Empowering Writers

Toolbox: Opinion


“Dog” Writing Sample

PROMPT: If you got to pick any pet in the pet store what would you pick and why. Explain your reasons. Use this sample to identify the lack of broad yet distinct main ideas. Create the author’s pre-writing plan with students and you’ll find that they are overly general and cannot support a number of […]

“Kitten” Writing Sample

PROMPT: If you got to pick any pet in the pet store what would you pick and why. Explain your reasons. Use this student sample to discover how the lack of organization makes the piece difficult to read and understand. Annotate and analyze this piece with students and try to summarize it. Break it into […]

Taking Advantage of the Reading / Writing Connection

At a recent writing workshop, one participant raised her hand. “You know”, she said, “I love all of these techniques. I’m sure my students could really excel with them. But, here’s the reality – after all the time we spend on reading, there’s just not enough left for adequately teaching writing.” A lot of heads […]

K-1: Simplified Opinion Pillar

If there was one thing my own children had at age 5 it was strong opinions. My son Glenn (who today is a fashion designer designing high-end jeans for the Ralph Lauren RRL brand) knew exactly what clothes he preferred to wear to school. I should have known he’d become a collector of Vintage workwear […]

Building Authors’ Thinking

Click on the download button below to access the building blocks of author’s thinking in narrative, informative, and opinion writing. I have watched in fascination how a five year old can build a sophisticated tower out of blocks but cannot write his name. The thought process of putting the tower together usually involves a sturdy […]

Stories with Opinion / Persuasive Elements for Elementary Grades

If there’s one thing kids are good at, it’s persuasion. They have strong opinions about all kinds of things, they know what they want, and they’re good at figuring out a way to get it! The titles we’ve included on this handy downloadable list include stories in which the main character is trying desperately to […]

The Opinion Pillar

The Opinion Pillar Opinion Writing requires the author to respond to an issue or question with logical reasoning in an organized fashion. The Opinion Pillar mirrors the Expository Pillar with minor shifts in language. Due to the similar structure and expectations for opinion writing, students need to have a firm grasp of informative writing in […]

Using Language Prompts

How do students know what they need to write? What structure to choose? What genre do I use? Is this narrative or expository? Students are often confronted with assignments that use specific language cues. These language cues offer insight into the genre and purpose of the response, however, students often cannot discern that language and […]

Autumn – Opinion Writing Sample

What 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. […]

Opinion – Rubric

What Is a Rubric? A rubric is a scoring tool that lists the criteria for a piece of work, or “what counts” (for example, purpose, organization, details, voice, and mechanics are often what count in a piece of writing); it also articulates gradations of quality for each criterion, from excellent to poor. The term defies […]