the graphic organizer forms the main part of the essay – three paragraphs! – so it’s important that students focus their best efforts to writing distinct, relevant details and examples.
Tomorrow we will finish (finally!) the graphic organizer with a look at writing a conclusion that really brings the essay to a satisfying ending. Happy teaching! ~ Sally