The purpose of this blog is to provide a space to share teaching ideas that deal with writing - K to 12.
Recently, I have been working in schools, implementing the Calkins' Units of Study that are aligned with the CCSS. This program and the rubrics that accompany it are often used as a framework to meet proficiency guidelines.
I will continue to post articles that support these processes.
Please join in.
Saturday, February 22, 2014
Here is some great information on writing argumenttive/opinions - right in line with the common core! Enjoy! Courtesy of Choice Literacy!
Our opinions do not really blossom into fruition until we have expressed them to someone else.
On a recent Saturday I spent the
afternoon with some teachers who constantly
push my thinking and make me laugh: the perfect combination. After enjoying some ice cream in near zero
degree weather, we headed to one of our favorite spots, the Cover
to Cover Bookstore. We sort
of take over the bookstore when we arrive, meandering into section after
section of picture books to discover new treasures. There was much talk about opinion
writing. "Does anyone have a good
picture book for teaching opinion writing?" was asked in one of the aisles. A long
discussion ensued. What does opinion writing look like in young writers? When
do we use it? What's the goal of an opinion piece? Are there strong mentors
available for young writers? It wasn't long until I sat down to
try to whittle my stack of seven picture books to three. I had assured myself I would only purchase
three titles, but it wasn't going well.
About that time, one of my friends asked, "What do you love about
this one?" as she looked at the newest book by Jacqueline
Woodson, This is a Rope. I looked at the book which had caught my
attention because of its bright yellow cover, the idea that a rope might be
significant enough to create a story, and the author. I glanced from the book to her
and replied, "It's a great story." You really can't give an answer
like that to a teacher, so I knew it wasn't enough. She was still looking at me and
waiting. "Why? What do you really like about it?" she
persisted. I had picked it up and loved it, but I was
having difficulty being specific enough.
I knew she wanted to know more. She wanted me to reach deeper for a
better, stronger response. Mostly, she wanted to know if I had seen
something that she hadn't when I read it. Later that evening and still into
the next day, her question stayed with me, "What do you really like about it?" The
sincere interest made me move beyond my superficial response. I knew I loved
Woodson's book as soon as I opened it and read the line, "This is the rope
my grandmother skipped under the shade of a sweet-smelling pine." Additionally, I was fascinated by the way the
rope pulled story after story of her family into one narrative cord, tying
generations together. Despite all of
these things, at the moment she asked I hadn't been able to sufficiently
It took me back to the opinion
conversation we'd had in the stacks of our favorite bookstore. I wondered if kids sometimes felt like this
when we were asking them to write their opinions. I realized mentor texts and examples of
writing matter, but what matters most is writing about something that is
genuinely important to us, to someone who genuinely cares about our opinion. The question was simple, but the expectation
for response was not. These are the
conversations I hope to have each day with the learners in my first-grade
This week we look at opinion and argument writing. Plus more as always -- enjoy!
Contributor, Choice Literacy
Cathy Mere is currently teaching first grade in Hilliard (Ohio) City Schools. She is the author of More Than Guided Reading.A trained literacy coach and former Reading Recovery teacher, Cathy
leads professional development workshops and presents at state and
national conferences. She blogs at Refine and Reflect.
Free for All
[For sneak peeks at our upcoming features, quotes and extra links, follow Choice Literacy on Twitter: @ChoiceLiteracyor Facebook:
A unit on opinion writing is one of the topics covered in Katie DiCesare's online course Designing Primary Writing Units with the Common Core in Mindwhich begins on March 1. The ten-day course includes three webcasts, personal
response from Katie, a DVD, and many print and video resources. For
details on registering, click on the link below: