Opinion Writing -- Out Teach
Background for Teachers
The outdoor classroom should be used as a writing topic that can be explored in a hands-on way. Students can do the actual writing outside if it is comfortable or move back to the classroom if that is needed, as long as the exploration is done outside and discussed so that students have gathered the needed information before beginning to write. Students should be encouraged to generate a balance of facts and opinions.
• How can a balanced collection of facts and opinions lead to a persuasive opinion piece?
Inform students that a school once used its garden to grow the ingredients for salsa. They harvested the veggies, made the salsa and sold it in the community to raise money. Then they donated the money to an organization that helped families grow their own food.
Explain that the students will work independently to collect facts and opinions in the space: Have them create a T-chart in their journals. Explain that more details will make it easier to write.
If students are ready, they can begin to decide what they want to recommend for using the space and how they will use their facts and opinions.
Some students may struggle with an open-ended task like this and may need sentence starters or more guided direction for collecting information.
Gather students and lead them to discuss their ideas with each other. This may require some guidelines for discussion.
Encourage students to link their ideas with a possible use for the garden. A clarifying example could be to point out that an area with vegetable beds wouldn't be a good place to put a swimming pool, but it could be used to plant food. This could lead to an opinion about why planting food would be a good thing.
Collect a number of facts, opinions and ideas about how the garden could be used before moving on.
Ask students to write an introductory paragraph for their piece about how the garden should be used.
Encourage them to include at least one fact and opinion in their paragraph.
Ask students to share and ask others to reflect on the writing that is shared verbally or in writing.
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