Empowering Writers

Autumn – Opinion Writing Sample

Wow! AutumnWhat is your favorite season and why? Write a piece describing and explaining your favorite season. This was a prompt that until recently I would have used for my students when we were working on expository writing. It required little in the way of research, we knew a lot about autumn living in the northeast. However, when I really began to break a task like this down, I realized that what my students were writing was opinion in purpose. True exposition requires some kind of research unless a student brings a wealth of knowledge about a topic.

What I was really asking my students in an assignment like this was to make a choice, their favorite, and then to back that up with some sound reasoning. There are language cues that helped me to tailor other assignments for a specific purpose. Some opinion language cues are: Explain why you like or why you’re in favor of, choose a position and provide reasons, and describe what you like or dislike. If the purpose of the assignment is informative, then these cues are helpful: Write an essay or report about, compare _____ to _____, or write a piece explaining.

The piece here, all about Autumn, has a great sense of voice and plenty of sensory detail that answers the question, What does it look like? There is a variety of main idea sentences, one is even a question. The author’s enthusiasm for the topic is apparent. There are however areas that need some work. For instance, the redundant language that appears throughout the piece or the “bookends” – the introduction and conclusion paragraphs could use to be stronger.

Download sample below.